Broken WordPress after Ubuntu 16.04 upgrade

    After some delays, I finally upgraded the server’s OS to the LTS Ubuntu 16.04. At first I thought that everything went fine, but then I tried to access the blog and it did not work, it only showed a blank page. A very bad omen. Then, when I tried to login into WordPress, this horrible message appeared:

` element. * Default 'Log In'. * @param string $message Optional. Message to display in header. Default empty. * @param WP_Error $wp_error Optional. The error to pass. Default empty. */ function login_header( $title = 'Log In', $message = '', $wp_error = '' ) { global $error, $interim_login, $action; // Don't index any of these forms add_action( 'login_head', 'wp_no_robots' ); if ( wp_is_mobile() ) add_action( 'login_head', 'wp_login_viewport_meta' ); if ( empty($wp_error) ) $wp_error = new WP_Error(); // Shake it! $shake_error_codes = array( 'empty_password', 'empty_email', 'invalid_email', 'invalidcombo', 'empty_username', 'invalid_username', 'incorrect_password' ); /** * Filters the error codes array for shaking the login form. * * @since 3.0.0 * * @param array $shake_error_codes Error codes that shake the login form. */ $shake_error_codes = apply_filters( 'shake_error_codes', $shake_error_codes ); if ( $shake_error_codes && $wp_error->get_error_code() && in_array( $wp_error->get_error_code(), $shake_error_codes ) ) add_action( 'login_head', 'wp_shake_js', 12 ); $separator = is_rtl() ? ' › ' : ' ‹ '; ?> > get_error_code() ) { ?> site_name; } else { $login_header_url = __( '' ); $login_header_title = __( 'Powered by WordPress' ); } /** * Filters link URL of the header logo above login form. * * @since 2.1.0 * * @param string $login_header_url Login header logo URL. */ $login_header_url = apply_filters( 'login_headerurl', $login_header_url ); /** * Filters the title attribute of the header logo above login form. * * @since 2.1.0 * * @param string $login_header_title Login header logo title attribute. */ $login_header_title = apply_filters( 'login_headertitle', $login_header_title ); $classes = array( 'login-action-' . $action, 'wp-core-ui' ); if ( wp_is_mobile() ) $classes[] = 'mobile'; if ( is_rtl() ) $classes[] = 'rtl'; if ( $interim_login ) { $classes[] = 'interim-login'; ?>

    The message was actually much longer, I am just posting the beginning. If you have suffered with PHP in the past (like me), you will notice that this uninterpreted PHP code. That was my first clue, something was wrong with PHP. I created the infamous test.php page to test if PHP is actually working correctly with Apache. For those of you who haven’t done this, it basically is a “hello world” approach to see if PHP is working correctly. We paste the following code into a file named test.php or pleasework.php or something like that.


    Then we move that file to the Apache public directory (/var/www/html, is the default in Ubuntu) and grant it appropriate permissions. Then we go to and, if PHP is working, we should see a page with PHP’s logo and all sorts of information like System, Server API and many more. In my case, I only got another blank page. This meant that something was very wrong with PHP.

    So I went into the server via SSH and executed php -v. Turns out I didn’t even have the php command. How was that possible? Well, turns out PHP5 is no longer the default in Ubuntu 16.04, instead, PHP7 is the default. At some point during the upgrade, PHP was completely uninstalled. So, let’s install it again:

apt-get install php

Then install libapache2-mod-php7.0:

apt install libapache2-mod-php

Then install php7.0-mbstring:

apt install php7.0-mbstring

Then install php7.0-mysql:

apt install php-mysql

Finally, reload Apache’s configuration:

service apache2 reload

    Once all that was done, I reloaded the test.php page and it gave me all the information I mentioned before. I also logged in successfully into WordPress. Now I am wondering if I should change the OS to something else than Ubuntu, and if I should change the WordPress theme. There are other problems that need to be solved, but for now WordPress is working as it should and I am happy.