Wait, What Happened to My WordPress Blog’s Header?

Has the header image or logo on your WordPress blog recently disappeared and been replaced with the text of your blog’s title and tag line? Have you recently upgraded to WordPress 3.5 or later? If so, the two are likely related, and I’ll show you how to easily fix it.

If you’re still using WordPress 3.4 or earlier, you should read also this post so you are aware of what might happen when you decide to upgrade to WordPress 3.5 or later.

Last week I noticed that this blog’s header went from looking like this

The Hobby Blogger's Correct Header

to looking like this

The Hobby Blogger's Messed Up Header

DOH!

I had just returned to blogging with my first post in five months, and I noticed the change to my header four days after I published the post. Not exactly a triumphant return.

I frantically began troubleshooting the issue. Here’s what I tried:

  • Deactivated all plugins – This is one of the first things to do when you notice something wrong with your blog. If turning all of them off fixes the problem, then re-activate only one plugin at a time until you see the “wrongness” rear its ugly head. Now you’ve pinpointed the culprit plugin. In my case, deactivating all my plugins didn’t return my header back to normal.
  • Browse to the header image – If your header image or logo has disappeared, try navigating to the image in your browser to make sure the image is still readable. My header image is located in my theme’s images folder, so I confirmed it was still viewable by pointing my browser to:

www.yourdomain.com/wp-content/themes/theme_name/images/banner-logo.png

The key symptom

Next, in my Dashboard I went to Appearance ­-> Header. In the Header Text settings, I noticed that the box next to “Show header text with your image” was checked. It should not have been. Also, the Text Color selector widget was missing.

WordPress Header Text Settings

I unchecked the box, but when I clicked the Save Changes button, the box was checked again. Something was overriding the Custom Header settings.

It took a little bit of Googling and filtering through WordPress.org and StudioPress’s community forums before I started to clue in on what was going on.

How to fix it

In your Dashboard, go to Appearance -> Themes. The takes you to WordPress’s new Theme Customizer. Make sure you’re in the Manage Themes tab.

WordPress Manage Themes Tab

Then click the Customize link.

The left sidebar shows a list of options for customizing your theme. The rest of your browser shows a live preview of the changes to the look of your theme.

WordPress Customize Theme Site Title Tagline

Click on Site Title & Tagline to show the related settings. Uncheck the box next to Display Header Text to remove the site title and tagline from your header. Wait a few seconds and the live preview should update the change. If the text goes away and your header image returns, you’re good to go. Just click the Save & Publish button to make the change go live on your site.

Why is this happening?

It appears that my header going all wonky is related to upgrading to WordPress 3.5.

The day after my “return” post, I decided to update my plugins as well upgrade from WordPress 3.4.2 to 3.5.1. Of course, in my haste to get back into the swing of things, I was lazy and neglected to try out the updates on my laptop’s test copy of The Hobby Blogger.

Knowing that my plugins weren’t the issue, it had to be the upgrade to WordPress 3.5. My best guess is that, even though the Theme Customizer feature was added in WordPress 3.4, the changes weren’t enforced until version 3.5.

What this means is that some themes might need to be updated to take advantage of the new Theme Customizer instead of using the old Appearance -> Header settings page. I’m using the older, pre-responsive design version of StudioPress’s Prose theme, so it makes sense that it would affect me. And it’s not limited to themes for the Genesis framework. I’ve seen people using other frameworks have the same issue with their headers as well.

Backup and test

This should serve as a gentle reminder to backup your blog before making any significant changes (I had). In addition, try to test your changes on something other than your live site if at all possible. Otherwise, you risk making a bad impression like I did for three or four days.

Hopefully this helped you out more quickly than it took me to figure out. If you have any more insight into what’s going on, please share in the comments.

More Reading

How to Back Up Your WordPress or Blogger Blog – AwesomelyLuvvie.com
WordPress Backups – WordPress.org

Article by Bryan Kerr

I love breaking down the techie side of blogging into easy-to-understand tutorials. That's mostly what you'll find here on The Hobby Blogger.

Comments

  1. Bryan,

    I’m making the switch to Genesis. And although I am liking how Genesis does things. I’m finding it just as frustrating too! I accidentally did this exact thing and was pulling what was left of my hair out – but managed to figure it out.

    I really wish that all of the Theme options of Genesis were on one page.

    The other issue I’m having? The basic Widget that I can jam up into the Header? I can’t format JUST that widget to do what I want it to! Arrggh!

    Thanks for the great write-up as always! (And might I recommend you put your author box at the bottom of the article along with some social sharing on a sidebar or at the bottom of your article?)

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Cool. I’m excited to see AJG’s new look. Which theme are you using? Also, are you talking about the Custom Menu widget for your header? If you have a dev copy of your site with the new theme accessible, you might get a pretty quick answer in the StudioPress Community Forums.

      And you’re right about the author box. I’ve been meaning to do that. Just needed a reminder and kick in the pants. Thanks.

  2. I did everything you suggested. Problem is when I go to customize, there is no checkbox that says “display header text.” What to do?

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Hi Derrick. Looks like you were able to figure it out. Where you using the latest version of WordPress?

  3. i will try…thnx

  4. You’re the man, Bryan! I’ve been frustrated trying to fix this for a while, and I was even monkeying with CSS to resolve it. You solved it for me in a few clicks. Thanks!

  5. Thank goodness for this tutorial! This was driving me crazy. I *almost* dug into my CSS which never ever ever ends well for me, or my family if they happen to be around. So thank you! :)

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