So it was late. It was the wrong time of night to be playing with those sorts of options. And I compounded my error with the classic mistake of “oh, it’s a little change, I won’t need a backup”. Let both of those mistakes be lessons I learn.
So what happened? Well, I have a couple of other blogs with the WordPress theme K2 on them (this is a skinned version of K2 here), and I noticed that on my main personal blog I didn’t have the same options for the sidebar. After some experimentation, I removed a conflicting plugin, then chose to upgrade the theme. I followed the instructions carefully (well apart from backing up of course), disabled the theme, and then…
Nothing. Nothing at all. The whole site was blank. No posts, no admin, no error messages, just a blank screen for every URL. Really not good at all. So what did I do? Panicked of course.
After a good five minutes of quality panic, I decided to have a look at my database. It was there for starters, which was a very good thing. Then it struck me, there must be an options table for WordPress. And there is, wp_options by default. In there is an entry for theme. So as a last chance, I altered it back to K2 from default. And it worked, I could see the blog once more, and could sort out things from there.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend altering tables like this by hand. It was a qualified guess, but I got lucky. I didn’t deserve to after my other acts of stupidity, but I did. It was a handy thing to learn a bit about in case of that sort of disaster, but in this case it should never have happened, if I had backed up it would have been a lot easier to fix.
Fate also dictates that the morning after, I notice Lorelle’s great post on fixing a broken theme.