Disclaimer: I have already read and implemented the solution found in the ExpressionEngine 2.8.1 user guide.

My Problem: Control Panel is unstyled when viewed from any computer other than the server.

My Setup: Turned an old computer into a DIY server in my apartment, running Ubuntu Server. LAMP. Using the free core version of Expression Engine with the idea that I will create a proof of concept, then encourage my employer to buy it for the company's website needs.

Getting to the Issue: The server works. Expression Engine installed successfully and I can create channels, groups, etc. When I access the Control Panel from the server computer (in my apartment) everything shows up fine. But when I access it over the internet at work the Control Panel becomes unstyled. No CSS, no theme, just a lot of unstyled text.

Have You Tried Turning it Off and On Again: As mentioned, I already tried the suggested solution of moving cp_theme folder into the system folder, then restarting the server. Nothing changed. I have searched all over for any other solutions and have come up empty.

Please help me! How do I get the css and themeing back to my Control Panel so I can work on the website whilst away from home?

Thank you very much for your time and assistance!

  • Its important you follow up with a solution either supplied or of your own discovery. Jul 6, 2014 at 0:38

1 Answer 1


Every time I've seen this behavior it's due to 1 or 2 reasons:

Issue#1: The URL and server path to the 'themes' (or renamed themes folder) is incorrect one too many or too less "/" can do it. The fact it works from the server and not any other computer tells me that your paths may be absolute rather then relative. To check : inspect the CP page in whichever browser you're using from 'remote' PC (not server) and look for CSS files that are 404'ing or any other errors. If errors found, JS issues will also come into play.

Issue#2: Uploaded files can become corrupt, upload all content to themes folder once again - you can ignore updating 'third_party' - to be safe, download the entire zip from EllisLabs to make sure your downloaded file isn't corrupt.


There is a setting in the CP

Or you can some manual config settings to /system/expressionengine/config/config.php

-----END UPDATE-----

Finally are you running any config master items?

  • After posting I saw another person with a similar question and the answer they were receiving was also related to paths. While I did move the co_theme folder around, I never went in an changed any config files. I'll check into that when I get back home in a bit. What config file am I looking for to point EE to the new theme location? And I don't know what a config master item is, so I doubt I'm running any.
    – bettaworks
    Jun 30, 2014 at 9:32
  • "While I did move the co_theme folder around" What is the "co_theme" folder? If you aren't using any bootstrap or multiple config system then your config file is in system/expressionengine/config/config.php but you shouldn't need to update the theme path in there. So, my advice would be to put back whatever you moved around and see if it works.
    – foamcow
    Jun 30, 2014 at 11:27
  • Also, are you running any kind of DNS within your apartment that would be bypassed by accessing from a remote location (for instance a custom hosts file on your computer or routing all internal traffic via your own DNS server).
    – foamcow
    Jun 30, 2014 at 11:28
  • Sorry, co_theme was a typo. The user guide suggested moving the cp_theme folder into the system folder. I tried that and it didn't work. But I AM running a ddns ...
    – bettaworks
    Jun 30, 2014 at 12:25
  • Let me ask it simply: where do I go, what document do I edit, to point Expression Engine to the folder that conatins the cpanel theme I want to use?
    – bettaworks
    Jun 30, 2014 at 15:06

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