Wordpress site now behaves differently - maybe due to an update? Need help with php or css code I think.

We have a wordpress website based on a template that we purchased years ago.  It has worked fine until recently. (I am not sure when it changed, as I don't check it often.)  My suspicion is that a Wordpress update resulted in the website appearing differently now.

It seems like there might be an issue with things that would normally appear grouped several to a row are now appearing with only one item per row.  For example, on this page - https://www.dsaengineering.com/ - there should be some pictures of featured projects under the title "FEATURED PROJECTS", but nothing seems to show.

Another example of the new problem is on the page https://www.dsaengineering.com/company/ all the Directors should fit on one row, and all the rest of the design professional should fit on one or maybe two rows, rather than only one person per row...

Thanks for any help that you can provide!
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Qian BaoDigital Media Specialist and Web DesignerCommented:
Is this a self-hosted WordPress? Did you modified the php files of the original template?
KevinAuthor Commented:
1. It is self-hosted.
2. We wanted some changes to the original template, and hired the template company to make those changes a few years ago.  So... The original template has been modified by them a while back.  It was working fine after their modifications until jut recently...

Qian BaoDigital Media Specialist and Web DesignerCommented:
Did they create a child theme? If not, your modified theme is now replaced with the updated version. I don't think you can retrieve your modified theme unless you have a backup of the code locally. In the future, always remember to create a child theme of the original theme and conduct modification on the child theme only.

Check the instructions here
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KevinAuthor Commented:
I don't think that there is a child theme.  When I look at the available themes on the website, the only ones are the active theme, and the 2017 theme that comes with WordPress. When we asked for changes a while back, they did all the modifications themselves, and I am guessing that they simply modified the main theme...

BUT!!! When I navigate from the WordPress dashboard and select Appearance -> customize, the Preview of the website shows all of the "Featured Projects" now.  (I still can't see them on the live version though.

In the additional CSS section of the Customizing area, it says;

You can add your own CSS here.

Click the help icon above to learn more.

.primary_content_wrap ul li {
    color: #000000

Maybe not needed? Might interfere with Gravity Forms
.um {
opacity: 1 !important;
KevinAuthor Commented:
Also, WordPress is telling me that there is an error on the very first line of style.css:

@charset utf-8;

It says that it expected STRING on line 1 column 10...  I have never noticed this issue before...
Qian BaoDigital Media Specialist and Web DesignerCommented:
The additional CSS doesn't seems to change the layout other than modifying the appearance. What you can do is to create a child theme with the instruction from WordPress. Enable the child theme and see the result. Update me when you are done with that.

As for the error with style.css, check the information here

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KevinAuthor Commented:
Thanks again.  I will read up on how to create a child theme and update the case.  Have a great day.
KevinAuthor Commented:
I would like to keep this topic open for a while longer.  I have not had the time to create a child theme yet, but am hoping that once I do, then the wordpress site will be able to be fixed...
Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
>  there should be some pictures of featured projects under the title "FEATURED PROJECTS", but nothing seems to show

It is set to display none and there is probably some js/jquery code for the carousel
es-carousel ul {
    display: none;
    overflow: hidden;
    margin: 0;

Open in new window

>all the Directors should fit on one row, a
Remove the width and adjust the margin or padding left and right if you have to.

.primary_content_wrap ul.recent-posts.team li {
    float: left;
    /* width: 220px; */
    overflow: hidden;
    margin: 0 20px 20px 0;
    margin-top: 0px;
    margin-right: 20px;
    margin-bottom: 20px;
    margin-left: 0px;
    background: #f5f5f5;
    padding: 0px;
    /* color: #969695; */
    color: #888;

Open in new window

Your site is not very big and at this point, I think it may be easier to start over on a development site. Use a plug in to duplicate the site to a new location/server so you at least have the database backed up.  From there, remove the theme as you have it and reinstall the theme without any of the modifications.  Remember you are doing this on your dev site so don't worry about things getting messed up.

Now, create your child theme https://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes which is simply adding a folder and css as the example in your wp-content/themes with the name of the theme and adding, "-child".  In t he child folder, add your style css and functions.php.  Any other page that you add in the child theme directory will load after your original.  You should be able to get most of your items done with the style.css and functions.php though.

From there, you can post questions on EE on how to make some minor customizations though if you need a lot, then hiring somebody is a good option. You might even want to try going with a new updated theme altogether.

As mentioned, the key is to make all your changes in the child the and that way as things break with updates, it will be easier to manage.
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