First time user. Just installed on InMotion Hosting VPS. Front displays OK, bu the admin area is a mess (see attached) and I can't go anywhere.

enter image description here

  • Front end now isn't loading right, either. – Jeff B. Mar 14 '16 at 19:00
  • Something's preventing the style sheets from loading. – Fiasco Labs Mar 14 '16 at 19:23
  • Yes, but what? I don't even know where to start. Been working with Joomla! for years. This is my first Magento and I can't get passed install. – Jeff B. Mar 14 '16 at 19:56

In addition to the permissions thing, the best you can do is to check source code & see what URLs are being loaded in the head. A theme misconfiguration could lead to loading files which don't exist

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  • Yep, go into back end, view code source for the page, look in the <head> for the CSS links, click on them and see if they load. They either don't have the right permissions (403) or didn't get installed (404). The backend theme is a default theme that is independent of the public site. – Fiasco Labs Mar 14 '16 at 21:10

Check if magento has access to the media/ folder. This problem happens when Apache has no permissions to write into the media folder.

You should also check the owner rights of the media folder:

chown -R <apache_user> media
chmod -R o+w media

Also try the manual to see which permissions needed: Magento 1 File Permissions

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