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Working Behind the WordPress Curtains

A lot of times I hear people asking how to best approach fiddling around with certain design elements in their current theme without their visitors seeing any mistakes they make. A different version of the same question is about wanting to implement a complete new design and layout and optimize it to your liking. Also without you bothering your regular visitors. There is a very simple solution for that that requires a only a few simple steps.

Just a Few Steps

The only thing you need to do for this to work is installing the Theme Test Drive. There is a different way of seeing how your site would look like in a new a new theme, by the way. All you need to do is navigate to the Theme you would like to preview in your Theme menu and right click the link that says Preview and in the following menu you select Open in New Tab (or whatever similar your browser provides you). A new tab will open in browser showing you what your site looks like sporting the new Theme. This is however not a solid solution when it comes to testing the different pages and using widgets for example.

After having installed and activated Theme Test Drive plugin you will see an extra menu in Appearance which allows you to select what Theme you would like to test drive. By enabling the Theme of preference and selecting the proper user level, in other words should only admins be able to see the new Theme?

And We’re Done Already

All there is left for you to do is navigate to your site by clicking Visit Site in the top of your WordPress Dashboard and there you have it. The beauty of this solution is that it allows you to treat this new Theme as if though it would actually be live and that means you also have a new set of sidebars where you need to configure your widgets to get the result you’re looking for.

When you want to make adjustments to your currrent Theme, simply download a copy to your computer via FTP, rename the folder and adjust the Header part of your style.css with a higher version number, save it and upload it to your themes directory. In effect changing it from something like this:

/*
	Theme Name: Your Theme
	Theme URL: http://www.themeurl.com/
	Description: Your Current Rocking Theme
	Author: Remkus de Vries
	Author URI: http://remkusdevries.com
	Version: 1.0
*/

to

/*
	Theme Name: Your Theme
	Theme URL: http://www.themeurl.com/
	Description: Your New Rocking Theme
	Author: Remkus de Vries
	Author URI: http://remkusdevries.com
	Version: 2.0
*/

Now select the higher version of your current theme in the Theme Test Drive menu. That’s it. Happy fiddling!

Note: Even though this a great way to change a few things here and there, I do recommend setting up a proper copy of your site in, for instance a subdomain combined with a plugin like Maintenance Mode, when you are really getting your hands dirty.

Categories: WordPress Plugins, WordPress Tips
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Comments

  1. Alex Dropshipping says: 5/24/2010

    This is one of the best articles I ever read! Who would ever imagine that working behind the curtains of WordPress is that simple. A lot of people think that working around WordPress is hard and very complicated. A lot of people also think that you should be an expert in web design to be able to design your own site in WordPress. Good thing that this article is around, this will really help a lot of people who are using WordPress for their business or blog.

    Thank you very much for this great article!

    Alex

    Reply

    • Chistes says: 4/2/2012

      WordPress is the most powerful content management system, I think the differences are increasing considerably.

      Regards Ismael Chistes

      Reply

  2. Unique Web Traffic ) says: 6/7/2010

    Wow – what a neat tool to have! I don’t why this shouldn’t become very popular among us WP users …

    Reply

  3. perde says: 1/30/2011

    A lot of people think that working around WordPress is hard and very complicated

    Reply

  4. Enrique Medina | Mexican Pottery ) says: 3/17/2011

    I always say this: WordPress is the best thing that happened to the internet. I use all the days for my sites and work, for write is easy, the plugins are powerful. WordPress is my secret weapon.

    Reply

  5. raul - como perder barriga rapidamente ) says: 3/22/2011

    I just say to my wordpress is one of the best Toolkit for webmasters

    Reply

  6. miguel - como bajar de peso en una semana says: 5/17/2011

    wordpress is one of the best managers for web pages

    Reply

  7. isma reformas sevilla says: 6/24/2011

    Good.

    I totally agree with Henry, I use WordPress on all my sites in particular reforms. Greetings from Seville.

    Thank you.

    Reply

  8. Alejandro Agapornis Fischeris says: 8/1/2011

    Thank you for sharing this interesting content! Great info in this post and generally in the blog. Good luck and regards! http://www.avifischeri.com

    Reply

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