Test Drive WordPress Themes Without Changing Your Site Appearance

If you’re at all like me, it is extremely stressful to install a new WordPress Theme. I never know when something is going to break or if the theme just won’t look like I want right out from install. Not to mention that if your users are navigating your site and see the theme changing every few minutes, they might assume your site has some kind of a multiple personality disorder.

Not cool.

Theme Test Drive changes that. With a few clicks of a mouse, it is easy to run the site in administrator-only viewing. This means while I get to see the theme in action – using my live data! Users still see the original theme I had installed.

How does this work? It looks complicated at the surface level, but it is really easy. First, install the plugin. (It is available through the plugin manager. Just search for Theme Test Drive.)


Once installed, click Appearance -> Theme Test Drive.

Activating the Plugin is a two-step process. First, you need the plugin activated in your plugins section. Second, you need to activate it through the below form, which is found under Appearance:


Under Usage, select the theme you want to preview. In this case, I’m previewing the default WP theme Twenty Eleven. Click Enable Theme Drive to be able to preview this theme with your live data. Click Disable Theme Drive to view the site as your users do.

Once you’ve done this, just visit your website as normal. You will see the theme that you have enabled under Theme Test Drive while your users see your standard theme.


Seth C

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