Framework Themes and WPMU Plugins

Recently, I submitted a support request asking if WPMU could provide programming assistance for the plugins that didn’t work out of the box as promised.

The response from your staff was that most, if not all, of my problems were due to the Genesis Framework Theme I was using.

1. Do you have it listed anywhere in your marketing materials that WPMU plugins don’t work without special programming when using framework themes?

I’m asking because according to what I’ve read online, I am not the first “non-programmer” to run into challenges with WPMU plugins. If the problem is the theme we’re using, it would sure be helpful to know that before spending all the time and money I spent trying to get them to work.

2. Do you recommend staying away from framework themes all together, or just some of them?

3. Which theme(s) would you recommend that would allow WPMU plugins to work as expected?

Thank you! Dori

  • Tom Eagles
    • Syntax Hero


    Our plugins work out of the box with maybe at most some minor css changes with most themes out there, As long as the theme follows wordpress guidelines and codex there isn’t an issue. The problem is that frameworks often stray away from the standard structure in order to offer the features that they do. So when our plugins look for the correct hooks etc they can’t find them.

    the main issue with theme developers is they tend to pass the buck to plugin developers as its less work for them to implement fixes than get the plugin devs to modfiy the code.

    As i said it all depends on the way the frameworks and themes are coded. if the relevant wp hooks are there then they will work and if not we do adapt our plugins to work with the most common issues. As i said most issues are css ones which can be easily resolved by even a basic understanding of css from people using thems and plugins. Unfortunately the reality of things is that people now expect to be able to do web development with a plug and play system and when they run into issues and don’t have basic html or css skills they can’t fix issues this isn’t a case of blaming the end user but anyone considering web development needs a basic understanding of how coding works (html php and css) if they want to operate at a professional level. You would be surprised at the amount of people that don’t even know how to use ftp or install themes and plugins etc,

    If you are looking at a particlar theme drop us a line and we can see if someone on the team has any experience with it and the plugins you want to use.

    Hope this is helpful, just wanted you to understand the issues at hand


  • Dori
    • Flash Drive

    Hi Tom!

    The theme I’ve been using is the Genesis Magazine Child theme. I mainly chose it because it had a double navigation system.

    Obviously, it doesn’t play nice with WPMU plugins.

    Do any of your themes have double navigation?

    If I continue using the Genesis theme, other than having to get someone to work on the CSS every time I load a WPMU plugin, are there any other problems I should expect to face?

    Thank you, Dori

  • Dori
    • Flash Drive

    To be honest Tom, I’ve had a problem with every single WPMU plugin I’ve loaded onto my multisite (Membership, Classified, Fundraising, Directory, MarketPress, etc.).

    In a previous support request, one of your staff said the problems I’ve been facing have most likely been CSS related due to the Genesis framework theme I’ve been using. I’ve requested more detailed info from him but haven’t heard back, hence this support request.

    He believed framework themes were the problem. If I’m understanding you correctly, you believe most themes should be fine.

    I’ve got a lot of time and money into the site that I’d hate to lose, but based on what the other man wrote, I was even considering changing themes if it would help me steer clear of the myriad of problems I’ve had with the WPMU plugins (even knowing I’d have to spend the time and money going through the customization process again).

    If I listen to you though, there’s no need to change themes. WPMU plugins should work just as good on a framework theme as a non-framework theme.

    I understand what you wrote above about how theme creators pass the buck to plugin developers and how there are people who don’t know basic programming (like me). I’m sure that’s all true.

    At the same time, I keep running into problems and asking for solutions and continue being told the plugins almost always work fine. That’s a lovely idea and the reason I signed on. However, the reality has been a different story.

    Right now, I’m simply trying to figure out if I can stay with the theme I’m using or if I need to go to a different one?

    If I go to a different one, how can I guarantee I won’t run into the same problems?

    To be even more specific, I need to know if the Genesis Magazine theme I’m using is going to keep causing problems with the WPMU plugins, or if it’s one of those that has the “hooks” that’s needed and the problems will just continue being more related to CSS.

    Hopefully, you can understand my confusion.

  • Tom Eagles
    • Syntax Hero


    I am kind of confused as to how you are finding this unhelpful, I have explained in my very first post the issue with some frameworks or themes that use non standard wordpress methods will lead to issues. Our plugins have been specifically written to be 100% compatible with themes that follow these guidelines.

    We have even modified some so they will in fact work with some of the frameworks where possible,

    Now if you are asking for a cast iron guarantee they will work out of the box with every theme then in all honesty i can’t say yes. Without having prior access to the premium theme in question i cannot say yes 1000%

    Now if you have a theme that is causing you issues but you have already invested time and money in and don’t mind carrying on then i suggest using a child theme so when the main theme is updated changes won’t be lost.

    This just doesn’t effect our plugins but all those that follow the wp standards. To demonstrate this try installing them on one of the default themes that come with wordpress and they will work every time, why? because of the way they are coded (the themes that is).

    I can fully understand your frustration, but imagine it from our end when we know they work but due to theme issues we spend most of the time adapting or helping members adapt them through no fault of our own.

    So how about this drop me an email using the contacts form with the admin username and password and ftp details for your site and a list of issues and I will do my best to get them fixed.

    As long as it doesn’t involve too much coding i will work on it or at least point your css people in the right direction. Sound good?

    Use the contacts form here. select i have another question mark it for my attention add all the info and a link back to this thread. I can’t be any fairer than that.


  • Dori
    • Flash Drive

    Thank you Tom!

    That sounds awesome.

    My primary goal has been to give my members a website that’s functional and easy to use.

    However, my secondary goal was to build the site on WordPress using WPMU plugins to show the power of both.

    Since the beginning, I’ve wanted to be one of your success stories – a website you could highlight to show the power of WPMU plugins at work.

    Getting back onto that track would be BONZER!

    I will do as you requested above.

    Thank you very much!


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