How can I use a “Under Construction” WordPress theme while working on another theme in the background?

Ryan September 8, 2010

I have a WordPress theme that I’m working on. It’s “out there” in the public but it’s not quite ready. I found a great “under construction” theme that I’d like to use while I’m working on my real WP theme. Is this possible? How?


  1. Steve Campbell
    September 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    There's a plugin for WordPress called Maintenance Mode. You could load that and copy all of your themes files to a separate folder to work on. If you have enough server space I don't see why you couldn't achieve what you're looking to do.

    • Aibek
      September 11, 2010 at 7:49 am

      Yep, that's a nice plugin. Here is the link to it,

      You may also do following. Create a copy of your current theme, rename it to something else and upload it to the themes directory on your WordPress setup. You'll end up with two identical themes with different names. After that you can work on the theme and preview the changes without making any changes to the activated theme.

  2. Ryan Dube
    September 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Ryan - that's a tough one! It is possible to run two themes (I've heard), but I don't have any experience doing so and from the sound of it, it seems a bit complicated. The way I would handle your dilemma would be to load the Under Construction theme for your core domain that you're working on. Then I would install an add-on domain in my webhosting account for the sole purpose of testing out the new theme. Once you've tweaked the PHP files the way you like them, then it's just a matter of copying your theme folder with the modified PHP files into the core domain and activating that new theme.

    I'd love to hear if someone else has another approach, because it would be interesting to know how other people test themes before going live. The above is how I do it, but technically the add-on domain is "live". The only other solution I can think of is installing a local web server on your own PC to test WP themes.