Is there some way to change the page template dynamically using just a url I wanna use it in a demo theme, so for example when the user enters a particular URL ending with for example


it changes the template on the fly?

Could this technique be used to change the theme (or maybe a child theme) on the fly just for demo purpose?

1 Answer 1


Filter pre_option_stylesheet. Sample code, not tested:

add_filter( 'pre_option_stylesheet', 'wpse_100854_switch_stylesheet' );

function wpse_100854_switch_stylesheet( $false )
    if ( empty ( $_GET['theme'] )
        return $false;

    $themes = wp_get_themes( array( 'allowed' => true ) );

    if ( isset ( $themes[ $_GET['theme'] ] ) )
        return $_GET['theme'];

    return $false;

The URL should look like example.com/?theme=theme_directory_slug.

To change just the template for a specific page, hook into template_include:

add_filter( 'template_include', 'wpse_100854_switch_template' );

function wpse_100854_switch_template( $template )
    if ( empty ( $_GET['template'] )
            return $false;

    // do not allow to break out of the directory
    $new  = ltrim( $_GET['template'], '.' ); 
    $path = get_template_directory() . "/templates/$new.php";

    if ( file_exists( $path ) )
        return $path;

    return $template;

Now add a directory templates to your theme. When someone requests example.com/?template=blue and the template blue.php exists in the special directory, it will be used.

  • Thanks for mentioning the function, I have found these links, could be useful: codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Filter_Reference/… shibashake.com/wordpress-theme/switch_theme-vs-theme-switching Commented May 27, 2013 at 10:28
  • Now, I have used this function, How can I use it? - I mean now what is the URL I am after? Commented May 27, 2013 at 10:40
  • @CapitalH.ir See my update.
    – fuxia
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 10:42
  • Why do you use 'pre_option_stylesheet' instead of 'pre_option_template'? Also, could you not use the action 'template_redirect'?
    – user27457
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 10:47
  • @MagentaCuda This filter runs as early as possible. template_redirect is way too late.
    – fuxia
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 10:50

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