I'm using a theme that I've pulled from WordPress' repo (example: Twenty Sixteen), the default URL structure looks like so:


I want to hide any reference that this WordPress theme is coming from Twenty Sixteen and customize the directory to something else:


While I can FTP to my website and rename the folder manually, I noticed that the theme does not receive any updates that are made on WordPress' repo.

I'd assume I would create a child theme referring to Twenty Sixteen in order to still receive the latest updates for the theme and still have a custom directory name. Is that the best route?

  • the reference is in the style.css right there at the start of the file ;) changing directory name will not be enough to actually hide from anyone that actually want to know Dec 12, 2016 at 20:49

3 Answers 3


changing the theme folder I guess it won't affect on updates but changing it's name do.

So like you said the best way that every professional company advice is to create a child-theme and modify everything you want on it.

  • I do recall changing the directory name of a theme that receives updates which didn't work. However, just creating a child theme with a different name works for me. Thanks. Dec 19, 2016 at 15:20
  • What's your basis for saying renaming folder won't affect updates?
    – Rarst
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:37

WordPress does submit directory names (child and parent) with update check data.

Since updater is black box and its logic is refused to be disclosed, it's impossible to be certain if changing folder name will affect updates, but it certainly can.

Basically if you modify theme then it's your problem to maintain it.

You could try to mask paths with rewrite on web server level or maintain updates with non–WP tool, such as Composer.

Overall I would question utility of obscuring the source here. If someone wants to figure out original publicly available theme you used — they will.

  • "If someone wants to figure out original publicly available theme you used — they will." -> I agree. Even having the true name of the theme covered up on a basic, surface-level will do. In this case, just creating a child theme with a different directory name is good enough for me. Thanks for your suggestion. Dec 19, 2016 at 15:19

I checked in practice. I cloned a theme folder so I have now:

twentyseventeen (copy)

I opened the page /wp-admin/themes.php Both the themes are up to date.

I set the version from style.css file low to 0.1 for both. I refreshed the page /wp-admin/themes.php

I have the feedback now only a single theme have the update.

New version available. Update now

Only the theme stored in a folder twentyseventeen had the update.

I didn't have to call wp_update_themes(); since it worked instantly.

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