I have a WordPress.org site. I am planning to use a new theme for the site. I have Installed the template and it is currently under the Themes folder.

The old theme is currently active. I would like to work on the new template and keep the old template active.

Once I finish working on the new theme, I would then like to make that active.

How can I achieve this?

  • The terms template and _theme_have specific meanings within WordPress. A theme is a collection of files and templates that are used to display content. You can create a new template within a theme, as long as the template does not have the same name as a current template. The best, safest and most appropriate approach is to develop and edit the template in an IDE (e.g. Notepad++, Coda) and not in the theme editor. See these codex links for a thorough explanation of themes and templates codex.wordpress.org/Using_Themes codex.wordpress.org/Stepping_Into_Templates Mar 28 '17 at 15:20
  • @RayMitchell Yes, what I meant was a theme. I modified the question accordingly. Thanks. But if we edit the template in notepad , how can we do a preview to see how it looks? Mar 29 '17 at 13:13
  • If you have FTP access to the site, you can upload your edited template file and add it to the appropriate folder in your theme. Regarding previewing a theme, as Industrial Themes suggested you can use a theme switching plugin - wordpress.org/plugins/theme-switcha Mar 30 '17 at 16:57

You can use a theme tester plugin to test your theme only for admin user while all other users continue to use the old theme. Here are two such plugins:

Theme Test Drive

WP Theme Test

Please note the officially supported version of WordPress each of those plugins works with. Also, here is an article with further resources on how to test themes before they're live and public-facing.


You could clone (e.g. with Duplicator plugin) your website under a subdomain, work safely on the clone and go back to live site with all changes when you are happy.

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