I've created a theme that includes a custom dashboard outside of wp-admin.

I would like a user who doesn't have access to the wp-admin (but does have access to my custom dashboard) to be able to receive an update notification for their theme.

If that's impossible, I could also work with the user just receiving the update notification, and sending them to wp-admin/themes.php, but that wouldn't be ideal.

Any ideas on how to push that notification to the front-end?

Edit -- This theme is hosted on a private GitHub repo, and updates are sent with this plugin.

2 Answers 2


You could add a REST endpoint to check if the current theme has an update. Here's a quick example to get you started:

function wpd_register_themecheck_route(){
            'methods' => 'GET',
            'callback' => 'wpd_check_theme'
add_action( 'rest_api_init', 'wpd_register_themecheck_route' );

function wpd_check_theme(){
    $current_theme = get_option( 'template' );
    $theme_updates = get_option( '_site_transient_update_themes' );
    $return = false;
    if( array_key_exists( $current_theme, $theme_updates->response ) ){
        $return = $theme_updates->response[$current_theme];
    $response = new WP_REST_Response( $return );
    return $response;
  • Thanks for your answer! My theme is hosted on a private gitHub repo, I think that the 'themecheck" route checks for updates through the wordpress theme repository, right? Feb 2, 2019 at 0:09
  • I'm using a plugin to push updates from github, so they are showing up in wp-admin Feb 2, 2019 at 0:10
  • You'll have to consult the documentation or support channels for that plugin, 3rd party plugins are off-topic here.
    – Milo
    Feb 2, 2019 at 0:39
  • I'm asking about displaying an update that has already been detected by Wordpress. Having any plugins on my site shouldn't disqualify me from asking here. Feb 4, 2019 at 20:16
  • I explained how it would work with native theme updates, if that doesn’t work with whatever plugin you’re using then it most certainly is plugin-specific and requires knowledge of exactly how they’re hooking into the update system.
    – Milo
    Feb 4, 2019 at 22:48

To get the updates, I ended up loading update text from the themes.php page by doing this:


<div id="ajax-test"></div>


    $('#ajax-test').load('<?php bloginfo('url'); ?>/wp-admin/themes.php .theme.active .update-message', function(){
        $('#ajax-test').append('<a class="update-now" href="<?php bloginfo('url'); ?>/wp-admin/themes.php?theme=your-theme-name" target="_blank">Update Now</a>');

Css to hide unless update is found:

#ajax-test .button-link{
.update-message + .update-now{

For a non-admin user, you need to give them access to theme editing and theme updating using add_cap( $role, $cap ), and styling out everything that isn't necessary for theme updating.

There are two issues with this that I can see: If a user edits CSS, they can use dashboard navigation, and they can change their theme.

I have a redirect set up in my functions.php that only allows access to this page in wp_admin:

$role = get_role( 'editor' );
$role->add_cap( 'update_themes' );
$role->add_cap( 'switch_themes' );

add_action( 'init', 'blockusers_init' );

function blockusers_init() {
    if ( is_admin() && ! current_user_can( 'administrator' ) && strpos($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], 'wp-admin/themes.php') == false && strpos($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], 'wp-admin/update.php?action=upgrade-theme') == false &&
! ( defined( 'DOING_AJAX' ) && DOING_AJAX ) ) {
wp_redirect( home_url() );

For the theme updating, if a user wants to deliberately edit the html to brick their own site, I'm willing to let them.

Maybe it's not the most elegant solution, but it's the best option I've found for my situation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.