Theme Test Drive

Theme Test Drive WordPress plugin allows you to safely test drive any theme on your blog as administrator, while visitors still use the default one. It happens completely transparently and they will not even notice you run a different theme for yourself. Best part is you can even set the testing theme options (if it has them) in the Admin panel while you are testing the theme.

Since version 2.0 Theme Test Drive features instant theme preview using a website thumbnail service.

You can also preview any theme by adding "?theme=xxx" to your blog URL. For example (theme name is case-sensitive!)

For all questions about the plugin please visit my WordPress forums.


Installation & Usage

  1. Upload the plugin folder to your /wp-content/plugins/ folder.
  2. Go to the Plugins page and activate the plugin.
  3. Use the Options page to set the theme you want to test drive.

The selected theme will be visible only to blog administrator. Other visitors of the site will always see the default theme.

Note: if you use WP-Cache plugin, you might need to disable it (or setup to exclude pages)


v2.6: Added user access level


  • Instant theme preview using a live thumbnail preview
  • Added "?theme=xxx" to your URL's to preview the desired theme. Example

Nov 29th, 2007 v1.0
* Initial release

Visit my other interesting WordPress Plugins or my WordPress theme Amazing Grace.

If you are looking for  WordPress consulting services feel free to contact me


  1. Albert
    Sep 21st, 2016 10:06 AM

    Hi, I am just wondering is it possible to publish the page that I have created in the theme test drive.

  2. Andy Grainger
    Sep 16th, 2016 11:03 AM


    Great plugin, but may be its me, I want to change the theme for my website, and have designed something great in test drive.
    But if I hit save and publish, will that wipe out my original site.

    Sorry if this is a lame question, but quite new to this

    many Thanks

  3. Jul 1st, 2016 7:52 AM

    oh good site . thanks a lot

  4. Jun 1st, 2016 8:49 AM

    word press is worlds best cms and i like it and your site for sharing great tutorials

  5. May 4th, 2016 8:57 PM

    I seem to be having some issues after using the Theme Test Drive. Everything seemed to be working but now for some reason a couple of things are not. I have contacted my webhosting provider and theme developer also posted on for help. A couple people suggest I contact you all since I used the Theme Test Drive to configure everything before going live on the site.

    The first problem I am having is I can no longer do search on the site without it coming back with an error. I have figured out the search issue just not sure on how to fix it.

    I also switched themes and tried with same result.

    When I started this new site using this theme I used a plugin called Theme Test Drive so that way I could have the current site live while still working on the new design. When setting it up it asked where to install the theme and I put it /site. After doing all that and got everything figured out once the plugin was deactiavated it all seemed to work. Search, audio and everything worked.

    The problem I am having is I have a redirect in my cpanel to forward to If you go to it forwards you to the /site on the end and brings you to the correct homepage and loads fine. But if you try and search it does not work. Now if I remove the /site redirect in the cpanel and head to it only takes me to without the /site, but its a black homepage. If I click on the Home tab at the top right it takes me to the correct, but the search function does work..

    I am also having issues with the audio files no longer working on the artist pages. If you click play it seems to be playing but I hear nothing. The files are still in the correct directory to which in the beginning when everything was working.

    If anyone is able to lend a hand and suggestions I’d appreciate it :)

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