Theme Test Drive: A WordPress Plugin for Theme Development

Crayford Riverside Development (by Destinys Agent)

Theme Test Drive is a WordPress plugin developed by Vladimir Prelovac that allows you to work on and test a theme when logged in as Admin but the visitors will view the current theme.

This can be really useful when you are testing code and making theme changes but don’t want visitors to see what you are working on (or any of your mistakes).


  1. Download and install the plugin like any other.
  2. Activate the plugin
  3. Go to Appearance > Theme Test Drive
  4. testdrive

  5. On the settings page you can install a theme, select the theme to work on, and set levels of access as to which users can view the theme. The default is Admin only. You can also disable and enable the plugin on this page.
  6. When logged in as Admin you will be able to view the changes that are being made to the theme but visitors will see your current theme. This is great for development and code edits.
  7. You will not, however, be able to view your current theme. If you want to refer to it when editing the new one, I recommend taking a couple of screenshots of it before you start working and use those for reference.

What do you think? Is this a useful plugin? So far, I really like it.

photo credit: Destinys Agent

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    • says

      Hi Ale – There are so many plugins – some better than others – but there is almost always something that will provide the required functionality.

  1. says

    Heya Kim! Just thought I would chime in on this one..

    For those using the Theme Switcher plugin, this plugin is unnecessary. I have been using the Theme Switcher plugin to develop sites quietly behind the scenes for many years now. It works perfectly, and has the added benefit of actually serving as a theme switcher for your readers.

    You can’t set levels, but you can allow anyone to see the new theme by giving them the URL.
    .-= Jeff Starr´s last blog ..How to Protect Your Site Against Content Thieves =-.

  2. says

    Did you post this one especially for theme hounds like me? This could be dangerously upsetting for me and give my visitors seizures because I can’t sit still with my theme choices. Very cool option, however. I promise not to abuse my new found power of trying out themes!
    .-= Rick Castellini´s last blog ..Printing Error Messages* =-.

    • says

      Hi Rick – This will let you try things without affecting the visitors :-) Dave did point out, however, that changes to the widgets will change on both themes. Jeff also mentioned Theme Switcher, which has similar functionality.



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