WordPress / WP Plugins


For the folks who develop WordPress themes, it becomes imperative to do a thorough theme check before they submit it to the official Theme Directory of WordPress.

WordPress has its own set of guidelines for accepting new themes and those are to be taken with all seriousness. You would obviously not want a lot of back and forth or rejections, so giving your best shot is what I recommend.

Theme testing can prepare your site against functional discrepancies as it timely points out all the problems that must be dealt with at the earliest. When you are out there wanting to test your theme, there are two options for your consideration:

  • Manual Testing
  • Automated Testing

Let’s take a closer look at both:

Manual Testing

The manual testing of WordPress theme requires you to follow a series of steps that address each aspect of your theme individually.

The process begins by importing the WordPress export file into your WordPress setup:

Next Step is to Configure the WordPress Settings

We will tweak the configuration as follows:

Settings -> General: The site title should be of a considerable length and the site tagline should be even longer.

Settings -> Reading: Here, you can set “Blog pages show at most” to 10. this will ensure that the index pagination is activated.

Settings -> Discussion: Here, you can enable the settings for the Threaded Comments. Then, testing will be done on the Theme comment list styling.

Settings -> Discussion: Here, you can enable the Break comments into pages, and set 7 comments per page. Doing so, the testing of Theme paginating link markup/styling will be triggered.

  • ·Settings -> Media: Make changes here so that there are no fixed values set for the max width or height of the media files you are to enter in your post on a regular basis. It will also trigger the testing of the Theme $content_width setting/implementation.
  • ·Settings -> Permalinks: In here, select the permalink setting that gives your URLs a proper structure. For example, set it to the Post Title. Or, you can also go in with the custom URL setting.


Following that, you should create two custom menus, one of which is long and contains all the pages, and the other one is short with not more than 3 pages.

Template Hierarchy Index Pages

Now, when you are viewing a Template Hierarchy Index page, which may include these pages –  index.php,  home.php, archive.php, category.php, tag.php, and author.php, you need to make sure that:

  • All the posts are properly displayed.
  • Posts are placed in your intended order.
  • The appropriate number of posts are displayed as per the value you have set in Settings>Reading.
  • The navigational structure is properly displayed and functional.
  • There are no PHP errors and warning once the debugging is completed
  • There are no JavaScript errors thrown by the browser


Static Front Page

Now, in case your theme contains a front-page.php or a home.php file, navigate across to Dashboard -> Settings -> Reading, and set your Front Page to display any Static Page. Similarly, set the Blog Posts index to another Static Page. Make sure that:

  • The front page is displayed without any glitches
  • The Blog Posts index page is displayed without any glitches
  • There are no PHP errors returned after debugging
  • There are no JavaScript errors thrown by the browser

404 Page

With the 404 error page, make sure that:

  • The 404 page is displayed without any glitches
  • There is some accompanying content to the message, “Error 404 – Page Not Found”. Besides this, there should be at least a search box or a menu item of posts and pages.
  • There are no PHP errors returned after debugging
  • There are no JavaScript errors thrown by the browserThere are no PHP errors returned after debugging
  • There are no JavaScript errors thrown by the browser

Search Results Page

  • The search result page is displayed without any glitches and all the search query results displayed. properly
  • There are no PHP errors returned after debugging
  • There are no JavaScript errors thrown by the browser

Blog Posts Index Page

Make sure you test the following posts when you are accessing the Blog Posts Index page:

  • Scheduled post
  • Draft post
  • Check the layout properly
  • Test the readability of the pages
  • Post format tests
  • Post Format Test: Image (Linked)
  • Post Format Test: Image (Attached)
  • Post Format Test: Video


And thus concludes the manual process of checking your theme for errors. With each phase in this test, you need to go back to the front-end of your website and check if it is working properly. Every time you encounter an error, you need to go back to the theme’s code and make the requisite changes to the code. The changes may be made either to the respective files, for example, comments.php for comments, and also to the functions.php file. And then again you have to check if the changes are being reflected appropriately.

The obstacles in manual testing – Evidently, it is a multi-step process that asks for investment of a lot of time and efforts. Besides demanding a lot of time, another challenge that you face with manual testing is that if you are testing a corporate website, this afore-mentioned process won’t work. It can only work for a typical blog site. These two obstacles do leave a lot of doubt in the minds of theme developers and testers.

And thus, keeping in mind the two challenges explained above, you have a second resort – the automated testing.

Automated Testing Using the Theme Check Plugin

The theme Check plugin is the tool that serves the theme testing purpose just right. It is a highly trusted plugin that is being seized with a keen desire and a degree of assurance by theme developers who want the most reliable tool to test their themes so that they are accepted into the WordPress directory without any hiccups. It runs a slew of scans on your theme, checking every aspect individually and making sure no grey areas are missed.

An Insight into Theme-Check

It goes without saying that Theme Check checks every aspect of your theme to verify if it is in accordance with the guidelines and highlights all the problem areas if and when it encounters them. It gives an elaborate and precise account of the problems and it’s intrinsic tools are the same that the theme review team at WordPress uses. So, you can be rest assured that your theme is being checked on the most appropriate parameters. Theme Check has separate categories for separate errors so that it becomes easier for you to segregate the issues and figure out the solution more precisely.

How Does it Perform its Job

Setting up and configuring Theme Check is a simple enough exercise. After installing and activating it, you can find a new option appearing in the admin panel, right under the tab Appearance > Theme Check.

At the top level menu, there is a complete list of themes that you have installed on your setup and right adjacent to it is the button with the label, Check it, and also the checkbox, “Surpress INFO”. We will elaborate on this button at the later stage.

For now, you got to select the theme to be tested and hit the Check it button.

themecheck plugin

Just like any other WordPress tool or function, Theme Check only takes a few seconds to entirely scan your WordPress theme for all its files and the possible errors.

themecheckClick to zoom

The errors pointed out are described briefly in terms of what exactly they are. The flawed files are pointed out the name of the respective categories is displayed in caps, right next to the error description.

Explaining each error category:

WARNING – It puts forth the code snippets and functions that you must immediately remove from your theme. It can typically be the base64 encoding or wrongly placed functions or codes, and any code that doesn’t syn with SVN repositories.

REQUIRED – This lists the components that must find a place in your theme, but are absent.

RECOMMENDED – It suggests few features that the Theme Check plugin deems suited to your website. These may not be the must-have features, but important nevertheless.

INFO – It throws light on some generic issues that may be populating your theme, let’s say, wrong use of PHP code.

Be absolutely sure that you throroughly scan all the flags and troubleshoot the issues marked out in red. Once you make the requisite changes, rerun the Theme Check plugin to find out if there are some more glitches.

The Final Word

Clearly, when you compare the manual testing method with the automation one, you can figure out the time you are saving if you go for the latter. Manual testing is also a reliable method of testing (when applicable), but it can eat up large chunks of your time, which may not be on your side if the deadlines are tighter.

It can thus be concluded that the Theme Check plugin definitely serves as a better way to test your WordPress theme for errors by offering you plentiful of time and quality.


About Author:  Emily Heming is a professional WordPress developer for a leading PSD to WordPress conversion company. She also provides conversion services like HTML to WordPress theme and many more. She has served many worpress companies helping them in developing user-friendly website. So feel free to contact her.

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