ThemeLab's Blog

Stay up to date with our newest WordPress themes, WordPress plugins, WordPress tutorials, and other announcements.

How To Efficiently Set Up WordPress Theme Demos

Last Updated on by

If you’re a WordPress theme author of multiple themes, then you’ll probably want a more efficient way of handling “live demos” than setting up a brand new WordPress installation on each. I personally use the theme switcher plugin on my live demo site. What this plugin will allow you to do is set up a link to preview a theme installed in your wp-content/themes/ folder, whether it’s the active theme or not. This plugin also has a function which will make a dropdown list of all the themes installed on your blog, providing links to preview each theme.


Leland Fiegel was the original founder of ThemeLab. He is a web developer who loves WordPress and blogging.

  • ArtHack

    This plug-in is pretty good, there are no other plug-in is the theme of the show?

  • Leland

    @ArtHack: I think there are a couple other plugins to preview themes. This one, however, leaves a cookie so people can preview all pages of the theme. This one might also be worth taking a look at as well:

    • ArtHack


    • ArtHack

      However, this can not use plug-in WordPress2.6

  • mayooresan

    Oh man! thank you very much.. This is wot i’m looking for!!!
    Long time back I wrote a WordPress theme and was wondering how to incorporate all the themes in one WP installation……

    Thanks alot :)

  • Leland

    @ArtHack: Are you sure? The theme switcher plugin works fine for me on 2.6.

    @mayooresan: No problem, glad this post was useful to you.

  • Jonathan

    Thank you! Just getting into the Theme game and needed to know how to do this. Question: does this plugin allow you to direct link a theme as well?

    Thanks in advance,


  • Leland

    @Jonathan: Yep, it sure does. You can set up links like

    • Jonathan

      It caused a fatal error in a 2.6.2 WP install:

      Fatal error: Cannot redeclare ts_set_theme_cookie() (previously declared in /homepages/16/d261329322/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/theme-switcher-reloaded/theme-switcher-reloaded.php:28) in /homepages/16/d261329322/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/theme-switcher.php on line 30

  • Jonathan

    nevermind, just having a “duh” moment… thanks again!

  • Jonathan

    Got it loaded but just reloads the current theme. I used the (which is installed) and it just refreshed the page…

    I must be missing something!

  • Leland

    @Johnathan: I think it’s case sensitive. Try with

  • Jonathan

    Nope….. could it be the latest WP update kills the plugin?

  • Leland

    @Johnaton: Don’t think so. I use it myself with WordPress 2.6.2 on the Demo Server.

    I think I know the problem is though. Try

    Since that’s the full name of the theme.

  • Jonathan

    You rock! Mind if I add your feed to my site?

  • Barry

    Thanks for the great tips here. I have a question regarding the theme switcher plugin. I have page where I have thumbnails of various free themes I am offering. I have the link set up as you suggest above in the format The demo preview works fine in a new page however it drops a cookie so that the theme of the whole site is changed to the previously viewed demo. How do I stop that from happening? The way you have Themelab set up is exactly what I want. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.