How to Develop a Theme on a Live Site in WordPress

A quick post to show what I just discovered. Recently I had a case where I needed to show a static coming soon page for non logged-in visitors, but had to show the fully working theme to admin users because the development was done live.

A little Googling got me to this WordPress Maintenance Mode Without a Plugin tutorial by Sivel. It’s a three parts, real quick tutorial that allows for:

  • Maintenance mode both for a certain or indefinite duration.
  • Style-able maintenance mode notification page.
  • Show normal blog to logged-in users.
  • Easily turned-off maintenance mode, since you just add a few files to the WordPress installation and can delete those when you’re done.

Another neat things is that it is done using a maintenance mode mechanism already built-in in WordPress (didn’t know it has that). It works just as expected and when the development is done I can remove the files (only two of them) and everything will be back to normal.

Additionally, another simple way to do this is to serve/create a different, maintenance style theme for non-logged in visitors. User Theme is a plugin that allows for that, but I have yet to test how it works.

I’m sure this is a pretty common situation, so how do you guys do it?

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1 Response

  1. wp coder says:

    I admit I just skimmed this and I’m only partway through my morning caffiene, but it looks good. Your workflow here is very similar to mine. One thing though – on our windows box Notepad is funky, so I snagged jEdit, which color-codes a few different things and I can have multiple files open in it at once.

    I am going to use your dummy content tips, becasue I know for sure I always forget that on my local install. Usually when I’m almost done, I’ll test it out live somewhere, depending on what I made it for. (I have a couple WPMU installs as well as a few regular WP blogs.)

    I also find your writing style flows well, is personable and easy to follow. Yes, I laughed. Well done, I give it A+.