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Access Requested to the WordPress Theme Viewer

Update December 11, 2007: Matt Mullenweg offered updated news on the WordPress Theme Viewer saying:

Just wanted to do a quick update for those wondering when you’ll be able to add new themes or update existing ones here in the directory. We’ve been working very hard on a new Subversion-backed database for themes that will allow you to upload themes as you did before, as a plain ZIP file, and we’re transparently check it into SVN so changes can be tracked just like we do for WordPress development.

Unfortunately, I can’t get the site to load, but this came in through the WordPress Theme Viewer Blog Feed, therefore, can’t read the rest of the announcement.

WordPress ThemesIn “WordPress Theme Viewer Still Crippled“, Nathan Rice reminds us that the WordPress Theme Viewer is still not open to WordPress Theme designers to allow them to upgrade their WordPress Themes:

It’s been 5 months since WordPress decided to close access to theme designers uploading and updating their themes on the official WordPress Theme Viewer, and the longer it stays closed, the worse the entire situation gets for WordPress Theme users and designers.

…We NEED access to this site in order to update our themes!

The lack of access to the WordPress Theme Viewer not only hurts my own reputation, but it hurts the users too and could potentially be dangerous! Think about it…

Nathan points out very good reasons why it is critical to open access to the WordPress Theme Viewer so WordPress Theme authors and designers, the most important of which is the reputation of the quality and integrity of the Themes on the WordPress Theme Viewer.

His words echo those I’ve heard from many frustrated WordPress Theme designers over the past few months.

The main reason the WordPress Theme Viewer access was closed down was for a major cleaning of the Theme Viewer, removing Themes with spammy ad links, copyright violations, and duplicate Theme designs. The WordPress Community let the developers know that they didn’t want junk in the “official” WordPress Theme service, and they complied.

Now, five months have passed without access to update their Themes and Theme authors are frustrated that the integrity desired of the WordPress Theme Viewer is lacking as users continue to download buggy and vulnerable Themes. Those who upgraded are stuck with Themes that aren’t WordPress 2.3 compliant. WordPress 2.4 is due out next month, which may include more changes to WordPress Themes, making many of the Themes on the Theme Viewer even more obsolete.

This hurts users and spoils designer’s reputations. It also overwhelms the Support Forums.

If WordPress is to offer an “official” site for WordPress Themes, it must do so in a way that protects the user and the Theme designer equally. Hopefully, access will be restored soon and designers will be able to update their Themes.

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  1. Posted December 10, 2007 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Hear hear – I’d rather install & use a “vetted” theme on my blog, than a pimped out advertising theme.

    The notifications that went out covering this topic were clear & concise, so I don’t know why the “community” is bitching about it.

  2. Posted December 10, 2007 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Well is there any way we can all help in creating a motion in this matter ? Please update us geeklord -)

  3. Posted December 10, 2007 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Matt is going to bring it back up. They should just tear the site down.

  4. Posted December 10, 2007 at 11:44 pm | Permalink


    Bitching about what? The notifications about the closing down of access to the WordPress Theme Viewer were that is was “under construction” and would be open to updating Themes soon. Soon has past. Am I missing some piece of information on this?

  5. Posted December 11, 2007 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    I’ve been waiting for the theme viewer to open too, every once a week i stop by just to check if access was already granted.

    Hopefully it opens soon 🙂

  6. Posted December 11, 2007 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle

    “””The lack of access to the WordPress Theme Viewer not only hurts my own reputation, but it hurts the users too and could potentially be dangerous! Think about it…


    I agree.. and hope..


  7. Posted December 11, 2007 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    That is a very good point, e.g. my mailbox is full with people using the outdated themes (not 2.3 compatible), but today Matt announced the opening again.

  8. Posted December 11, 2007 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    today Matt announced the opening again.

    Where did you see that? There is a post on the theme viewer with a bunch of excuses why it’s still closed, but no indication whatsoever of when or whether it will be open for uploads and updates.

    The site has been down for so long now that the socially responsible thing to do would be to shut off downloads and advise people to download the latest versions direct from the authors’ sites. I have a theme dating for WP 1.5 still up there; somebody else uploaded it on my behalf and I couldn’t get access to it even before Matt shut the place down. Does anyone know whether they respond to takedown requests?

  9. Posted December 11, 2007 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I gave up. There are plenty of other sites to upload to. Just think. WordPress doesn’t rank in Google for “Free WordPress Themes”.

  10. Posted December 11, 2007 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I have relied heavily on free themes for the last couple of years for various websites, for myself and for others. Thank you to all the of you designers who make those themes possible and also to the WordPress and Plugin developers for providing such useful and versatile applications.

    With that said, I don’t believe there is anything sinister going on, and Matt’s announcement may have offered excuses (or simply reasons) as to why the Theme Viewer continues to be crippled, but as an avid WordPress user and WordPress community “lurker”, it’s my opinion that hope should stay alive for the Theme Viewer to come back to life in a positive, safe, and useful way, both for users and developers.

    However, I do agree that steps NEED TO BE TAKEN to address the issues that Nathan Rice has brought to the forefront. Please find a way to open the Theme Viewer up to designers so they may upgrade, or as “that girl again” states, don’t allow any more downloads of outdated, buggy, and RISKY themes until the background development is finished.

    If there is one security problem with a theme downloaded from the “official WordPress” Theme Viewer, and something bad happens, that could be very damaging to the great reputation WordPress currently has.

    Word of mouth is a powerful friend, or your worst enemy. It’s time to make that choice.

  11. Posted December 11, 2007 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Hum, looks like I’ve misread the post /(…

  12. Posted December 11, 2007 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    digitalproductsreview, the first hit for “free wordpress themes” is

    If you download a theme there and look in header.php you’ll see base64 encoded PHP which effectively puts a backdoor into your server.

    I rest my case.

  13. Posted December 11, 2007 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Milo: You didn’t misread the post. I’ve updated it at the top. Matt has made an announcement about the status of the WordPress Theme Viewer, though no timeline has been mentioned.

    Matt: I believe that the “case” you wanted to rest on had to do with providing quality and “safe” WordPress Themes to the WordPress Community. I totally support that, which is why it’s been difficult with no feedback until recently about the Themes out-of-date and buggy still sitting on the Theme Viewer. Thanks for letting us know what is going on and reassuring us that this is on the right track for the benefit of all of us.

  14. Posted December 11, 2007 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I certainly don’t want to move on to any other site. needs to be safe for the users, and as of right now it’s not. Hence my frustration in my post. I’m not saying that any other place is better … in fact they are worse … but due to there being a good many broken themes on the theme viewer, users (not developers) might look elsewhere … that’s it.

    But, I was definitely happy to see you give us some reassurance. Is there any way we can squeeze a timeline out of ya? 🙂

  15. Posted December 11, 2007 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Reading this give me an information about Theme Viewer as I just started learning to create my team.
    It is an honor for me because you visited my little blog. Thank You!

  16. Sensei Seito
    Posted December 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Good to know that something is being done, I also heavily rely on Free WordPress Themes and I always have to end up resorting to Google, where links to sites that might not be trustworthy lurk..

    The great steps that WordPress has taken over every new version gives Theme Designers more reason to make even better Themes, like with Tags creative use of the Tag Cloud can stem off a load of fresh new Theme ideas… but when you go to the “WordPress Theme Viewer” nothing thats Tagified is actually there, even when it is the Official Latest Stable Release and has been out and about for a while, what reason is there to think the Design side of WordPress is up-to-date…..?

  17. Posted December 12, 2007 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Totally. My most popular theme gets updated quite often (2.3 broke it big time) and it’s a little annoying that I keep getting bug reports and/or requests from the ancient versions that people keep downloading off of Theme Viewer. I’d take it down from there if I could. If anyone wants the CLI2 theme, it’s on Google Code.

  18. Posted December 13, 2007 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, it’s two days now since I asked for my theme to be taken off the theme viewer, and unsurprisingly it’s still there. You won’t lose anything by filling in the report form saying the theme is horrendously broken; just don’t expect anything to happen. (Of course, one of the big problems with releasing under the GPL is that people can redistribute your themes whether you want them to or not; even if they’re adding dodgy code or offering deprecated versions for download, there’s nothing you can do to stop them.)

    I wish I could share Lorelle’s confidence that the theme viewer is ‘on the right track’, but the fact that Matt can’t even tell us what month it’ll be ready suggests it’s nowhere even near being re-opened. In the meantime, there is nothing on the site to warn people that themes aren’t 2.3-compatible and users are still being encouraged to download buggy old versions rather than fresh, fixed ones. OK, so Matt made a post about how great the site will be at some unspecified point in the future, but the current situation has actually not altered at all.

  19. Posted January 17, 2008 at 8:07 am | Permalink


    I know what to look for. Therefore it is not an issue. This is akin to saying “Everyone Else Sucks. We have the Best Themes. But you can’t upload. Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah”

    Plus, the last time my blog got hacked, it was from a security issue in WordPress. Never had an issue with a theme.

  20. Posted January 17, 2008 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    @ digitalproductsreview:

    I’m glad you never had a problem with a Theme. Theme security issues are starting to pop up as designers incorporate code beyond a Plugin into their Themes. And if you have ever downloaded a free WordPress Theme and thought you were getting something wonderful, only to find out it is stuffed with hidden and unwanted ads and links – that’s enough to really piss some people off. They scream at WordPress while it is the Theme designer or provider who does the evil.

    On this issue, the WordPress Community spoke and does not want such Themes. “Best Themes” is subjective. The ugliest Theme can be lovely if it has no evil lurking under the hood.

    And WordPress is not the only one with security issues. As blog programs become more popular, just like email and other web programs, they become a target for time-wasters who want to do evil.

    The issue before us of the “closed” WordPress Theme Viewer continues to plague designers and WordPress users. That is the issue, not the debate over who has the better Themes. Having it closed to uploading and fixing of old or flawed Themes hurts everyone and gives the Theme Viewer a bad reputation when its purpose is to provide secure Themes. Sad.

  21. Posted January 20, 2008 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Is there a list of these so called “Bad Themes” someplace? I for one have no idea what to look for as far as hidden code and whatnot. The more I get involved in WP and blogging, these articles keep popping up, but I haven’t got anything specific.

  22. Posted January 20, 2008 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    @ KAPS:

    I don’t know of a “bad Theme list”. I do know that many have written about them when they’ve found them, so search the web for a specific Theme you’ve found to see what’s been said about it.

    Most of the Themes on the WordPress Theme Viewer are good, and most will work with the latest version of WordPress. Check the dates they were uploaded to ensure they were uploaded in 2007 not before so they should work with recent versions.

    I know it’s a problem. I hope this will be resolved soon.

  23. Posted January 26, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I need it too, and I hope will be open soon

  24. Posted June 26, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Permalink is a failure and it is causing me no end of headaches with people asking for support for themes that are FAR out of date. Lorelle, if you know these guys, please just suggest that they pull the trigger on it.

  25. Posted June 27, 2008 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    @ thrind:

    The new WordPress Theme Viewer is being developed and should really be awesome, from what I’m hearing. I’m very excited about it. But it takes time and the right people working on all the details to make it secure, easily searchable, and all the features people want. I’m just as frustrated as you are, but stay tuned. Exciting news on the way soon.

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