How to Install any Thesis Skin on your WordPress Blog?

Thesis Skins add Beauty to your already-Powerful Thesis Powered WordPress Blog.  Though any clean Thesis Skin come bundled with sufficient Installation information, this post will give you the basics to Install any Thesis Skin on your Blog.


  • WordPress
  • Thesis Theme (Licensed, of course! If you don’t have one, get it here)

Usual Contents of a Thesis Skin

Though not all Skins are similar, they share some similarity in the way the files are organized.  Here is an example of how a typical structure of a Thesis Skin might look like.

Thesis Skin Structure

Typical Thesis Skin Structure

The custom files are the core of any Thesis Skin and the other files/folders support the customization.

Check the Thesis Theme + Skin Compatibility

One of the thing to check – is the compatibility of the Thesis Skin with your Thesis Theme.   The best source, is the information available on the Download (or Purchase) Page of the Skin.

If it is not mentioned explicitly, contact the Author of the Theme for relevant information.  Make sure not to Buy or Install a Thesis Skin, unless the Compatibility is known.

As of this writing, the Stable version of Thesis Theme is 1.6 and your Skin must be able run with this!

Backup your Existing Thesis Theme Customization

If you are using Thesis Theme for sometime and planning to switch to a New Thesis Skin, it is highly recommended to backup your existing Thesis Theme Customization.

Thesis 1.7 has an in-built backup feature, but it is not yet production ready.  Till theb, you can use the Thesis Import/Export Plug-in for backing up your existing Customization.

Follow the instructions that come with the plug-in and here is how the sample Export screen looks like.

Thesis Export Plugin

Thesis Export Plugin

Make sure to “Download Current Layout” both for Thesis Options and Design Options. These will create 2 files – both with a .dat extension.  Keep them in a safe place – in case you require.

Installing the Thesis Skin

Now the showtime.  Keep the Installation document that came with your Thesis Skin handy and following it “step after step”.

If the Skin author gave your the “Importable” files with a .dat extension – then the above plug-in should do the job for you.  Follow the instructions carefully.

If the Installation must happen by copying the customization files using FTP Uploader: make sure to download your /wp-content/themes//custom folder to your Computer, before overwriting/copying the contents.

In any case – Installation Document supplied by the Author must be used as the Reference and should be followed as is

Something Screwed Up!

Most of the skins start running great at this point.  But if you find that the display of components and hence your Blog is screwed up – don’t panic.  There is a “possible” quick fix!

Go to: WP Admin => Thesis Options => Thesis Options and click on the ‘Big Ass Save Button’.  Do the same for WP Admin => Thesis Options => Design Options

If this doesn’t work out, use the Backup to restore your Thesis Blog and contact the Thesis Skin Author

This is pretty much all you have to do – for installing any Thesis Skin on your Blog.  Have any questions?  Drop in a comment and I will be glad to help.

A Quick Peek in to Thesis 1.7 Beta

Thesis 1.7 Beta was released last week, amidst enormous expectations and enthusiasm.  Being one among the crowd, I would say that I am not disappointed – both as a Thesis User and Thesis Developer.

Let’s take a quick look at what’s new in Thesis 1.7

Note: If you have a Thesis Developer License, you can download the Beta file here

Better and Improved Options Management

The first thing you’ll notice on installing Thesis 1.7, is the additional option panels in your WordPress Dashboard and also (better) re-grouping of few existing options.

The earlier Thesis Options and Design Options are re-christened and re-grouped as – Site Options, Design Options and Page Options. The third option is something new, that helps you better control the configurations related to Pages.

Thesis Setting Export/Import

Good news for Thesis Developers!  Now you don’t have to worry about exporting/importing Thesis Theme settings – across the Development and Live Sites.

The new addition of ‘Manage Options’ (in the above snapshot) helps you seamlessly export or import the Thesis Theme Settings of any site.  So good bye to the ‘Thesis Export/Import Plugin’! (ooff, one less plugin!)

Better SEO – Control Robots File from within Thesis

As promised, here is a welcome feature on the SEO front.  Now you can control the Robot meta tags for your – Pages and Posts from the Thesis Administration Panel.

Also added is the support to include Canonical URLs for your site.  These are very welcome features!

Now you can control the Home Page Meta and Title Tags, from within Thesis -> Page Options. Very Nice!

Never Upload a Javascript Library

This is really cool for the developers!  You’ll never need to manually upload and use a Javascript Library, for the customization needs.

All popular JS libraries including – jQuery, Prototype, Scriptaculous etc., – are included and can be activated from the Thesis Administration Panel.  So you’ll never need anything out of this list.

You have an option to select one or more of these libraries for the site!  But make sure of library compatibilities, when planning to use multiple ones.

Word of Caution

Thesis Theme 1.7 is still in Beta and the Thesis Community Members on Twitter (#thesiswp) are coming up with some problems already – in terms to compatibility to their existing skins and customizations. Hopefully, these will be resolved as the Beta is transformed into a “production ready release”

Make sure NOT to install Thesis 1.7 Beta yet on Live Sites!

If you still don’t have a copy of the Marvelous Thesis Theme, Grab it here now!

MagicMembers – A Premium WordPress Membership Plugin

Sometime back, I wrote a post on how to turn your WordPress Blog into a Membership Site using Free Plugins.  Though it is sufficient for beginners, a fully-featured WordPress Membership Site requires much more than that!

In this post, we will look a Premium and Highly Robust WordPress Membership Plugin – MagicMembers – and what it has to offer. [Read more...]