Theme Disasters


You should have a backup. WordPress recommends having a default theme as well. If you have a default theme like twenty-twenty it will automatically activate if your current custom theme just disappeared. Let’s do some testing.

Theme Test One

I currently have 2 custom themes. What do you think will happen if I hide/delete/make vanish my currently active theme? Well…let’s do it and find out! 🙂

It was at this point, I realized, if I’m already connected, why not just use FTP…

So, the first question, who thinks I will lose my ability to update this post if I hide my theme?

Well, It’s gone, Imma hit the update button now!

There was no issue whatsoever updating this post. Good to know. What If I preview the post?

Oh…Same as the homepage.

Those are my colors though I believe, so it’s still loading the CSS from the customizer as well. Let’s turn off the Cloudflare and WP Rocket cache and see if anything changes. Done, no changes. What if I’m logged out?

There’s no message here anymore, so the template found is just for admins. This is a dumb picture because it’s of the background of my webpage, so it’s going to blend in… I may add borders to all images just for this reason

Okay, my questions are being answered, my curiosity satisfied. I’m going to check the source code of each of these and see if there’s anything unexpected. Viewing the source here, there are no calls to the theme whatsoever. I did a search for ‘themes/’ because normally it would try and pull something from there, but it doesn’t even try, it’s not 404’s.

No instance of the word theme found

I said earlier that my customizer seemed to be working based on the colors when I was logged in. Well, logged out, I verified.

Those are my styles for in the customizer for sure, no one does such a strange convention

Well This Is Weird

Time to check the Appearance and theme and see what is showing. Remember, I have two custom themes, and you can see that in the terminal image.

WTF Now there’s three?!

How can explain that? Well, I’m not going to dive into code, I’m just going to make some assumptions. WordPress has found my Ganstapenguin2021.old, the theme I renamed to hide, and is treating it as a new theme in a different location that just happens to have the same name as the theme that has ‘disappeared’.

This is the active one, as you can see, it’s nothing, but it does think it’s currently active.
This is the new one that showed up. Oh look it has my description, this fits with my narrative that WordPress sees it and treats it as a new theme, so if I actually deleted it instead of hid it with a rename, this would be gone.

Another question…what do you think will happen if I activate that newly found theme? My thoughts are that I’ll get any file customizations back, so posts templates if I actually made a style sheet the style sheet, etc. I will however lose my customizer settings because it’s going to think it’s a new theme. Well, let’s find out.

As a none logged in user…most of my styles are still there! That’s surprising AF. Let’s clear WP rockets cache now though.

I was right and wrong, the customizer CSS is gone. That was what was expected and that is true. I did however forget that I put some basic rules in my style sheet, and haven’t only used the customizer. So how can I prove the screen shot earlier was CSS from the customizer?

Another screenshot shows the source of the CSS being style.css with 156 rules, instead of the 56 rules in the only screenshot.

So, if I name my theme back, and then change it to the activate theme…everything should actually be fine.

Well first it’s just a white screen because the last theme I activated just moved again, and I also lost my customizer settings. This is before I activated the theme under its original name again. Ganstapenguin20201.old is still active.

Time to change that, I’m going to activate my theme under its original name and everything should be fixed.

Step by step so you can see, the nonexistent ganstapenguin2021.old is the active theme after these changes (because I made it the activate theme previously, nothing automatically happened here).
Activated the theme with the correct name, and magically the theme that activated that no longer exists disappears because it’s not active so there’s no reference to it anymore.
Sites back to normal, and, I got my customizer CSS back, nothing was actually lost

Test Two

This test is going to be a lot quicker because we now know the basics, the only question is does having a default theme change this behavior in any way. The answer is yes, but I will prove it later. This was already a lot of work and this post isn’t formatted well. I need to add alt text to all these images and shit, I didn’t even upload them correctly. I don’t have a VA and I have a full-time job, give me a break.



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