What empowers a WordPress website? Well, we have many things to list. But, today, our focus will remain on the WordPress theme as the right theme can make the website look outstanding and bring the right kind of widgets to the right place. 

Themes may have a glitch/anomalies that can ruin the entire vibes of your otherwise functional WordPress website. So, you can’t use any random theme and try it out on your live website.

If this is what you have faced, then this post is a steal deal for you as we’re going to tell you about a secret method of testing WordPress themes without causing any harm to the live site. Everything related to ‘how to test different WordPress themes without messing with the live theme’ will be answered right here. 

Challenges with Testing a Theme on a Live WordPress Site

While testing a WordPress theme beforehand is what every expert recommends, the process is not simple. In fact, it’s filled with many challenges, such as: 

#1 – Ensuring that the user experience is not impacted 

No matter how impressive a theme sounds on paper, it can create creates troubles when used on your live website. It’s because some of its features may not be compatible with other website components.

This impacts the user experience, directly affecting navigation, page loading times, and overall site performance.

Test your sites without affecting the live site.

#2 – Keeping the downtime as less as possible 

Installing and activating a new theme is not something that you can finish off in a blink of an eye. It needs time, and if you’re trying out the new theme on a live site, you have to deal with downtime or errors. 

If the theme is incompatible with your existing plugins or has conflicts with other elements of your site, it may cause disruptions, rendering your website inaccessible or displaying errors to visitors.

#3 – Controlling data loss 

Imagine a scenario; you test the new theme on a live site, and it messed up with it and results in severe data loss. Does it sound crazy? Yes, it does. 

If the theme modifies or rearranges your site’s content or settings, it can lead to unintended consequences, such as loss of customizations, broken links, or data inconsistencies. 

#4 – Ensuring to retain SEO ranking of the live site 

When all these disruptions are happening, the SEO ranking of the live site is more likely to go down, and this is something no one will want. 

All these challenges might make one wonder ‘how to test different WordPress themes without messing with live themes’. Let’s explore this in the next section.  

Can I test WordPress themes without breaking anything?

It’s such a relief to find a new theme without causing zero harm to the live website or making it unavailable even for a fraction of a second. In this section, we’re going to explain the methods that you can use to test WordPress themes with the least possible hassles.

#1 – Use a WordPress Sandboxing tool 

The most tried and tested method for testing a WordPress theme without any downtime is using a sandboxing tool. Sandboxing is a process of creating a secured testing environment that is fully isolated, replicates a live website, and helps you test a wide range of tools with full efficacy. 

When you use a sandboxing tool, you have the facility of having a risk-free testing ecosystem for all your WordPress components. As the sandboxed website is a copy of the live website, you can test the viability of a theme in real-time. You can try multiple customizations without any fear. 

The biggest advantage of this method is that the user experience is not at all hampered. They continue to use the live website like before. 

Know more about a WordPress Sandbox here.

#2 – Test in a local development environment 

While using the staging tool is the best way to test a WordPress theme before installing it on a live site, you can try using a local development ecosystem as well. In this method, you will have a WordPress server operational on your computer and use it to test the website. 

There is no need to make any changes to the live site with this method. But, this method requires some technical knowledge for server set-up. Plus, it’s too time-consuming.

#3 – Check the preview of the theme 

Many of the themes provide a preview facility. You can use it to find out how it works in real-time. But, this method has very limited viability, and you can only learn about the features of a theme. It fails to help you learn how compatible that theme will be with existing website components. 

How to Test Different WordPress Themes Without Messing With Live Themes?

As mentioned above, the best way to test a WordPress theme on a live website is by using a sandboxing tool, and InstaWP is what we suggest to you. InstaWP provides an inventive tool that allows WordPress developers to create a staging site and sandboxing environment in no time. The tool is named InstaWP Connect.

There is no need to get involved in extensive designing and installation of the staging site. With its drag-and-drop staging site builder, you will have a fully-functional website ready to help you. Some of the laudable features of this tool are: 

  • Advanced Code Editor, DB editor, and Logs viewer 
  • Access to SFTP/SSH encryptions 
  • Saving the customization and templates 
  • Migration to the hosting provider of your choice 
  • Wide range of preset configurations to choose from 
  • Impressive Git integration to provide immediate support 
  • Shared templates that support team-based sandboxing 

With so many features, this tool is hard to ignore. 

Benefits of Testing WordPress Themes using InstaWP

Using a staging site to test WordPress themes and building it with InstaWP brings a lot to the table as:

  • It doesn’t force you to get into the mess of account hosting for the staging website. The tool takes care of hosting and other related tasks. 
  • It allows you to bring all your staging sites together to the platform with a single login. So, you can test the themes on all your WordPress websites from a single platform.  
  • InstaWP empowers you so much that you can keep a check on all the changes a theme is doing to the live site and track the impact of these changes in real-time. This way, you have a chance to decide whether the picked theme is workable or not. 
  • You can even fill demo content, e.g. pages, posts, products, authors, and tags, using the Faker functionality to understand the theme’s UI better.
  • It is so easy to use that you don’t have to be an expert or a tech whiz. Everything is pre-made and simple clicks are enough to have a functional staging site ready. 
  • InstaWP Connect plugin is the right tool to own when you need a simple and viable theme testing approach. Using the plugin, developers can easily have a fully-functional staging website ready to help you.


The right kind of WordPress theme can make or break a WordPress theme. This is why developers have to test a theme before implementing it on the live website directly. However, the process is extensive and can cause a serious performance issue on a live website if the theme is messed-up with the live website. 

Use our suggestion in this blog post to test your preferred themes before settling down on the best option. Say goodbye to all the development hassles in theme finalization and own a compatible theme with pride by using InstaWP.