Support » Themes and Templates » Themes that no longer get updated

  • I generally develop custom child themes for my clients – I’ve done about 50 of these. Usually it’s on a flat rate, and then I am hired back occasionally by the hour if further customizations are needed. Many themes get updated for a time (which is why I make them safe with child themes), and then eventually, the updates stop. This could be true for a free theme as well as a premium theme. With premium themes, what happens sometimes is you develop something as a child theme of Thesis, or Custom Community Pro, and then suddenly, they come out with Thesis 2 or Custom Community 2 and announce they will no longer update Thesis 1 or Custom Community 1. (And in those cases, 2.0 is a completely different animal and you can’t just switch the site over without redeveloping it). So, what happens? Can you just leave it that way forever, with no further theme updates? Continuing to update WordPress itself, but with no more theme updates?

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  • Anyone have any thoughts on this? With all the time people put in customizing child themes, I think this is a pertinent question – we can’t realistically expect a theme developer to update the theme in perpetuity, so what happens when they stop?

    I’m dealing with this issue right now. A few days ago, I took one of my sites offline, deciding it would be easier to just purchase a new theme and start over. The theme developer had abandoned his theme — nice one, too — and it finally just broke, unable to work properly with the new WP updates. I wish I had known about parent/child themes when I bought it, but that was a few years ago.

    I know time marches on, and, as you point out, one can’t expect a developer to update a theme in perpetuity, but I do think it would be fair for them to commit to a period of time up front, say two years, when the buyer can be assured of periodic updates — like a warranty.

    I’ve been shopping for a new theme and have never come across a developer who even mentioned the life expectancy of his/her theme. I wrote to one finalist and asked if his theme was “in the prime of its support life” and he responded honestly that he did not expect to be doing much updating to it in the future. So I’m still shopping.

    I’m looking for new-ish themes, with a parent/child structure, by developers with a good support track record, in the hope that I can get a couple years out of it before I have to start over.

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