I became a Thesis theme framework convert a couple of years ago for my self-hosted WordPress blogs. Although I moved this blog (my professional blog) over to WordPress.com last month, I still use Thesis on my food blog and my outdoors blog, and I own a developer’s license.
I have never experienced any problems with Thesis, until this past weekend when making some routine code changes. I was simply modifying my custom_functions.php and custom.css files to add new services to the social sharing icons on display on my food blog and outdoors blog posts. Piece of cake. I tinker with these files (always in an external editor, with the original files backed up) quite frequently. The changes worked like a charm on my outdoors blog, but when I refreshed my browser after making the same exact changes on my food blog, I got this big ugly “Upgrade Thesis” message — which I have never seen before — on my Thesis Site Options admin panel. It looks like a friendly one-click upgrade button, but it’s actually an error message.
When I checked my food blog, the menus had disappeared, my fonts had all changed, my multimedia box reverted to the default image, my features box had disappeared, the text-based content in my main column and sidebars seemed to have disappeared as well (I found out later that the text was there, but was being displayed in a white font color on a white background), and my home page no longer displayed my custom excerpts.
I panicked. Well, sort of panicked. Because I backup my database daily, and also do regular backups of all custom files. So, I knew my content was intact; it just wasn’t displaying correctly.
After Googling the above error message and searching through the DIYthemes support forums, I found quite a few people experiencing similar errors. The consensus seems to involve a conflict between the W3 Total Cache (W3TC) plugin and the most current version of Thesis — and a recommendation to disable Object Cache in the plugin settings. I opted to disable the entire cache plugin, and then reset my Thesis Design Options to the default settings (per the support forums’ advise). Some folks in the help forums had to also reset their Thesis Site Options to the default settings — I only had to do so for Design Options. And then I had the pleasure of manually configuring ALL of my Thesis Design Options setting again. Fortunately, the settings on my food blog are very similar (just different colors) to the Design Options I use on my outdoors blog, so I was able to somewhat quickly restore my food blog using the outdoors blog Design Options settings.
For now on, when I make changes to my Thesis “custom” files, upgrade my WordPress version, or upgrade my Thesis version, I will include two additional preventive steps to my routine pre-upgrade backup procedure (step #1 and step #5):
- Deactivate any cacheing plugins.
- Do a full backup of my WordPress database.
- Do an FTP backup of all uploaded image files.
- Do an FTP backup of my Thesis custom_functions.php and custom.css files.
- From Thesis Manage Options, download a backup of my Site Options and Design Options.
- Proceed with code changes or upgrades.
- Restore Thesis Design or Site Options if needed after the upgrade or code change is successful.
- Reactivate cacheing plugins (leaving Object Cache disabled if using W3TC).
Hopefully this precautionary warning and tip will help save even a few fellow Thesis bloggers a bit of frustration and panic.