What To Do When Your WordPress Theme Has Been Retired

I am using a theme named Glen, currently, and I discovered by chance yesterday that Automattic (the company that owns WordPress.com has retired it.

As long as I don’t change away from the theme then I can continue with it and it will continue to work. If I change away from it, then I will not be able to change back.

By the way, Llooking at various WordPress.com sites, you may have noticed sites that are using themes that were retired years ago – Cutline, Kubrick, and others.

So, back to the question of how investigate other themes than Glen without being unable to go back to Glen if none suit.

I asked a Happiness Engineer why the Glen theme had been retired. Was it, I asked, because it was not an Full Site Editing (FSE), Block theme? No, he said – there are various reasons themes are retired.

He then suggested that I could start a new free WP.com site expressly for the purpose of testing out themes. Yes, I had thought of that and it is a good suggestion. In fact I have done it in the recent past, just using a free site to play around with themes. That said, I have also noticed that sometimes a lot of redundant pages get added to the site, by which I mean several distinct copies of a home page, that kind of thing.

If that happens to you, just trash the pages you don’t want or need. But watch out that you trash the correct ones.

The bottom line is that nothing lives unless it is moving, and that is the driver for searching for new themes.

On the other hand, I am not that crazy about the range of options for making interesting headers with FSE. More practises needed…

Watch this space.


  1. Interesting read.
    Thank you David Bennett .
    I wonder why they include the theme when they are sure that it can retire?
    I am terribly disappointed with this attitude.
    But then change is the rule.
    So let me move on….


    1. I hear you about themes being retired without a ‘by your leave’.

      Did you hear about the uncomfortable time when WordPress decided it was failing users. The thinking was that Wix, Squarespace and others were taking away bloggers who were disappointed. It was thought that they were disappointed because didn’t have the skills needed to adopt themes to their liking. The ‘solution’ was javascript – Gutenberg, Blocks, and full site editing. So we had the Customiser, and now the ‘Edit’

      Was it a wise move? I don’t think it achieved the primary declared objective of making things possible and simpler. My guess is that most people don’t find any pleasure in learning how to change headers and footers, etc. Rather, they want good looking themes that work ‘out of the box’ without having to think about them at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Couldn’t agree more David Bennett.
        The classic editor was simpler as compared to Gutenberg. and blocks etc.
        Maybe I belong to the old school of thought.
        Learning new things for the sake of learning to continue the journey is a pain in the A**
        Appreciate your thoughts.


        1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, comes to mind. Namaste, also 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I live in fear of retiring theme. Adapt or die is real, but simply have other things to do rather than reorganizing/rethinking/ selecting new theme. Hope your discovery and adapting goes well


    1. Change or die, as you say. Or maybe the new WordPress was just an itch that someone wanted to scratch.

      Liked by 1 person

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