The Theme File Editor in WordPress lets users modify the code of their chosen theme right from the dashboard. With a little coding knowledge, you gain complete control over how your website looks and functions.
Usually, you can access the theme editor by going to Appearance > Theme File Editor. However, there might be times when this option isn't there for various reasons. If you can't find the WordPress theme editor in the Appearance menu, start by ensuring your selected theme is active. Then, check your security plugin settings and make updates to the 'wp.config.php' file directly. Lastly, deactivate all plugins and reactivate them one by one to identify the cause of the issue.
Solving "WP Theme Editor Missing" Issue
Enable the Theme
One of the frequent issues faced by WordPress beginners is when their chosen theme isn't fully activated.When you've picked out the theme you want (Mike and I personally prefer and highly recommend the GeneratePress theme, just hitting the "Install" button won't do the trick. You also need to click on "Activate" to make sure the theme is fully active on your live website.
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The theme editor option remains disabled and won't be accessible until you've completed the theme activation process. It's a straightforward fix. After activation, return to the Appearance submenu, and you should now see 'Theme File Editor' as an option.
This solution is especially helpful for beginners who are just starting their journey in website building.
Security Plugin Settings
Experienced website owners encountering this issue often find that their security plugin is the cause.
Interestingly, many popular security plugins like SiteGround Security and iThemes Security offer specific settings to disable the theme editor. This can be quite valuable for site owners who grant multiple users access to their WordPress account, as it ensures unauthorised users can't access the editor, reducing the risk of potential coding errors.
To confirm if your security plugin is causing the problem, you'll need to review your settings. Keep in mind that the steps may vary depending on the specific plugin you're using.
If you're using the SiteGround Security plugin, go to SG Security > Site Security, and turn off the toggle button next to "Disable Themes & Plugin Editor." Once done, click "Save" and refresh the page.
If you're using the iThemes Security plugin, follow these steps within your WordPress dashboard:
- Go to Security > Settings > Advanced.
- Click on the WordPress Tweaks tab.
- Find the box next to "Disable File Editor" and uncheck it.
- Save your changes and refresh the page afterward!
Not using either of these security plugins? Don't rush past this step! If you have a different security plugin active, make sure to carefully review all its settings to completely eliminate this as a possible cause.
If the problem continues, you can explore another solution by updating your 'wp.config.php' file directly.
To access this file, you can either log into your cPanel or install the WP File Manager plugin. I personally recommend going with the plugin option because some people might find accessing their cPanel a bit challenging. Plus, using the plugin is a bit less daunting.
No matter which method you choose, simply right-click on the wp.config.php folder and select the Code Editor.
Next, in the Code Editor field, you'll need to locate this line: "
define('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true)". Once you find it, simply change the word "true" to "false," and then click on "Save & Close."
After refreshing the page, the theme editor will be enabled and accessible.
Deactivate and Reactivate All Plugins
If, unfortunately, none of the previous steps resolve the issue, there's a high chance that you have a problematic plugin that doesn't work well with your theme.
To determine if this is the case, manually deactivate all your plugins and reload the WordPress dashboard. If the Theme File Editor reappears, start reactivating your plugins one by one.
After each plugin activation, return to the Appearance section and check if the theme editor option is still visible. If it is, you can proceed. If it's not, the last plugin you activated is causing the problem.
If your WordPress theme editor has mysteriously disappeared, you can take a few simple steps to resolve the issue. First, ensure that your chosen theme is fully activated. Then, consider tweaking your security plugin settings, as they might be causing the problem. Additionally, check and possibly modify the 'disallow file edit' code in the 'wp.config.php' file. Lastly, deactivate and reactivate your plugins one by one to identify any conflicts. We're eager to hear about your experience, so please share your results in the comments section below. Your feedback is valuable, and we're here to assist you in any way we can. Happy editing!