Almost every commercial theme out there offers predefined templates. Many users purchase a theme mainly looking at the beautiful demo templates. However, you may face different types of problems when importing demo on your live WordPress installation. In this article, we will explain various demo import problems in WordPress along with possible fixes.
Types of Demo Imports in WordPress
Unfortunately, commercial WordPress themes offer varieties of ways to upload demo content. Here are some of the options that popular themes offer:
- Demo import along with bundled plugins. You can install the plugins and import demo content from admin panel. Popular themes like Newspaper follows this approach that needs you to install required plugins before start using the theme.
- Importing from Site Library or Starter Templates along with demo content. Though this looks similar to the above method, here the required plugins will change based on the demo site you want to import. GeneratePress, Astra and many other popular themes use this method. You will see the list of plugins required for importing the demo and the plugins will be installed automatically along with the demo. You will also have an option to ignore the plugins and only use demo site’s settings.
- XML file for importing demo content and text file for importing settings. For example, Highend the most popular theme in MOJO marketplace offers demo data with theme purchase as XML and text files.
- ZIP archive contains demo content as a child theme.
- Using One-click Demo Import plugin to upload demo content to your site. many themes you purchase from themeforest marketplace follows this approach. You need to first install demo importer plugin in order to import demo content.
Note that as far as we have checked, Envato marketplace (parent company of themeforest) has a policy of not supplying images shown in the demo content. Therefore, authors generally use placeholder images in the downloaded files. Alternatively, you may need to download content directly from developer’s site as with Newspaper theme.
Demo Import Problems in WordPress
The problem you face with demo import in WordPress highly depends on the way you upload demo content. If one option is not working for you, it is possible to try with other option to import the content.
1. Check Required Plugins for Demo Content
First thing you need to check before purchasing a commercial theme is the number bundled plugins needed for using the theme. In some cases, like Newspaper theme, the demo sites will show only after you install the required plugins. However, many themes will not show any warnings and allow you to import demo content. Your import will fail saying due to missing plugins. This is the case for the themes built based on page builder plugins.
Therefore, make sure to install and activate the required plugins before you try to import demo content.
2. Try XML Import
If normal importing of demo content fails due to hosting restriction, you can try alternate option to upload XML files. However, you need to ask your developer to provide the XML import files.
- Login to your admin panel and navigate to “Tools > Import” section.
- Go to last option that shows “WordPress” and click on “Install Now” link.
- This will install WordPress Importer plugin on your site and click on “Run Importer” link.
- Click on the “Choose File” button and select the XML demo content file for your theme. Note that sometime the file can be in xml.gz or xml.zip format.
- After selecting the import file, click on “Upload file and import” button”.
- On the next screen, assign an author to import demo posts and select the checkbox “Download and import file attachments”.
- Click “Submit” button to start the demo import.
- It may take some time depending upon the demo content size. After finishing the import, you should see a success message “All done have Fun!”.
3. Import Only Demo Settings without Content
Whether you import content from developer’s site or use XML file, importing all attachments and media files needs lot of time. This could easily lead to time out error and your import will fail.
- When importing the content, check whether you have an option to only import theme options or settings. Some commercial themes also supply theme options as a text file that you can import from the theme’s settings panel.
- If you are using XML file import, try unchecking “Download and import file attachments” option to only download the content without attachments.
- Since, demo import will create menu and import settings, try deleting all your existing menus and retry the demo import to check if that works.
4. Change Hosting Parameters
PHP errors are one of the major demo import problems in WordPress many users encounter. Many themes need long PHP run time to import demo content. However, hosting companies may terminate the PHP scripts when running beyond the acceptable time thus terminating your demo import in-between. Similarly, you may see other problems when running out of memory or exceeding upload file size. In these cases, you should see a relevant PHP warning or error message. This type of problem happens especially when you are using cheap shared hosting companies for your website.
When you see PHP errors, we recommend you to first check with the theme developer on the requirements for importing demo content. Below is an example of requirements for Newspaper theme.
After getting these details, confirm with your hosting company whether they support these requirements. In fact, you should do this at first before purchasing a theme. If your hosting company allows to change the parameters, you can add the following parameters in your php.ini file:
max_execution_time = 300 max_input_vars = 3000 memory_limit = 256M post_max_size = 32M upload_max_filesize = 32M
Most of the shared hosting company may not allow you to access php.ini file. In such a case, you can use .htaccess directives to change the parameters.
php_value max_execution_time 300 php_value max_input_vars 3000 php_value memory_limit 256M php_value post_max_size 32M php_value upload_max_filesize 32M
If you see a memory exhausted problem, you can increase the memory size in wp-config.php file by adding the below line:
These are some of the common parameters that affects the demo content import. Make sure to understand the error and only add the required parameters. Also, adjust the values as per your need and within the allowed limit for your hosting plan. Similarly, most WordPress themes will work only with the latest PHP version. You may need to switch the PHP version in order to use the theme. Here, you have to test the site thoroughly to make sure all plugins work without problem.
5. Get Support from Hosting and Theme Developer
If none of the above fixes resolve your problem, the only option left is to contact your theme developer. Get the complete requirement details for installing demo content and updating theme panel settings. In most cases, you may need to get help from your hosting company to adjust the parameters if you are not allowed to do as explained above.
In addition, when downloading demo content from developer’s site, you need to have “allow_url_fopen” enabled on your server. This will allow your server to get the demo files from third-party sites like your developer’s site. You can enable this parameter using php.ini file or using PHP manager app from hosting panel. However, you to confirm whether your hosting company will support especially on shared server.
We strongly recommend you checking the installation and demo import requirements from the theme developer before you purchase. It helps you to understand whether your hosting company supports the theme and get help on PHP related issues. Other demo import problems in WordPress are easy to fix with XML import or by only importing settings. It is also a good idea to only use the settings instead of importing everything, as you have to anyway delete the dummy content later.