How to Download Themes from WordPress.com

How to Download Themes from WordPress.com

Sometimes after you try out something on wordpress.com with a free blog, you want to take it to your own domain and have a bit of better customisation capabilities.

You think you can just get the free themes and install on your own wordpress site right?

NOT ALWAYS!

We had a free blog on wordpress.com with the free theme “The Columnist” by Ben Martineau. Very nice design, we liked it, and wanted to put on our own domain name to tweak a few things.

So naturally, we installed the wordpress on our hosting of our own domain name, went to “the columnist” website to download the package, and installed the theme.

But soon we find out some problem: the customised menu is not supported as the way it does on wordpress.com!

I guess for a free project, Mr. Martineau doesn’t owe us to make sure that both the downloadable package and free theme install on wordpress.com are updated. My guess was that the one we could download from thecolumnist.info was not updated.

Shot Mr. Martineau an email, it may or may not have a response. So we were thinking of alternatives:

  • Should we go into theme files and hand-coded for it to support customised menu? That seems to be a lot of work and could be quite messy in the process…
  • Should we pick another theme? well… if you have ever worked with a group for a design project, you know how hard it is to have people agree on things…

So after a while we decided to try to download the theme that works on wordpress.com in some ways. We were thinking that since the structure is similar, if we could get those files it may work on a self-hosted wordpress site.

In short, it worked!

Thanks for the Q&As on the forums, here is how you can do it:

  1. Go to https://wpcom-themes.svn.automattic.com/the-columnist/. You can switch “/the-columnist/” to other “/themename/”.
  2. Download the file one-by-one. If you run into sub-folders, you have to click into the folder and download the files in there one-by-one. Make sure you save the file in the exact sub-folder name.
  3. Compress all the file in to a .zip file, and name the zip file your theme name. For our case, we named it “the-columnist”. It doesn’t really matter for the name as long as you can recognise it.
  4. Install the .zip file in your self-hosted wordpress.

Done!

I know… download files one-by-one is silly and tedious, but if  it’s below 30 files, you probably don’t need to invest time on learning how to download them in a batch. Search for “svn client” if you really want to be smart about downloading this files:)

Does this works for you? Let us know by commenting below.

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