This article has been retired and will no longer be updated. Caveat emptor!

— Originally Published on November 10, 2004 —

WordPress Design Sandbox

When creating a website, it’s best not to make experimental changes to your code directly on your server for the whole world to see. What if you accidentally mess things up beyond all recognition and don’t remember exactly what you did? It’s a good idea to test developmental changes in a protected environment where you know they won’t effect anything that’s mission critical. Typically this is simple to do as you can just edit the files on your local machine before uploading them. Making a test bed for WordPress, however, is a bit more difficult due to the nature of dynamic page generation.

WordPress uses PHP to pull data from a database, and then subsequently creates the needed HTML based off of that data. Without the PHP, your page would merely render as junk. Thus, in order to see a design change made in your CSS, you’re usually forced to upload the file to your server so WordPress has access to its heart and soul. Not anymore…

The Sandbox

In an effort to make things easier on WordPress users wanting to customize the default installation, I’ve created a static version of the default WP template and have placed it in a zip file along with a clean copy of wp-layout.css and print.css. The template includes a sample entry that utilizes many common HTML elements so you can tell exactly what they would look like on your page.

In this developmental sandbox, you can make structural code changes, try out new CSS techniques, whatever you want…all without having to worry about messing up your live site. Once you get things the way you like them, simply update your real files accordingly, and you’re good to go!


  1. Download
  2. Create a new directory on your local machine in which you’d like to place the test files
  3. Unzip the three files into the newly created directory
  4. Design away

This article has been retired and will no longer be updated. Caveat emptor!