Thesis 1.8.3 Update Available – My Painless Install Method

Thesis-ThemeYesterday released their Thesis 1.8.3 Update. Although I was going to wait a few days to perform the install I broke down and updated. And I’m happy to say I guess I’m one of the lucky few who haven’t had any issues with the update (*crosses fingers*!) But it was fairly painless (for me anyways) so I’m posting my update process which will hopefully help a few people out when they decide to update.

If you don’t know what Thesis is? It is quite possibly the best premium theme / framework you will ever purchase for your WordPress blog. You get the flexibility and control you want with your blog as well as built in SEO which means it is Search Engine Friendly. I absolutely love Thesis – and this latest update made it even more awesome! To check it out I suggest clicking on the banner below to learn more about it.

But – before we go into all that – you should get the “why” you should update first!

So What Has Changed?

Um alot?  OK seriously the updates are listed below:

    • The ability to automatically combine all *.css style sheets into one. This means your site should be a little snappier when it loads. This option is turned OFF by default. To enable it you will need to go to Site Options -> Stylesheet Options and UNCHECK the box.


      • The Header and FavIcon image uploader now uses the new WordPress framework that allows you to “drag and drop” to upload images.

      thesis theme new upload screen

      • Thesis now supports WP Network or Multi-Site Support. Basically if you had Thesis on a WP Network (multiple sites)  in the past… it didn’t work very well. Now it will correctly detect and create a “custom” folder for each site making them completely independent of one another!  Thesis is the only custom framework/theme that can currently claim to do this.
      • Complete GravityForms CSS Support. It means if you have this Premium Plugin installed on your site it will detect it correctly and apply the necessary CSS stylings to match the rest of your site. Which is definitely a cool thing (Now if they would do it for a few other freebie ones used by the rest of us broke people!)
      • And a few other tweaks and bugs were addressed:
      • Thesis admin scripts are now suppressed on all non-Thesis admin pages.
      • An upgraded widget code for tighter integration with WordPress, and while they were at it, the diythemes dev team (erm… person?) added new display options to the Thesis search widget.
      • Thanks to feedback from developers, they were able to resolve everything that triggered warnings when using WP_DEBUG.

      Why Is it Only 1.8.3 and Where Is 2.0?

      After reading about all the tweaks and updates they did – this technically should be version 1.9. But developers are weird about stuff like this so I don’t question them on version names.

      And they have a huge post about 2.0, the process, what it is going to deliver (gold I say gold!) and an estimated release date.

      So How Did I Upgrade?

      This is the method that worked for me and my site. Mind you I have a VERY simple site – so your results might vary.

      First you need to purchase and download the latest releast from 😉

      If your are performing a new install – don’t follow my directions – go to their site and follow the instructions for a  new install!

      If you are performing an update? Keep Reading.

      BACKUP YOUR WEBSITE AND DATABASE BEFORE UPDATING! Sorry for yelling – but if you need to rollback I would highly suggesting knowing how to backup and restore your stuff before installing the update. It will change the database enough to make it impossible to rollback.

      And if you haven’t read my other article on creating a Sandbox / Test Bed to try this first before rolling out into production – I highly highly highly suggest doing that before installing this update.

      Quick and Dirty

      This is for those ‘experts’ out there who just want the information instead of a ste-by-step. If you’re not comfortable with these steps I get a little more wordy below it so skip by this.

          • Download
          • Unzip to your Desktop
          • Rename the custom_thesis folder to just custom inside of thesis_183
          • Get a backup of your custom folder from thesis_182
          • Copy your Cache, custom.css, and custom_functions.php into the thesis_183/custom folder
          • Upload thesis_183 to your wp_content/themes directory
          • Go to your WordPress Admin -> Appearance -> Themes Menu and Activate thesis_183
          • Go into the Thesis setting in your WordPress Dashboard
          • (If Needed) Click on the Big Ass Update Button (it’s something like that – it really is big) to update.
          • Go into each of the Thesis Menu’s and Click on the Big Ass Save Button
          • Visit your site to verify it is working.
          • Done

          The Step-by-Step

          So you have your Great!

              • Unzip  to your Desktop
              • Go to your WebHost and FTP/Copy your Custom Folder from /wp_content/themes/thesis_182/  to your Desktop as well (not into the thesis_183 folder!)
              • So now you have both folders – now what?
              • Open both folders so you have them side by side on your desktop.
              • Inside the thesis_183 folder – rename the current folder called ‘custom-sample’ to just ‘custom’.
              • Open that renamed custom folder from within the thesis_183 folder.
              • Great – now you should be staring at TWO Custom Folders – Don’t lose track here or you will need to start over!
              • Now from the Custom Folder you copied from your old Thesis install – Copy the Cache folder, custom.css, and custom_functions.php.
              • Paste the cache folder, custom.css, and custom_functions.php  into the custom folder under the Thesis_183/custom directory  and overwrite the existing files. DO NOT copy over the existing layout.css file.
              • Ok, Almost Done!
              • Now FTP up to your host to the wp_content/themes/  directory (do not ftp the files into your thesis_182 folder.
              • Using your FTP Program (like Filezilla) go into the custom folder under /wp_content/themes/thesis_183 folder and change the permission to the layout.css to 655. (For most FTP Programs you would right click on the file and click on File Permissions or Set Permissions)
              • After you have uploaded the thesis_183 folder and set the permissions to your host you will need to go to your WordPress Admin page.
              • I would suggest deactivating any type of Cache Plugin you have installed.
              • Go to your Appearance -> Themes
              • Select the thesis_183 Theme and Activate it!
              • Go into the Thesis Menu inside of WordPress – and click the BIG UPDATE NOW button.
              • At this point it is going to look like a train wreck hit your site – don’t stress!
              • Go through each Thesis menu  and hit the Big As Save Button (sorry I like saying it). It should have auto populated all of your previous settings and if you had updated your custom.css and custom_functions.php it will read those as well.
              • Afterwards then visit your site. It ‘should’ look exactly like it did before.

              At this point you should be able to turn back on any cache plugins (i.e. WP Super Cache) and life should be good. BUT – if it isn’t unfortunately you only have a few options left to you:

                  • Comment Below and I’ll see what I can do to help
                  • Go back to the website and post an issue in their forums
                  • Rollback using the aforementioned backup of the database you performed before attempting this.

                  Note: You cannot backup and install your Thesis backup settings as they have changed significantly enough that even if you do you Thesis will just take you back to the Big Update Button.

                  Oh, and if you don’t have the thesis them yet? You need to click on the banner below to find out how to purchase it today!

                  Leave a comment below if you have any questions, concerns, complaints etc.. about the update process.

                  About Jason Mathes

                  Geek, Gamer, Blogger. I share my passion for gaming, technology, and WordPress. You will find reviews, tutorials, and more inside!If you have any questions or want to discuss the article? Find me on one of the Social Media buttons below. Or use the Contact Page up top!


                  1. Tim Casey says

                    Hey AVGJoegeek, this is all pretty much a different language to me, but as a blogger sounds fascinating, I blog on Blogger and hear about WordPress all the time. So my question is would it make sense to switch to WordPress from Blogger? You make this all sound way more friendly than Blogger and I do struggle with Blogger. Is switching easy or worth it in your opinion?

                    • says

                      WordPress is a VERY robust system – but the learning curve can get frustrating. I would do a little bit of research before making the leap to WordPress. There are two ways to go with WordPress – either a free blog on or you can get a host and install and run WordPress on it.

                      But… the benefit of using a hosted WordPress install is you can design it just about any way you want to! I would do the research – and if you have the dough – have someone design you a custom site. Look for WordPress themes and maybe check out to just look at how it all runs. For me WordPress just makes sense :)

                  2. Ileane says

                    I haven’t updated my Thesis install yet, but I’m glad you tested the waters for us ahead of time. Still it seems like an awful lot of steps just to update a theme. I’m not so sure I want to take it on this weekend. Maybe next weekend I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the instructions!

                    • says

                      It does seem like quite a lot of steps if you do the step-by-step update. BUT – the additional features you get with the update are awesome!

                      Also – even though the version is technically 1.8.3 – it really is 1.9 as they have re-done the entire backend framework for the big update 2.0. I’m sure if you wish to eventually update to 2.0 (whenever he releases it that is!) you will have to update to this version first.

                      It does have it’s quirks but over all it is worth it to perform the update! Thanks for visiting my blog!

                  3. david says

                    recently installed thesis, it seems pretty cool so far. thesis + commentluv – I noticed you have them too.

                    Also, I wanted to comment on your thumbnail problem. If you ran the TomThumb scanner you may have had it ‘fix’ the thesis version. However, the thesis version is custom coded and does not need to be ‘fixed’. but doing so will break your thumbnails. Just wanted to let you know in case you were not aware.

                    • says

                      Thanks for the tip! But – it is definitely a host issue..have to update the OS to get GD Library to compile correctly with PHP – it’s a pain and hopefully will be fixed soon.

                      • david says

                        Yes, it is amazing how technology can put a big fat road block right in the way of the direction we are trying to go. I’ve had my share of issues similar to this. I rue every wasted moment, just like you probably do too! hang in there.

                  4. Jack says

                    Things get even better and better. :)

                    Thanks for the tutorial and I’m happy to see how active your blog in helping others.
                    Nice pr too :)

                    • says

                      Thanks! I’ve been pushing pretty hard to not only get content.. but get my name out there! Whomever says blogging is easy is lying! But it has been a fruitful journey so far!

                  5. Mohsin Ali says

                    Currently i am using free theme on my blog but planning to buy thesis theme. Its just looks awesome and professional.

                    • says

                      I love and use Thesis – it is a great option if you want total control over your blog. But the catch is that it takes some learning to make it do what you want it to!

                  6. Harsh Agrawal says

                    Thanks for the tutorial…I have been wondering is it worth waiting for 2.0 or better to move to Genesis or Swift? Been considering other framework from long…and 1.8.3 update disappointed me to a great extent…

                  7. says

                    I’ve heard great things with both frameworks – and there are others being developed. My personal choice is going to stick it out with Thesis for a bit longer. Although it’s pretty quirky at times – over all it’s been a great theme for me. I was able to customize my site the way I wanted to (through a lot of blood sweat and tears) and I now understand the ins-and-out of it. I’d hate to have to learn yet another framework and try and transfer the site over to it.