Thesis Theme has a large number of affiliates promoting it, so you’ll see a lot of positive blog posts touting how great it is, but they don’t tell you what Thesis really is, or that some people have a bad experience. I include myself in the latter category.
I tried Thesis because it said I wouldn’t have to write any code. I am a programmer, but sometimes to save time I look for a pre-built solution. Thesis Theme sounded like what I needed, a WordPress Theme, but it wasn’t.
Thesis is not a WordPress theme at all, it is a framework. WordPress itself is like a framework, and under that framework runs themes. Thesis is more like a framework that runs under the WordPress framework, and themes that run under Thesis are called "child themes."
After purchasing the developer version of Thesis for $164, I discovered it had no themes to choose from at all, so I had to search for a child theme designed specifically for Thesis, since normal WordPress themes won’t work, or I had to build it myself. Therein lay the deceptive message of Thesis, "no coding," was not true, it was misleading.
Thesis offers hooks which allow for php code to be written to manipulate where you want items to appear on the page, and which pages for them to appear on. WordPress already has this feature built-in, except Thesis limits your ability to copy and paste code directly into the theme, and instead requires you to use hooks that require php code. If you’re not a php programmer Thesis is not the solution for you.
What you get with Thesis are limitations, a lot of code writing by you, and the additional cost of a child theme, because Thesis Theme is not a theme it is a framework, although it not advertised as a framework.
I was using a memcached dropin plugin for WordPress that stores WordPress objects and database transactions, and Batcache, which were both written and are both used by WordPress to keep them fast and scalable. The first thing that happened when I tried to save my settings in Thesis was it erased them all, and presented me with an upgrade button. There is no mention that it doesn’t work with the software I mentioned earlier in this paragraph, and the only solution was to disable that software. This meant my blog could not scale to keep my hardware costs down, which was unacceptable. I had to choose between Thesis or being able to handle a lot of traffic with less hardware.
The only useful feature Thesis offers is Search Engine Optimization, which is simple to obtain for anyone with a WordPress blog without Thesis by simply installing either All in One SEO Pack or WordPress SEO by Yoast, the better of the two is WordPress SEO, and this is far better than the SEO you get in Thesis.
Thesis doesn’t offer much of anything to make things easier. WooThemes is another framework like Thesis that doesn’t offer much more than to lock you into using their child themes. There are a handful of other WordPress frameworks that I won’t mention here, but they all work the same way, not offering anything of any real value, but all lock you into using their child themes.
WordPress is all you need. If you require a theme there are free themes, and purchasing a theme will be your only cost without adding the cost of a WordPress framework like Thesis to your list of expenses.
There are a lot of people who like frameworks like Thesis, so don’t be afraid to give them a try, just be sure they offer a money back guarantee, which WooThemes does not.
Long story short, I got a refund from Thesis since they offered a 30 day money back guarantee, but it wasn’t easy because they don’t tell you where to get the refund, or how.
Instructions for Requesting a Refund from DIY Themes
To request a refund, send an email to email@example.com, with the subject “Refund Request”. Please include the following information with your request:
The email address associated with your PayPal account
The date of purchase
Your DIYthemes member name
If you follow those directions DIY Themes, aka Thesis Theme, will promptly refund your money.