Missing WordPress Theme Editor? Find Solutions

July 9, 2023
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WordPress is a powerful and flexible platform that allows you to create stunning websites with ease. However, sometimes you may encounter some issues that prevent you from customizing your site the way you want. One of these issues is the missing WordPress theme editor.

The WordPress theme editor is a handy tool that lets you edit the code of your theme files directly from your WordPress dashboard. You can access it by going to Appearance > Theme Editor. However, sometimes this option may not be visible or you may get an error message saying that you do not have sufficient permissions to access this page.

This can be frustrating, especially if you want to make some quick changes to your theme without using FTP or cPanel. Fortunately, there are some solutions that can help you fix this problem and restore the WordPress theme editor. In this article, we will show you how to do that and also provide you with some alternative ways to edit your theme files.

Why is the WordPress Theme Editor Missing?

There are several possible reasons why the WordPress theme editor is missing from your dashboard. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Your theme is not fully activated. Sometimes, you may have installed a new theme but not activated it properly. This can cause some features of the theme, including the theme editor, to be unavailable. To fix this, make sure that you have activated your theme correctly by going to Appearance > Themes and clicking on the Activate button for your desired theme.
  • Your security plugin settings are blocking the theme editor. Some security plugins, such as iThemes Security, have the option to disable the theme editor for security reasons. This is because the theme editor can be used by hackers or malicious users to inject malicious code into your site. To fix this, you need to adjust your security plugin settings and allow the theme editor. For example, if you are using iThemes Security, you can go to Dashboard > Security > WordPress Tweaks > Configure Settings and uncheck the Disable File Editor option.
  • Your wp-config.php file has a code that disables the theme editor. The wp-config.php file is a core WordPress file that contains important settings for your site. Sometimes, this file may have a code that defines a constant called DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT and sets it to true. This constant disables the theme editor and prevents you from accessing it. To fix this, you need to edit your wp-config.php file and change the value of this constant to false. You can do this by using FTP or cPanel, or by using a plugin like WP File Manager. Once you locate your wp-config.php file, look for a line that says define( 'DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true ); and change it to define( 'DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', false );.
  • You have incompatible plugins that are causing conflicts. Sometimes, the WordPress theme editor may not work properly because of some plugins that are incompatible with each other or with your theme. This can cause errors or glitches that prevent the theme editor from loading or functioning correctly. To fix this, you need to deactivate all your plugins and reactivate them one by one until you find the culprit. You can do this by going to Plugins > Installed Plugins and clicking on the Deactivate button for each plugin. Then, check if the theme editor is working again. If it is, then activate one plugin at a time and check again until you find the one that is causing the issue. Then, either delete that plugin or look for an alternative one.

How to Edit Your Theme Files Without Using the WordPress Theme Editor?

If none of the above solutions work for you or if you prefer not to use the WordPress theme editor for some reason, there are other ways to edit your theme files without using it. Some of these ways are:

  • Use FTP or cPanel. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and cPanel are tools that allow you to access and manage your website files from your computer or web browser. You can use them to download, upload, edit, delete, or rename any file on your site, including your theme files. To use FTP, you need an FTP client like FileZilla or Cyberduck and your FTP credentials (host, username, password, and port). To use cPanel, you need to log in to your web hosting account and look for the File Manager option. Once you access your site files using either of these tools, you can locate your theme folder under wp-content/themes and edit any file using a code editor like Notepad++ or Sublime Text.
  • Use a third-party theme editor plugin. There are some plugins that allow you to edit your theme files from your WordPress dashboard without using the default theme editor. These plugins usually have more features and options than the default one, such as syntax highlighting, code completion, backup, and restore. Some of the popular theme editor plugins are WP File Manager, WP Editor, and Advanced Code Editor. You can install and activate any of these plugins from the WordPress plugin repository and use them to edit your theme files.
  • Use a child theme. A child theme is a special type of theme that inherits the functionality and style of another theme, called the parent theme. You can use a child theme to make changes to your parent theme without affecting its original code. This way, you can customize your site without losing your changes when you update your parent theme. To create a child theme, you need to create a new folder under wp-content/themes and name it as your parent theme name followed by -child. For example, if your parent theme is called twentytwentyone, your child theme folder should be called twentytwentyone-child. Then, you need to create a file called style.css inside this folder and add the following code at the top:
Theme Name: Twenty Twenty-One Child
Theme URI: https://example.com/twenty-twenty-one-child/
Description: A child theme of Twenty Twenty-One
Author: Your name
Author URI: https://example.com
Template: twentytwentyone
Version: 1.0.0
License: GNU General Public License v2 or later
License URI: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html
Text Domain: twenty-twenty-one-child

/* Add your custom CSS code below this line */

You need to replace the values of Theme Name, Theme URI, Description, Author, Author URI, Template, Version, License, License URI, and Text Domain with your own information. The most important thing is to match the Template value with the name of your parent theme folder.

Then, you need to create another file called functions.php inside the same folder and add the following code:


// Enqueue parent theme style
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_parent_theme_style' );
function enqueue_parent_theme_style() {
    wp_enqueue_style( 'parent-style', get_template_directory_uri() . '/style.css' );

// Add your custom PHP code below this line

This code will load the style.css file of your parent theme and allow you to override it with your own style.css file.

Finally, you need to activate your child theme by going to Appearance > Themes and clicking on the Activate button for your child theme.

Now, you can edit any file of your child theme using any of the methods mentioned above. You can also create new files in your child theme folder and copy the code from your parent theme files that you want to modify. For example, if you want to change the header.php file of your parent theme, you can create a new file called header.php in your child theme folder and copy the code from wp-content/themes/twentytwentyone/header.php and make your changes.


The WordPress theme editor is a useful tool that allows you to edit the code of your theme files directly from your WordPress dashboard. However, sometimes it may not be available or accessible due to various reasons. In this article, we showed you how to fix the missing WordPress theme editor issue and also how to edit your theme files without using it.

We hope this article helped you find solutions for the missing WordPress theme editor problem and download it now. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below.


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