Today we’re announcing a comprehensive update to our WordPress theme requirements for CodeCanyon, ThemeForest, Envato Hosted and Envato Elements.
Over the course of the last few years, the WordPress landscape at Envato has changed. With the introduction of new platforms like Envato Hosted and Envato Elements, along with changes to best practices for WordPress and development generally around the world, our team of WordPress reviewers and specialists have been working at a significant update to our WordPress requirements.
With the introduction of these new ways for authors to earn we approached our requirements for WordPress with a view to harmonize our requirements. In practical terms, this means creating one set of requirements that all platforms across Envato’s ecosystem can use.
The new requirements are available now through the Author Help Center. We have outlined the major changes below, but strongly recommend all authors take the time to carefully read and understand the detail.
Previously we haven’t had firm rules around ‘keygates’ that block access to functionality until a purchase has been verified. This leads to an inconsistent experience for customers, so we’ve now added a requirements section covering this.
With the new rules, only the following features can be put behind a keygate:
- Importing demo content
- Installing bundled plugins
Importantly, if purchase verification is implemented, users must be able to unlock the item using the Purchase Code. An Envato Market API token may be used as well, but the Purchase Code must unlock the item. This is essential for automation we use for review and granting customers access to items available on other Envato products.
There are also new requirements around notifications / messages and storing the Purchase Code in the options table.
TGM PA must be used for included plugins
If you include plugins with your theme, you must use a TGM Plugin Activation based solution to allow users to install the plugin.
This means you can no longer use your own plugin management mechanism (unless it’s based on TGM PA). It also means that if you do not currently provide a plugin management solution at all, you now need to provide one.
There are now rules about transmitting data to a third-party server, including your server. The user must now be informed of what will be transmitted and they must opt-in to it.
There are now requirements around supporting Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor. You need to meet these requirements, even though Gutenberg is still in plugin form and not yet merged into core. This will position your theme well to work with the WordPress of the future. Although Gutenberg is still changing, our requirements for themes are unlikely to be affected.
Envato version of Theme Check plugin
We have released an Envato version of the Theme Check plugin, which should be used instead of the original. Please run this on your theme before uploading it. All of our reviewers will use this version and it has been modified to better reflect our latest requirements.
Any results marked as Required must be resolved, as the theme will be rejected for these. Results marked as Warning, Info and Recommended may still result in rejection, but will be considered by a reviewer.
Offloading Plugins to your server
You are now allowed to offload plugins to your server in order to reduce the size of the installable WordPress format zip file. You must still include the plugins elsewhere in the main zip file.
Timeline for implementing the new requirements
All themes, regardless of when they were first approved on ThemeForest, will need to be compliant with the new requirements.
For new items, we will start applying the requirements from next week. In other words, a week from today, all newly submitted items will be reviewed using these new requirements.
Authors with existing items will have twelve months to be fully compliant with the new requirements but we are hoping to see many authors get ahead and update as soon as possible.
Process for checking compliance of existing items
We’re currently exploring ways to increase the visibility of authors whose items are compliant. This includes changes to our search algorithm to give preferential treatment to those authors who meet the new requirements.
To take advantage of these new benefits, when all of your items are up-to-date, we will soon be introducing a way for you to nominate yourself and your items for review against the new requirements.
We will then review a cross section of your items and if all of them meet the new requirements, you will be eligible to receive our compliance benefits. If we find a small number of issues, we’ll let you know and ask you to fix them so you can become eligible.
If we find too many issues, we’ll ask you to go through all your items and make sure they meet the requirements. A second request for review can be done using the same form but there is a three month delay before the second review will be carried out.
We’ll do our best to review authors and items as quickly as we can but there may be some delays as demand for review grows.
There’s a lot to process with these new requirements and our team is standing by to help you understand things if they are not clear. We’ll be actively monitoring this thread for the next 14 days, responding to questions in batches. Please remember our community guidelines as you post.