Updated WordPress Requirements



What about item support?

If we have our own support systems, based on purchase key validation, we should inform the user somewhere in the theme/plugin that we are going to store in our database the purchase key, their name/email, etc in order to be able to offer support?

I guess this question is also related to GDPR…


@StephenCronin Any feedback regarding design related meta boxes brought up by multiple authors here? Thank you!


Hi All,

There are some common questions emerging, which we’ve grouped together and will answer below:

How to declare compliance

We’ll provide you with more details here in the next week or two. Note, this is only for WordPress themes at this point, not for plugins.

Purchase Verification

Do I need to implement purchase verification?

No, it is not required to have purchase verification - but if you do have it, then users need to be able to unlock the theme using their Purchase Code.

Will Envato provide a library or code to add purchase verification?

Not at this time. We know it’s a common request, so we may look at this in future, but at this point we can’t promise if or when that would happen.

Am I allowed to check if the purchase code is in use on another domain?

You may do this, although we don’t encourage it. If you do choose to do this, you must follow the Data Privacy requirement and consider your obligations in regard to handling the customer’s data on your servers.

Does this apply to plugins too?

The specific rules around what functionality can be behind keygates are for themes. At this stage, there are no equivalent rules for plugins. Please note however that the rules about notifications being dismissable, etc, are part of the Plugin Requirements.

Will these requirements be applied consistently?

We’ll be working to make sure our reviewing process both reflects these requirements and is as consistent as possible. Realistically speaking though: a) there will probably be an adjustment period as we bed this in and b) maintaining consistency is difficult at the best of times. Rest assured, we will continually work on this to make the experience as consistent as possible - this is something we want to do a better job of than we have in the past.

Review Wait Times

Once you have declared compliance, we will review a cross section of your items - not every single one. There may be some effect on review wait times, which are an ongoing challenge for us, but we expect this to be manageable.


We understand the community has mixed views on Gutenberg, but it’s coming to WordPress core at some point and we want themes to be ready for it.

Most of our Gutenberg related requirements are fairly straight forward and unlikely to lead to any extra work if Gutenberg changes before launch. If you are not considering deeper integration with Gutenberg, then the main thing we’re asking you to do is to ensure that the core blocks are styled appropriately for your design. If a customer chooses to use Gutenberg with your theme instead of a page builder, the content should look like it fits the design.

And I know there are still some big questions you’d like answers for, but we’ll have to leave it there until Monday (Australian time). Thanks for your patience!


1.) & 2.) you should not nest 3rd party plugin in your theme in the first place
3.) Why would you need to target “#wpadminbar”? Use something like “.admin-bar .my-sticky-header”
4.) You should definitely not remove version param from assets. You are actually creating caching issues doing so. Any decent caching plugin has ability to minimize all your CSS and JS files.
5.) You shouldn’t have widgets in your theme, that’s a plugin territory
6.) Even though 3rd party plugin should not be nested I guess ACS is an exception (?)
7.) I agree, there should be info where exactly the error occurs


@MNKY Hopefully we’ll have some feedback around that (and other things raised above) on Monday - we know there’s a lot of interest in it.


@StephenCronin Can you please answer my query?

Will this affect the current review time which is awesome 1 day for WordPress themes? (This review time got back to normal after 2 years as far as I know).


Thanks for taking time to answer my questions :slight_smile:

  1. / 2. I don’t agree with you. To nest the ACF Pro plugin inside the theme is the right way. It’s recommended by the ACF Pro plugin author: https://www.advancedcustomfields.com/resources/including-acf-in-a-plugin-theme/

  2. With “.admin-bar” I don’t get this WARNING? Ok, I will try it.

  3. Ok, I will think about it.

  4. I don’t agree with you. Widgets are not only plugin territory.

  5. Yes the nested ACF Pro plugin is recommended by the plugin author.

  6. Yes :wink:


@TheemWiz I tried to above! :slight_smile:

Basically, we won’t be reviewing every single theme, so we don’t believe it will create a huge amount of extra work that will make the queues blow right out again - but it will obviously create extra work, so it will probably have some effect.

Above and beyond that, the queue is always growing, which is something we need to manage.

So … it’s complicated, but we want it to stay low and we’ll be working to keep that way. But I can’t give much more info than that at this point.


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

Ok I understand the point behind this one, but I have a situation now where user have to login from theme dashboard to his Envato account to verify purchase, How can I apply this rule here, Do I need to add other field for purchase code ?

It’s not good for user experience asking the user to go to his themeforest account copy the purchase code then paste it in theme dashboard I save these three process with just a single login button also keep in mind that I have planes to use the collected information to push updates not just for the theme but for the bundled premium plugins as well which can’t be done with just purchase code.

A global notification message asking the user to activate the theme or leave a review is allowed, but must be dismissable and must not be shown again once dismissed

Let’s say I want the message to appear again but after one week of the dismissable, Am I allowed to do this ?


I’m glad to see Envato doing something to clean un the mass of old/bad products in the marketplace!

Just a suggestion (@jamesgiroux @StephenCronin ): as a plugin developer I face every week issues related to themes/plugins using javascript plugins globally within wordpress admin panel.

This causes huge problems when the script is used by others (eg. chosen or jQuery UI). Layouts are ruined, scripts have strange bahaviors. This ends in a lot of support tickets: a great time loss and customers dissatisfaction.

I think you should set targeted implementations as a mandatory requirement for both plugins and themes.
For example: you can use the Chosed script, but you must target it only to your systems.


I have a question about Customizer sanitization. We use Kirki plugin in our themes, which basically extends Customizer and it’s automatically sanitizing all the inputs. So, do we need to sanitize it twice in order to pass the review?


Guys, just so I’m understanding correctly and I’d appreciate your input on this matter in a precise (hopefully yes / no) manner:

You’re saying that we now must use TGMPA for inclusion of plugins. Well, while TGMPA works, it’s extremely underdeveloped in terms of what it can do, unless expanded.

What if we create our very own TGMPA? Is that not allowed?

(This assumes that the functionality is written in a professional manner and is, from tests, bug-less).


@jamesgiroux @StephenCronin Can you share some more info regarding this part:

Footer Links
If a theme contains a footer link to its item description page on Envato Market, the link must use the rel=“nofollow” attribute.

Just being curious, why?



With the new rules, only the following features can be put behind a keygate:

Importing demo content
Installing bundled plugins

So this is actually really dishonest for the customer. The theme that is put to the Elements section should be the same exact thing as what is on the Market at the time of the release to Elements. You are after all advertising that assets from the Market are on Elements. There is a material difference between a theme without the feature of the plugins and demo content and one with those features. After all, a lot of theme creators make themes with plugins where without the plugins the theme does not work as intended at all.

I can understand that Envato Elements themes should not have extended licenses for paid plugins, but they should still come with their respective free versions and any plugin which is critical for the theme to work as advertised in the paid version should also be included.

If the demo content is being advertised in the pictures of the Elements product and is also advertised in the pictures of the Market product and the Market product has a demo importer which puts all those assets in place, then there is a material and substantial difference large enough to warrant that the demo importer also not be behind a keygate.

Support and continuous updates are legally the only things that can be behind the extra Pay Wall. Call it a key wall all you want but it is a pay wall and according to the laws of the United States, this policy update is dishonest and illegal.


Envato what you guys have been doing around the Elements program as far as what is actually offered vs what is advertised is illegal and according to your own policies and procedures per the website, you guys state that you will also comply with the laws of other countries. Well, this is your time to do that by getting rid of this pay wall idea and PROMOTE PAID AUTHOR SUPPORT as well as PAID CONTINUOUS UPDATES.

Otherwise you are opening up your company to a lot of potential liabilities. I understand you are from Australia, but the laws of the United States are so serious that you may be prevented from ever doing business with Americans once a single member is enraged enough to sue over the deceptive practices surrounding the promotion and content of Elements.


@jdeidiroses Hello! I have nothing to do with this plugin nor I ever used it.
Anyway, what is in the policy, is that you need a purchase code to use the “automatic installer of demo and plugin”.

  1. You can do same things without automatic installer
  2. **If you purchase the products, you have nothing to worry about. Are you buying your products? Well then, nothing changes for you. Functions are simply actived by purchase code **

Think about this: if you pay for your products, this is the only way that preserves your investment. Illegal downloads steal money from developers. This money is required to provide updates and support to paying customers like you.
is like if there is a candy store with free candys for customers, and now is allowed to put a key to enter. You have the key, do you want that everybody without key enters in the store, so when you (paying customers) want a candy, they are all eaten by random people without the key?
Just think bro…
Is it deceptive that you need a product key for literally ANY existing software? Photoshop, Windows, Office, cPanel itself, are you saying the entire software industry is deceptive. Go for your battle… sue the world.
What if you win? Every existing developer should make softwares for free? Cos at that point if there are no limitations who would be so idiot to pay for something you can have for free?
Just think ad the meaning of your words.

Anyway, I was just here to say… nice timing July to come out with such big updates and deadlines for authors.


Hi thank you very much for the reply. Hope you are doing well today. I can definitely understand where you are coming from but please allow me to address your concerns because we may have more to meet with than disagree to.

Where we disagree with is the idea that all the assets are free. They are not. Let us be clear, you are paying Elements to have access to a smaller range of products that are also available on the Market. Elements is a paid service being advertised as a subscription-based access to a more limited range of the same products. When you pay to have access to these products, do you expect TO PAY AGAIN? That’s a DOUBLE DIP.

When you pay Adobe to subscribe to their CC model, you are getting access to all the programs advertised in that lineup with full features and no additional payment because you already paid. You are conflating the idea of not paying at all with the idea that I am presenting, which is a secondary payment after you originally paid to have access to the assets.

With that said, I think that ultimately paid support and paid non-yearly updates should be what Envato and creators should strive for. There are many items on Elements that I ended up happily putting on my purchase list from the Market or CodeCanyon because I committed to the product and needed the support for it. This is the case for the majority of Elements subscribers. We are people testing things out and when we commit to the product after installing it on our site and enjoying it, we pay for the ability to keep it functional and doing the latest things while getting support to maximize on what we want to do with it.

To reiterate, the majority of Elements subscribers are just trying different things out to see if it works to their tastes on their site without having to put in $80 per theme and don’t really end up using most of the assets anyway because they eventually find the Elements product they want to commit to. At this stage they want to do more things with the product they liked so they will pay for support and continuous updates by buying the product key. So in the end, you should definitely promote the full purchase of the product by letting people use the real product from Elements. This is what the consumers and the market want so you have to update your practices of making sales not fight the customer with a secondary pay-wall on a half-baked product.

I want you to make money and I want you to make awesome products but you need to understand who your market really is. The threat of a “mass downloader” is a myth and most Wordpress users actually have no coding experience what so ever. That’s why pretty much all themes nowadays promote WPBakery or other visual page builders because most WordPress users aren’t coders and need as much help as possible. These are people who definitely NEED SUPPORT and would definitely PAY FOR IT. That’s who your market is and sites typically stick to the same themes and plugins for years, so you have years of support to offer for money to a customer from just one asset.


Man we delete about 120 pirate and working download links a month.
This is no myth is reality.
And we have no purchase code restrictions, simply the plugins are on our servers and we periodically change the URL when updating theme (to invalidate old versions which are on pirate networks, plus torrents that are impossible to control).
After 2 weeks from an update, sales goes below hald normal, and is proven that the cause are pirate downloads.
This is the reality.
I sincerely don’t understand why you are so scared to have to put a code in a form. Is not brain surgery no?


I sincerely don’t understand why you are so scared to have to put a code in a form. Is not brain surgery no?

I sincerely don’t understand why you are gaslighting to hide the fact that a pay wall behind a pay wall is a material and substantial difference under the law when the first pay wall was supposed to be the only one.

Also you need to understand that piracy is a myth. No matter what you tell yourself, it is an imperial fact that piracy does NOT affect sales negatively and in fact can INCREASE sales. Every single person you claim pirated your assets either weren’t going to buy them anyway (as in, they never were going to be a sale) or as what research is showing lately, a percentage of them would go on to actually buy your product. You’re NOT losing sales to piracy. Don’t take my word for it, here’s the latest research: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1354.pdf

“The EU Commission’s report found that piracy lead to 24% more games (including free games) being legitimately downloaded.”

Anyway, this isn’t a piracy issue, this is a double paywall problem #NoDoubleDipping


Hi @jdeidiroses - just wanted to add my two cents on this discussion. Taking a segment from the original post, James & team announced amendments to purchase verification:

This is a bit misleading in my opinion as this is more targeted towards the marketplaces rather than Elements, but wasn’t clarified as so. Purchase codes (“keys”) do not exist on Elements, and so:

  • You can download updates to your themes or plugins and install them manually. If an item comes with built-in automatic updates, that’s great and the author went above and beyond, but you shouldn’t expect it since Envato doesn’t provide the appropriate tools at this time.

  • Themes and plugins are not allowed to require a key to install demo content or bundled plugins, and if this is the case with anything you download, you should let support know so they can get it resolved.

Bearing in mind these points, which I invite @jamesgiroux to look over and verify, the landing page for each Elements item states these facts clearly. For instance, it states you must manually download updates:

You’ll always have access to the latest features, fixes, and security updates. Simply re-download the item to get the most up-to-date files. You can find the updates change-log on the item’s description.

All updates require manual installation.

And it states that support isn’t included:

Author support is not available for items downloaded on Elements.

You can read more about how Elements works in this manner from the Help center:


I am not fully tested with Guttenberg working but I doubts that Guttenberg still don’t support for adding rows and columns. Without support for rows and columns as other page builders do, how can one make the design fit with Guttenberg?
Correct me if I am wrong…