Estimated reading time: 38 minutes
This review was originally published on January 15th 2020. It has been updated to be relevant for Themeco’s Pro version 5.1, X theme v. 9.1 and Cornerstone builder v. 6.1, all released on
Time flies. Wow.
My very first website built on X ended up on a list of WordPress influencers, along with Mercedes Benz, Katy Perry, Bloomberg, NASA and others. Not too bad. :)
It’s time to do a concise but detailed review of the X theme and Pro theme. A review is needed because many of the resources on the Internet are outdated. It is unfortunate that many of the reviews available are several years old, even though their automatically generated headlines claim to be brand new.
TL;DR: Themeco Pro is a powerful, fast, safe and reliable tool worth mastering
With time, this article has grown beyond the point where it can cover all the important points within our average attention span. The following is a brief overview of the main points:
X Theme and Pro are both themes made by Themeco. X was released in 2013. and Pro in 2017. Both include a powerful Page builder called Cornerstone. Cornerstone is powered by Flexbox, written in Ember & React. Pro also has CSS Grid and the Header/Footer/Layout Builder. From now on, we will only discuss Pro.
Performance-wise, Pro is one of the fastest themes on the market, both in the backend and in the frontend. This is thanks to the modern lean architecture. Themeco made sure it was as SEO friendly as possible.
Pro has tools like Dynamic content, Global blocks, Template Manager, Undo/Redo capabilities, Role manager, Custom Attributes, Archive and Single Layout builder, Conditions, Responsive styling, preview scaling, buildable sliders and much more.
The Themeco Customer support is outstanding, and many would argue that its Facebook community is one of the best found, always ready to help in minutes.
Pro Theme’s Price can be lifetime per license, lifetime per unlimited licenses or recurring, whatever works best for the user.
Ok, so I have now spoiled some of the fun, but it is still worth reading on if you have time. If not, here’s the link to check out Themeco’s website:
Disclosure: Themeco had no referral program announced when this article was originally written. With the launch of the new website, they have also created this program. As of May 26. I have added the referral links to the Themeco Pro theme, but it doesn’t change a thing about what I have to say. There might also be some referral links to plugins and services I use a lot and am confident into.
For starters, the word “Theme” often used in the name of this product makes it sound somehow cheap. Less experienced people immediately think of some template that imposes its own design, and very often the whole layout. That is far from reality. X and Pro are both powerful site building tools. With them, it is possible to start from the blank canvas and build the website exactly the way we want it.
If you are building a website based on someone’s mockup, you will be able to recreate it 100%. I just hope that the mockup was made by someone who actually knows what they are doing. :) And if you want pre-made templates, sure. They are available in the Themeco’s Design Cloud.
The initial release of X-theme was on October 24. 2013. We can see the whole update history in their official changelog. Soon after that it got the Visual Composer integration. Very quickly it became the fastest-growing theme on the Envato Market.
On May 28th, 2015, X-theme 4.0. came out and introduced its own page builder—Cornerstone.
On April 10th, 2017, Themeco released its second theme called Pro. The main difference at the time was that unlike X, it had the Header, Footer and the Layout builder. Also it was not sold on the Envato market, but directly from Themeco.
Throughout the years, Themeco was adding its own plugins called extensions. For example, there is a Custom 404 page plugin, Smooth scroll, Under construction, white lable, and others.
There is also a very powerful native Schema plugin called “Snippet”. This plugin supports many various schema types, outputted as JSON-LD.
Themeco’s X and Pro themes are based on design sets called stacks. Although this may change in the future, it isn’t a bad idea at all. Integrity, Renew, Icon, and Ethos are the four stacks. Every design is unique, and it is a good place to start for those who want ready-made designs within a short time frame. The theme is fully customizable, so you may not even notice the stacks.
The difference between X and Pro theme from Themeco
The key difference is that X is simpler, and Pro offers advanced Header/Footer/Layout Builders, as well as CSS Grid capabilities and advanced conditions. X is available at Envato, and Pro is sold directly by Themeco.
Performance (It is fast. Very fast)
Ember, React, Themeco’s crazy-geek engineers… A few things came together to create one of the fastest themes on the Internet. The barebone install is able to load in 0.3 seconds with additional optimization, and in 0.5 seconds without it. An optimized website such as this one can load anywhere between 0.7 to 2 seconds.
As a digital marketing consultant, I had a chance to work with all major themes on the market, and some less known ones. I can tell you one thing for sure: no theme is fast as X and Pro theme. There are a few that are a match on the front end. Oxygen would be one, and there are more. But on the backend… That’s crazy. Let me take a stopwatch and measure the time the Homepage of this website becomes editable in the Cornerstone Page builder:
Ready? Set… Go…………………4 seconds!
Dev time is money. If you have to wait an extra 10 or 20 seconds for every change to take effect, and to be able to edit a page, that sums up to A LOT of money burned for nothing.
Shall we try to measure saving changes on the page? Let’s go: ……..1 second!
Disclaimer: make sure you have fast Internet speed, and that the site is hosted on a decent Hosting. This one is on Siteground’s GrowBig Plan. Otherwise, the theme is as fast as the narrowest bottleneck.
Ok, let’s take a look at the front-end performance example for a second.
Not too bad at all. That is a Pro theme on Siteground with their Supercacher enabled. If the site is not on Siteground, I go with WP Rocket. I have used to use them combined, but Supercacher now supports most of WP Rocket’s functionalities. To complete the optimization picture, I do detailed asset management using Asset Cleanup or similar plugins. The example website has an image-heavy homepage, but the images are lazy-loaded, so the page weight is under 1MB at loading. The site is not on CDN.
Let’s test a similarly optimized, Pro-based website, but with no plugins other than SG Optimizer, WP Rocket and Asset Cleanup:
Now, we could load jquery.js through open source static assets CDN simply by installing and activating CommonWP plugin. [Edit: jQuery is no longer a dependency on the front end. Pro is JQuery free since version 5.2]. This would improve the Yslow score, but I have found that this won’t impact the total site loading time if users are distant, and if they are close to the server, this CDN will slow down the loading time for 100 ms. So I opt to output this 33 kb file from my server. If the website was targeting global audience, then of course, full CDN would be used with all its pros and cons.
Btw, you are right. Those up there were old GTMetrix format. We should test the same site again, and see what can we get from the new GTMetrix:
Yeah yeah, all right. I know. I am showing off some GTMetrix results, while all that matters are the dredded Mobile PageSpeed Insights results. So let’s bring those out as well, for a blank page:
You must have heard people complaining about getting very low mobile pagespeed results even on blank pages, with many popular themes and page builders. Pro is as clean as a whistle right out of the box. The web designer is responsible for the Core Web Vitals, but it is essential that the Theme itself provides us with a clean canvas. In 2021, Web Vitals got included in ranking factor.
Pro from Themeco is extremely optimized for performance out of the box. Treat it right, build your site with performance in mind, and you’ll get a hyper fast website even on a shared hosting.
Are X and Pro Bloated themes, and do they slow down with new versions?
What is bloat anyway? It is something taking up resources even if not needed. X and Pro are packed with features. Especially Pro. But they are lean-based. Nothing is used if not needed, so there is no sign of bloat at all. This goes down as far as to individual CSS rules: Can images have border radius? Yes. Is the rule there if it is zero or empty? No, it is not even outputted. There is a toggle to turn it on if needed. This goes to all controls in the builder.
Can we have JS to control responsive text? Sure. It needs to be enabled for the particular page first. Can we Have Lightbox on the images? Sure. Only if it is added to them. If not, that script is not being run. And so on.
As for the second question, that is a normal thing to ask. We have all seen great systems that slowed down as new features have been added. Not Pro. As a matter of fact, each version got faster. That goes to the recent major version, Pro 4.0 released on December 2020. It got the Layout builder, Effects and dozens of new features. Guess what: JS dependencies were reduced by 30% compared to the previous, already fast version! In Themeco’s own words, We can rest assured that they’ll continue to keep performance front of mind as always. With each new version they reduce dependencies, find new ways of doing things, or leverage new development standards.
Performance Optimization Tolerance
Not all themes work when heavily optimized for performance. With X and Pro, a good thing is that you can go all the way in and combine all of its assets, (CSS, JS), and minify everything, it will still work just perfectly. It doesn’t need minification as a matter of fact, because it is pre-minified. Under HTTP/2, you may test if Concatenation is even needed. That will depend more on your plugins setup.
Also, I have tested WP Rocket’s Lazy Loading for images, and all image elements in the theme support it and work perfectly. There are no issues if Webp file formats are served instead of the original images as well. Siteground does this natively if turned on.
All in all, an already lean and fast X and Pro theme doesn’t mind to be additionally optimized at all. No resistance there.
There is hardly any other theme I’d rely on when it comes to SEO. There are multiple reasons for that, including great architecture, speed and security. A good proof for that is that an X-theme based website is ranking many top financial keywords #1 in Croatian language, above all Credit card companies, banks and financial institutions. This is of course a result of SEO strategy, but obviously Google had no objection about the theme. :)
There is one more strong reason for my claims. And the most important one: Themeco. I had several SEO related discussions with them on forums and one thing I can tell you is that the dev team is very interested in making sure the Theme is as SEO friendly as possible. They also possess a lot of knowledge in this area.
An example of SEO friendliness is the fact that All background images set on containers are ARIA hidden and set a proper background-image CSS. This of course means that they won’t be indexed by Search Engines. However, sometimes in design we need the advantage of background images, and still having the ability for them to be indexed on Google. Themeco has made a unique option to change the tag of the background image into an <img> element, and still simulating background image behavior by utilizing object-fit rules. That’s very neat.
One more thing would be the option to change the html tag of any Section, Row or Column. They can be <section> <div> <article> and many others. Even the <a> tag can be used, making containers instantly clickable.
Now, to illustrate how professional and thorough theme this is, imagine adding an <a> tag to make an entire column clickable. What people usually do when they make clickable columns? They often have boxes with a picture, some text and a button. What is a button? it is often an Anchor element (another <a> tag), or a <button> tag. Can we nest anchors in HTML? No! Do common folks know that? No way. This is a Site builder, why would people know HTML semantics to use it? However, Themeco has anticipated this: if a button ends up inside a clickable column, its anchor tag will automatically be replaced by a <span> tag. (it will of course still be clickable, because all elements in the column will inherit its clickablity). I have simulated this scenario in two of the major competitor themes and guess what? They don’t care about unintentionally invalid semantics. :)
To continue on SEO friendliness, the theme has a Schema powered Breadcrumbs element as well as Ratings and Testimonial elements with Schema. there is also a Snippet addon that can be enabled, allowing setting up Structured data types per each post type.
If you have a WooCommerce shop, then the important aspect of SEO is an ability to have content on Taxonomy pages where and how you want it, and to be able to design product pages in the most optimized way. You may have encountered themes that don’t even output Category descriptions, let alone giving you the opportunity to make your custom design. All this is a breeze with Pro.
Themeco Pro is possibly the most SEO friendly WordPress theme on the market.
Accessible content has always been important, but not always easy to achieve. With WAI-ARIA roles built into each and every template file, Pro ensures our site conforms to the latest standards set forth by the W3C.
In practice, this means that the main hurdle has been overcome. Rest of it is about making sure we design accessible content by considering contrast, Alt text, empty links etc.
When it comes to choosing an accessible WordPress theme, Pro from Thermeco is an obvious choice.
Cornerstone Page Builder
The real power reveals itself once you fire-up Cornerstone. Cornerstone is a full front-end live Page builder integrated with the X and the Pro theme. In X, it needs to be installed as a plugin, while Pro users have it integrated into the theme. In Pro, Cornerstone represents a family of builders that includes the Layout Builder, Header Builder, Page Builder, Footer Builder, and Grid Editor. the Layout provides the structure based on basic building blocks:
- CSS Grid Cells
Sections are the top building blocks. They accept Rows. Rows are Flexbox powered, so we can place Columns inside them in any order, size and reflowing rules. We can nest rows inside columns, which allows more complex layouts. We can also insert standalone DIV elements, allowing locally laying out other elements. But, that is just the beginning: we can turn-on Flexbox layout inside Columns and DIVs, and if that is not enough we can use CSS Grid!
Now watch this: we can also move a Div way up under the Section and delete the Row and the Column. Pro is modular enough that its sub-containers are not mutually dependent. This is a feature you won’t find a lot with other page builders. This means we can control the number of DOM elements the way we want, if we want to take that route.
So the layout options are:
- Standard Layout
- Flexbox Layout
- CSS Grid layout
That’s about the structure. When it comes to design, Cornerstone has 52 various elements plus 24 Dynamic elements and 29 WooCommerce element (if you have WC installed). Many of these elements are multipurpose.
Some of them would be:
- Breadcrumbs with Schema
- Buttons with advanced interactions
- Flipping cards
- Comment forms, lists and paginations
- Buildable Dropdowns/Modals/Fly-ins
- Div Container
- Headline with graphics and subheadings
- Lists (Both static and looped)
- Pre-fabbed buildable Megamenus
- Various navigations
- Ratings with Schema
- Fully customizable and buildable sliders
- Buildable sliders
- Various search options (Inline, modal, dropdown)
- Testimonials with Schema…
Some of the Dynamic elements are:
- Featured Image
- Posts element (List, Minimal, Titles, Magazine)
- Site Links, Tagline, Title, Author, Meta line, Excerpt…
Fantastic thing about Cornerstone is that everything is fully customizable. Also, the fact that many elements are multi-purpose, creates less clutter and removes bloat. For example, a Headline element can have any of the H tags, but it can also get a span tag. So if we turn the graphic on (image or icon), it becomes a simple text item with a graphic. A Button element has also various design options. It can be a clickable element that doesn’t look like a button at all. Like the three boxes below the Hero image on the Homepage of this website. Nobody could guess that those are actually buttons.
Another interesting thing is that all content elements, like dropdowns, modals and fly-ins, are fully customizable as well. This means we can drop a simple dropdown menu element and build its content anyway we see fit, up to fully responsive megamenus.
CSS Grid – Making Impossible Layouts Possible
Pro is the first theme on the Market that has CSS Grid Layout integrated, with a native visual editor. It has a native draggable interface like no other.
The power of CSS Grid is the ability to arrange elements in two dimensions, (unlike one-dimensional Flexbox). By doing that, we can overlap elements if we like, and we can rearrange them by breakpoints. This allows layouts that are beyond the reach of most page-builders.
If that is not enough, we can add the fact that any of those CSS Grid containers can dynamically load a list of posts, products or basically any post types with fully custom design, dynamically pulling anything into text, buttons, images… Just freakin’ wow.
I have used it for example on this one-page website:
You can try resizing it in the browser to check how responsive it is.
Designers and UX professionals know sliders can be pretty awful for users. However, they can also be fantastic if used correctly. This is especially true when it comes to mobile devices. Instead of scrolling vertically, people prefer to scroll sideways to see related content.
Themeco didn’t just make a regular slider element and throw it into the theme. Oh no… What we have here are fundamental building blocks of a slider, such as the container, pagination and navigation. With that, we can design and arrange our sliders however we wish. If we want, we can let them loop through WooCommerce products or anything. They support carousels, click and/or drag, Flexbox, CSS Grid, any type of in/out transitions, ability to change the design of any slide position left/right from the active one… It would take an article like this one to cover all slider possibilities, so just take my word: there is nothing like this on the market. Period.
We just discussed a powerful CSS grid, as well as unique, fully buildable sliders. How awesome would it be to combine the two?
Since everything in Pro is made from the same components, we can combine them in an infinite number of ways. Here is an example of a responsive CSS Grid Slider:
Wanna check this slider out live? It is pretty impressive. Just go ahead, this CSS Grid slider link will open it in a new window. You can come back and continue reading after that.
The animations and the entire layout were built using only Pro features. Additionally, each of those images comes from the looper. That’s right! This image gallery can be dynamic, fed from a custom post type, ACF repeater, JSON feed, Google sheet, external website, whatever you like! Even more impressive is the fact that this is a nested looper. One is looping the slider, and the other is looping the CSS Grid gallery inside each. Check it out it both on desktop and mobile, to see the power of responsive adaptation.
With Pro, we don’t need Grid, Slider, or Gallery plugins to build cool elements of the website. Even if we sacrificed performance and installed them, they still couldn’t do such complex and amazing stuff as native Themeco Pro can.
And btw, if after all this we still want Grid, Gallery or Slider plugins, we don’t have to buy them, as Essential Grid, ACF Pro, Slider Revolution, Layer Slider and many more, all come free with Pro. :)
Dynamic Content supports ACF fields (ACF Pro comes bundled free with Pro), WordPress content or just about anything else. For example, the header of this blog post has the Article title, Published and Last modified dates, all dynamic. This makes creating Templates easy as a pie. Paired with the Template Manager, it truly has lots of use cases.
ACF Pro Integration
Pro from Themeco has a first-class integration with ACF Pro, which is bundled with the theme for free. This means that Pro can for example Loop the content of the the ACF Repeater field, or the Gallery field, or anything. It can access all ACF fields natively and directly: event the labels, along with the actual fields.
ACF is tempting for practically all WordPress web designers, but many get deterred by its complexity and the fact that it requires PHP and lots of coding. Pro lets us work on types of work only experienced developers would be able to do, and produce super fancy stuff, letting Pro handle all the heavy lifting on our behalf. At the same time, we do not pay for that luxury with a poorer performance. Think of the sheer power of this fact.
Build an element in one place, and drop it anywhere with a shortcode or the Global Block Element. Then update it in one place and voila — updated everywhere.
Element Animation Effects
Any Container or Element can be animated based on page scroll or hover interactions. If used moderately, this can add fantastic visual appeal in the design.
Pro theme comes with a premium Grid plugin bundled: The Grid. However, we actually don’t need it: literally any of its skins can be recreated with native Pro elements and interactions. Not only that, they can be semantically correct. For example they can be wrapped inside an <article> tag. Also, a WordPress loop can be turned on their parent container, so they can output any data from any post type. Being it a WooCommerce product or our own Custom Post type, paired with Advanced Custom Fields Pro.
The conditions can be assigned to any Container, Element, Page, Header, etc. In other words, how they are shown can depend on whatever criteria are in place. A section can be hidden before a certain date, for example. An Image element can be active if a Featured image is assigned to a post, or only if a certain category is assigned. There are countless options, combinations, and use cases available. I can’t even list all the options available.
On top of that, Conditions are working with expressions. This means you can do things like [IF Comment count is > 10 THEN show THIS element, ELSE, show THAT element]. Conditions can be assigned to, well, practically anything.
Just like in Photoshop, we can easily dock, undock, drag and move the builder’s panels. For example the Left sidebar can be placed at the bottom, and the Builder’s breadcrumbs can be moved to the bottom. Whatever works best for you. I like the fact that the custom CSS window can be resized and moved anywhere on the screen, and it switches between page and global CSS. Oh, and it supports linting.
Speaking of the UI, lots of options can quickly become overwhelming and cluttered. For example, if you want to add a text-shadow to a headline, it has lots of setting to play with. But if you don’t need it, the convenient on/off switch will hide and disable the entire set of options related to it. That’s smart. There is even a copy/paste options between browser tabs. We can copy the state of an element in one tab, and paste it in another tab, without the need to save the template, reload, and then load the state.
This one is turned off by default. Many won’t touch it, especially the beginners. However, it is a God-mode radially available: this little draggable and resizable window has all the options of anything currently selected, along with a search bar to quickly find stuff. It isn’t as cool as the main Inspector, but it can provide fast workflow. Try it out. It even has all the global Theme options listed right there. A powerful little thing.
With X and Pro, you can turn anything into a template. A whole page, a section, a column with all the elements, any element, anything. Once created, it becomes a Preset element. That means that you can simply drag & drop it anywhere and that’s it. You can also download templates and upload them into other websites.
Some users are saving Page templates to re-use them when they create new pages. While that can certainly be done, there is a far better way to do it for this particular purpose: Page templates tend to be different than what we have on a newer page, making the need to constantly update the templates and never be sure if we are actually loading the latest one.
Instead, when we are creating a new page, we can choose to clone any page on the website, which means we can be sure we are using the latest version of the page. Page templates are more suitable to re-use on different websites or to move them between builders. For example from the Content builder to the Layout builder.
Alternatively, if we just want to quickly copy an element, section, or anything else from one page to another, we can simply copy/paste it between browser tabs. It works not only between multiple pages but even between different Pro websites!
Pro 5.0 introduced responsive styling. This means that we don’t need to write tons of custom CSS to change styles for different breakpoints. Here’s how it works:
Our first step is to decide whether we want a mobile-first or desktop-first design approach. Or anything in between. CSS styles can flow (cascade) in any direction we prefer. This is done by choosing our base breakpoint in the Theme options.
Secondly, We don’t need to change styles for each and every breakpoint. Let me explain in the following example.
Imagine we want a heading element to be big on desktop, but smaller on mobile and tablet devices. To accomplish this, we simply need to click the heading size label and open the following window:
Let’s call the largest breakpoint as LG (shown at the bottom of the picture) and move all the way to the XS breakpoint representing the smallest mobile device at 360px width.
As you can see, the LG and XL breakpoints both have values of 3em. When I changed the value to 2em on the MD breakpoint, the value cascaded down to SM and XS breakpoints automatically. Yellow means the value was overwritten, while blue means it was inherited downwards. The reason for this is because my base breakpoint was set to the LG breakpoint (indicated by the dot), so everything flows down. (And also up to the XL breakpoint, but we’ll get to that).
The arrows indicate which direction the styles are flowing. This is brilliant and it feels effortless and natural. The best UX I have ever seen in a Site builder.
Perhaps you are wondering why my base breakpoint isn’t set at the second largest one, so it flows down from there. The answer is because I am now on my laptop. This is my natural breakpoint in the builder, and it is easier to work that way. If I were using a large monitor, I would change it. Any time we want, we can change the base breakpoint without affecting the design in any way. Themeco knows what they are doing. :)
Another brilliant thing is that we can set the preview to the largest breakpoint, or even beyond. I could set the preview of a large 24” monitor on my 15.6” laptop. The builder will automatically scale down everything and allow me to see how the design looks like on that size. Or I could preview it at 100% scale, but then I would have to scroll around.
We can also resize the preview window manually by dragging its side and preview any size in-between breakpoints. We also have a neat ruler that shows us the pixel value of the current width we are working on. All in all, the responsive UX is as good as it gets.
Post type Layout builder
Custom Archive Pages
Themeco introduced the Layout builder with Pro 4.0. It allows designing Blog, WooCommerce or any other index page, as well as any kind of Single template like Blog posts or WooCommerce products.
The beauty of this tool is that it uses exactly the same Container elements powered by Flexbox or even CSS grid, like the ones inside the Content builder.
Custom List of Posts on Pages
Let’s say we want to output three of the latest posts on our Homepage, or the list of Products currently on sale. Or any post types under any condition.
We can drag in various pre-fabbed recent posts elements, configure the post type and the conditions, and call it done. If we want full control, we can also redo those pre-fabbed elements the way we like them, because they are made of standard Pro Theme’s elements.
That being said, we can build our list manually from scratch. All we have to do is turn on the WordPress loop on the parent container (A Row for example) and have our Columns “Consume” the loop. Any element we drop in will display the proper Dynamic data. If we drop a Headline in such column, it will display the Product’s name. If we drop a Text element and set the dynamic content to “WooCommerce Price”, it will output the price for the product. That simple. That Powerful.
There are several ways to output Posts: Query builder is the easy one: configure the post type, filters and rules from the drop-down lists, and that’s it. For those who want full control and advanced stuff, they can write any WP Query. For those who don’t want to create post types to output loops, they can even drop a JSON list directly to the page and the elements will loop through them! Finally, the entire thing can be fed from an external API, or even Google Sheets.
Custom Single Templates
A Blog post, a WooCommerce product, or any custom post type: they can all be built by the Layout builder. We can assign the layout to anything, including the Custom 404 page. In other words, We can pick any page from WP template hierarchy and customize it with the page builder, and also set the proper inheritance flow.
Pro Theme WooCommerce Integration
The New Layout builder introduced with Pro 4.0 allowed building a full custom WooCommerce Shop layout, as well as Taxonomies and Single product pages.
To be able to output all the WooCommerce elements, Themeco made a library of them. They can be easily drag & dropped anywhere on the page and configured.
When we say “Configured”, it means a bit more than what we might expect. For example, we can drop a “Cart Dropdown” element to the page and it is actually made of the basic dropdown element containing the Headline, the Mini cart and anything else we want to add to it. The design is not “locked”, so we can make it our own by adding stuff. For example a free shipping warning.
Bundled Premium Plugins
X and Pro are coming with a great financial value in premium plugins. Those are:
- ACF Pro
- Convert Plus
- Essential Grid
- WP Cost Estimation & Payment Forms Builder
- Layer Slider
- Modern Events Calendar
- Slider Revolution
- Superfly Menus
- Woo Checkout Editor
No, this is not another attempt to drag-drop some pre-made elements into preset positions. This is a whole content builder for the Header and the Footer. You can make it look whatever you like. There is hardly any known website that you couldn’t emulate with Pro.
Please note that you may have run into some reviews on the Internet (old but claiming that are latest from this year). They say that Pro Header has different UI and separate learning curve than with the Content builder. This was true long time ago. Both builders are Flexbox powered and utilize the same controls.
Fear of client ruining the website by clicking what they shouldn’t? No problemos. All individual theme parts, individual elements or user settings can be assigned to specific user roles.
We don’t have to say anything more about this. It works like a charm.
Have you found a cool animation library that hooks into HTML with custom attributes? Would you like to apply it to the X/Pro elements? No problem. Add as many custom attributes to any element. Zoooom zoooom.
When it comes to price, Themeco has covered so many options that I’m sure everybody will find something for themselves. X can be purchased on Envato for $59 lifetime payment. But take my advice and don’t buy it. Pro theme license is $99 lifetime payment, (Currently at discount for $79) and it can be bought from the Themeco’s website directly. (Wait, we are also talking about the unlimited license down below). For the extra bit of money, on top of the Content builder, you are getting the Header, Footer and Layout builder and the CSS Grid element, which are awesome. You are also supporting Themeco directly, and that is important. The license is valid both for the Production and the Staging website, so there is no need to switch licenses constantly.
For a long time, the lifetime single-license was the only choice. But not anymore. Themeco came out with a Lifetime Unlimited License for $399! This license covers as many websites as we can handle, with ongoing support and updates. A simple math says that this is a huge deal for anyone who is planning to build 4 sites or more. Any agency or freelancer should have this powerful weapon in their arsenal. Personally I don’t even know how many licenses I have bought, or had my clients buy in all those years. This option is a no-brainer.
Lifetime license for unlimited websites and with unlimited support is available for $399! It is well worth it if you are planning to build 4 websites or more.
And there’s more. Themeco also has monthly and yearly license options. You can check them out, but there are very rare cases where buying a $59/yr single license is better than buying a $99 lifetime single-license. There is also an unlimited license for $149/yr. If you are on budget and eager to go Pro asap, you can start for as low as $9/mo for a single site, or $29/mo for unlimited sites.
To recap on the pricing, Themeco really thought this through and offered something for everybody. My personal favorites are either the Unlimited lifetime Pro license for $399, or a single-site lifetime Pro license for $99. Check ’em both on this direct link. But you might hold on ’till the end of this article. I’ll drop you the link again below. :)
Oh, one more thing: once you buy the unlimited license, it will show up in your account dashboard. If you don’t see it, it is possible that you are still logged-in with the older session. Log out of your account and log back in. It will then show up in the left sidebar.
As a result of Pro’s low-level modular architecture, a lot of things can be built by combining the basic elements. If you have any special requirements, Pro has a fully documented element API. This allows developers to extend Pro and Cornerstone with custom elements.
That’s fantastic news for long-term planning. API is something most website owners probably won’t think about for a long time, and if one day they need it, there won’t be a panic-change of the theme: Pro has it and it is generally one of the most robust base technologies WordPress can offer. It can start small and then grow in whatever direction is necessary.
From the day one, Themeco devoted lot of time, energy and love to provide support that is best in business. They go over and beyond, and they respond very quickly. Usually within a few hours and sometimes faster.
There was a short period when Themeco was restructuring the support system, and they came out with a huge update that radically changed things. It created a huge pressure on the (new) support team and the quality went a bit down. The theme was actually never unusable or something. But there were several influential individuals creating negative hype around it. Themeco did that bold move to transfer the theme far into the future, beyond the competition. That move paid off tenfold. So if you find traces of that by searching the historic content on the Internet, that’s it. And it is all long gone.
As I have said, the support is absolutely one of the best in the business, and it is lifetime. No yearly time limit or something. The Support Forum is open, but questions can be asked only by registered users with licenses.
There are a few Facebook pages dedicated to Themeco products, but the main one is called Pro Theme & X Theme Users. Most questions got answered literally in minutes, and there are many professional web designers and developers that gladly help to everybody. I am active on the daily basis there as well. :)
If you are not subscribed to WPScan Vulnerability Database already, you should be. Go ahead and check the popular themes on the market. You will find most of them had security breaches. But not X. And not Pro. They have a spotless security record from the day one.
In May 2020, five popular page builders and one (most popular) theme was reported having serious vulnerabilities. After that, again in August 2020 this most popular WordPress theme had vulnerability issues, along with its Page builder. Security is a serious thing. A builder that is probably the most popular one on the market has security breaches every 4 months on average!
The Long-term Sustainability
I have been using Themeco’s themes almost from their beginnings. One of the most important aspects of deciding to go with them at the time was the human factor. I felt the passion and devotion of Kyle Wakefield and his team. I knew those treats would lead to great things, and that they would provide long-term security. For me, that was enough. If you want to hear the Themeco story, you can watch this video. (50 min).
This article is an overview of the Theme and its functionalities, so I won’t bore you with too much content. Everything important has been said. Here is a list of what we have mentioned already, and a few more things:
- Global Colors
- Global or Page-level CSS/JS
- Font Manager
- Template Manager
- Dark/Light Mode
- Dynamic Content
- 1st-class ACF Pro integration
- Element Scroll & Hover effects
- Element Conditional logic
- Element Condition expressions
- WordPress Loop inside any container
- Header & Footer Builder
- Full control over blog layouts, posts, and index pages
- Unlimited Headers and Footers
- Lots of Premium Plugins
- Flexbox and CSS Grid
- Global Elements (Blocks)
- Custom Attributes
- Native Dropdowns, Modals and Fly-ins
- Powered by Ember and super-fast backend/frontend
- Font Awesome Pro V5 with an ability to turn off unused weights
- Design Cloud – Offsite repository of ready-made elements
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Customizable UI
- Mobile-first or Desktop first workflow
- Preview scaling
- Full responsive styling
- Element status indicators (has CSS, Has Looper, Has Effect, etc)
- Right-click contextual menu in the builder
- Elements API for developers
- Easily installable Child Theme
- Extensive documentation
- Ready Made Templates in the Design Cloud
- Demo websites and demo content
- And more
In the next Beta (already underway), Themeco will introduce Parameters and Globals among other things. I won’t go into detail right now, but basically we will be able to create Global Elements and design sets that can be edited across the site. We already had Global blocks, but this will be the next level. Stay tuned!
I am obviously biased. But with a good reason. If there was a reason for me to leave Themeco in the last 7 years, I would do it. Instead, they have become an invaluable partner I can count on. They have provided me with an advanced piece of technology that works flawlessly and that doesn’t stay in between my imagination and the final product.
This technology cuts down the development time significantly. Unless you are in an organization with complex divisions and decision making, there is no need to build a mockup in XD, Figma or other Prototyping tools. Cornerstone builder works almost like those tools. The live prototype instantly becomes the final product. Surely it is one of the best WordPress themes on the market.
So there is really no other rating for it than this:
That’s it for now. I will get back to this X and Pro theme review to update it, whenever I feel that I should add more to it, and also when new theme updates will be available. See you soon!
Oh, right… The link to the Themeco’s Pro page: