Envato WordPress Toolkit Guide For Automatic Theme Updates

NOTICE: The Envato Toolkit has been replaced by the Envato Market plugin. Please see our brand new Envato Market Auto-Updates guide for details on how to install and setup the new plugin.

Millions of people use WordPress themes, and many users and developers choose to purchase premium themes from Themeforest. It’s a reputable theme store they can trust that is know for quality WordPress themes, and awesome theme authors (like WPExplorer, of course). Another great feature of Themeforest is their Envato WordPress Toolkit plugin for automatic WordPress theme updates. Envato created this plugin so that Themeforest authors can provide buyers with fast, efficient updates to keep their themes bug free and compatible with the latest version of WordPress. This quick guide will show you how to download, install and setup the Envato WordPress Toolkit plugin (we also made an Envato WordPress Toolkit Video Guide if you’d prefer to watch rather than read).

Get Your Envato API Key

Before you install the plugin, you should request your Envato API key since it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours for the key to be recognized. All you have to do is login to Themeforest and visit your user profile page. Click on Settings. You Should see an API Keys tab below. Just click the button to generate your API key.

generate-envato-api-key

Envato will create a random 32 character API key for you to use. You can create multiple keys if you need to (some users prefer to do this if they are installing each theme purchase on a different domain).

envato-api-key

Download, Install & Activate The Envato WordPress ToolKit Plugin

Now that you have your API key, you’ll need to get the plugin. Visit the Envato WordPress Toolkit Github page to download the plugin zip file.

download-toolkit-zip

You install the Envato WordPress Toolkit just like any other plugin. Login to you WordPress dashboard and navigate to the plugins section. Click Add New, then select the Upload method. Browse for the plugin file you downloaded from Github (it should be named “envato-wordpress-toolkit-master.zip” or something similar). Click Install Now, then Activate the plugin.

install-envato-toolkit-plugin

Once installed and active you should see an Envato Toolkit menu item in your dashboard.

Setting Up The Envato WordPress Toolkit

Setting up the plugin is super easy since you already have your Envato API key. Simply click on the Envato Toolkit menu item in your dashboard and enter in your Envato username and API key. Then Save your settings.

add-your-api-key

Once saved, the toolkit should recognize your API key and display all of your Themeforest purchases. If the plugin doesn’t recognize your API key it’s possible your key is still too new. Remember I mentioned that it can take a few minutes or a few hours? Try clearing your cache or refreshing your browser, and if that doesn’t work then wait it our by reading our WordPress blog for an hour and try again in an hour.

see-all-purchases

So, once you have your list of purchases displayed you can install and update your Themeforest themes right from your dashboard. This means you don’t have to login to Themeforest to check for theme updates – you can quickly, easily and automatically update your themes instead.

Automatically Update Your Themes

All you have to do to update a theme is click on the Update Automatically link for that theme in your toolkit. The plugin will prompt you to confirm your update. This is to remind you that if you’ve edited your stylesheet or other core files without using a child theme you will lose your changes. Don’t worry about the styling options you’ve set in the WordPress Theme Customizer or in the Theme Options Panel – those options will not be effected by updating your theme.

confirm-update

Since you always follow best practices and you have used a child theme for any changes to the theme’s code, click OK to update your theme. Next you’ll see an update screen that your used to.

update-theme

Once the update is complete, if you go back to the Envato Toolkit tab you’ll see that your theme is now up to date.

toolkit-up-to-date

That’s it. Easy right? Just check the Envato WordPress Toolkit Github page from time to time to see if there’s a plugin update. At the moment it doesn’t feature an auto updater so you won’t see an update notification in your WordPress dashboard.

It’s always a good idea to fully update your themes since authors are frequently fixing bugs, updating for the latest version of WordPress and adding new features. Hopefully this quick tutorial will help help make updating your Themeforest themes even easier!

Kyla
Post Author: Kyla

Hi! My name is Kyla, and I'm the VP at WPE. Although I'm still new to WordPress, I love every bit and I have fun sharing what I learn with all of you!

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.
Got something to say? Join the discussion.
  1. Onur Demirsoy says:
    What if we have multiple Envato accounts? Is there any solution for this
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      You would still only have 1 theme running on a website at a time, so you would create an API for that site with the account you used to purchase that specific theme.
      Admin
  2. TonyBB says:
    Kyla, Thanks for sharing this great tutorial. MUST Bookmark for all Wordpress Themes Developers on ThemeForest. It'd definitely SAVE time on support. Do you have any information about plans for making the toolkit for Joomla! Templates?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      I'm not sure if there are any plans for making it available for Joomla, but it would be a good idea if possible!
      Admin
  3. David Tiong says:
    Hi Kyla, thanks for sharing this plugin, I use Envato and didn't even know about this feature. Do you know if it works for plugin updates, or if it's just for theme updates from Themeforest? Another question if you know, how would this work if I purchase themes for clients and install on their WordPress sites? Could I just create multiple apis, or is better to setup a separate account for them, then create an api for each site this way? Again thanks for sharing this valuable tool. David
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi David, At the moment I think it's only for themes. If you are setting up client sites I would recommend you use your own API for this, simply because if you create multiple accounts if you ever need support you won't have to be login in and out of your different accounts to request support. That said, you might not want to provide them with updates once they stop paying you so in that case it may be good. Just have to weight out the pros/cons I guess.
      Admin
  4. Sourav K says:
    Sourav K
    This is the best thing to happen to developers and WordPress newbies: 1. Counters piracy 2. Saves enormous time for the developers Hail Evanto! :D
    Contributor
  5. Christin Fernandez says:
    I downloaded and installed it, but it doesn't show up in the dashboard like it's supposed to. I refreshed. I logged out and back in. Nothing. What do I do now?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Are you running a Multi-site installation Christin? I'm fairly certain either you would have to network activate it or it won't work on MS.
      Admin
  6. Justin Hemsley says:
    I also downloaded, installed, and activated it but it still doesn't show up in the dashboard. I have tried multiple times to no avail. Any ideas?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Are you by any chance on Bluehost? For some reason it won't work on this host.
      Admin
      • scottlungwitz says:
        AJ, I am on Bluehost and having the problem described. Is there another way to set this up?
        • scottlungwitz says:
          I continued to read the comments below and saw the answer, thanks.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      If you ask BlueHost about it and they help you fix it, I'm curious to know the fix!!
      Admin
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      It won't work on WP multisite and also there are some known issues with some hosts such as Bluehost.
      Admin
  7. Kevin says:
    I installed this a few days ago, entered the correct info and my theme did show up under the Envato toolkit on the dashboard. However, it still hasn't shown that there's a new version available (I'm on Total 1.39 and the newest one is 1.5.4). How can I fix this?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Edit the theme's style.css file and change the version number to 1.0 and that should fix it up so the auto update shows up. It's a bug with me changing my version naming convension.
      Admin
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Contact Hostgator, I think the toolkit doesn't work on their servers for some reason. Maybe if enough people complain they will fix it.
      Admin
  8. Elise says:
    The Envato plugin is not showing up in the left-hand sidebar of my dashboard. I called JustHost (my provider); the tech looked at the zip folder and found just an "assets" and "includes" file. Apparently this is much less than most plugins have. He reviewed the "readme" and that didn't shed any light on the situation. His best suggestion was that some files are missing from the plugin. Please help!!
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      For some reason on some of the more affordable hosting solutions the auto updates don't work, this includes JustHost, BlueHost and a few others. I don't know the exact reason why, but it has something to do with the way their servers are setup unfortunately. By any chance do you have a plugin called "Mojo Marketplace" active? That plugin is known to conflict as well and prevent the Toolkit from working.
      Admin
  9. Elise says:
    De-activating the Mojo Marketplace plugin fixed the problem. I've gotten the theme installed correctly. Thanks so much for the help!!!
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Oh great! Thanks for letting me know, I wasn't 100% sure if that could cause the problem, so glad to know for sure! I am not a fan of the Mojo Market I used to be a part of it but it was nothing but stolen themes and poor authors (people rejected from ThemeForest). I am not sure if things have changed...maybe?
      Admin
  10. Elise says:
    I happened upon Themeforest by accident... I didn't even know there were other sources for Wordpress themes beside through Mojo. The only good theme from them I found is Cirrus, which is excellent. Now I realize by contrast how pathetic almost all their others are. Discovering Cirrus was the first I realized how much better it could get, and got me searching. Thanks for the help!!!
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Awesome, hopefully you had a chance to look at our Themes on ThemeForest ;) We have great ratings and some quality items on there!
      Admin
  11. heinimortensen says:
    Hi there. I have different problem, but it's a problem nevertheless :) So... I installed the Envato-plugin, and it showed up on the backend-menu. I clicked it, and entered Usr + API key, and clicked "Save settings", and the Themes-tab appeared next to the Settings-tab. I clicked the Themes-tab. I then clicked the "update automatically" on my current theme, and confirmed the dialog box, and instead of seing a usual WP-update view, I instead get a blank screen. Could this be due to some file writing permission issue?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      A blank screen normally means there is a PHP error, you'll want to enable WP_Debug on the server so you can see what the error is and be able to locate the problem.
      Admin
  12. UserName says:
    I'm on GoDaddy, and I wasn't able to activate the p[lug-in after download as it would give a fatal error: Fatal error: Cannot redeclare envato_backup_pclzip_callback() (previously declared in /home/content/p3pnexwpnas04_data01/45/2362245/html/wp-content/themes/heap/wpgrade-core/vendor/envato-wtl/class-envato-backup.php:866) in /home/content/p3pnexwpnas04_data01/45/2362245/html/wp-content/plugins/envato-wordpress-toolkit-master/includes/class-envato-backup.php on line 890 I just deleted my old theme and installed update. Could that be a problem? However, other plug-ins activated smoothly. Please, advise.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      According to the error it looks like the theme you are using has the plugin built-in already (and poorly done) so it gives this error. Contact your theme developer for help with this.
      Admin
  13. Alberto Era Ora Studio says:
    Hi, I have a problem: I downloaded, installed, but i can't activated the plugin! WHY? Thanks
  14. Gellert says:
    I installed the plugin and updated my theme to the latest version of 3.3 without any problem. (checked it in style.css) However the message remained "There is a new version of Magicreche available. View version 3.3 details or update automatically." and if I click on the "View version 3.3" I got a pop-up blank page. So it is kind of misleading now.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Try enabling WP_Debug on your server to see what the error could be on the blank page. Also you may want to try contacting the author of the Magicreche theme to see if they can help you out.
      Admin
  15. John Pawson says:
    I installed the plugin and it broke my site - internal server error. I've deactivated it and all is fine for now. Any ideas?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Enable WP_Debug on your server so you can see an actual error. If you see an internal error your server isn't properly displaying the actual errors (which is useful to see what's actually going on).
      Admin
  16. rakesh says:
    I've had problems with the Envato toolkit for a few weeks now. I cant update my theme and always get this error; Downloading install package from the Envato API… Unpacking the package… Installing the theme… Destination folder already exists. /home/MYDOMAIN/public_html/wp-content/themes/THEMENAME/ Theme install failed. Has anyone had this problem?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      That's very strange, because it should be replacing the existing folder...Honestly I have never heard of the issue, you may have to contact Envato support.
      Admin
  17. danstheaterwinkel says:
    HI i have the same problem. saying Destination folder already exists. /home/MYDOMAIN/public_html/wp-content/themes/THEMENAME/ pleas let me know if you have any ideas.
  18. Joshua says:
    I'm getting an error message trying to update my theme or download a new theme with this plugin. Update Theme Downloading upgrade package from the Envato API… Unpacking the update… Could not create directory. How can i fix this? I have IIS and it's has successfully created and the backups under envato-backups. Thanks for any help
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      It's most likely your server permissions are too strict so the updated theme can't be uploaded to your server. You'll need to fix up your server permissions, contact your host or ask the developer of the theme you are using for an alternative updating method.
      Admin
      • Joshua says:
        I gave full permissions to the system to avoid any permissions issues. That did not help, i asked the developer of the theme and they said to install the theme manually again. Which i did, but the tool so far is useless and doesn't provide a better error message than could not create directory.
        • AJ Clarke says:
          AJ Clarke
          You can open a support request on the Github page for this issue, but they will tell you the same thing - it is a server issue. Besides setting proper permissions to your folders on the server maybe make sure also that your ownership is also correct. On some servers you may have to use the chown command to give all files/folders the proper ownership.
          Admin
  19. Alan says:
    Hi, I am using the Reviver theme and I cannot edit any pages (all of a sudden). It was requested that I update the Reviver theme. I understand that I should be able to see the Reviver theme when selecting Envato Toolkit in WP Dashboard. It is not showing up. I am using HostGator which I did see a comment above referencing a potential issue with HostGator. Please advise. We really need to update our site and I am at a loss. Any help is appreciated.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      If you are using a premium theme you should contact the theme developer for assistance they should be able to help you. Usually if you have problems with not being able to edit your pages it means there is a javascript error on the page.
      Admin
  20. Thomas Birkeland says:
    When I click the installed Envato toolkit plugin I get a white screen saying "Error 503 Service Unavailable Service Unavailable XID: 1048685307" Any idea what to do?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Try contacting the plugin or theme author you are using to try and update.
      Admin
  21. Angela van der Wiel says:
    Hello, I to have a problem. I have installed Envato Wordpress Toolkit. It does appear on the left side bar and I have activated it. I have read that it could take a while for the API key could be "read". I have waited a long time and I still do not see the themes I bought. All I get is the settings tab. Any ideas? With kind regards, Angela
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Angela, I would recommend first trying to create a new API key and then testing again. If you still don't see any notice for updates either your products don't have updates or haven't been setup correctly and I would recommend seeking help from the theme/plugin developer.
      Admin
  22. mk230580 says:
    HI, I am buy three theme from themeforest, can i install tolkit for all three website and get update for all on each account .with three api key.
    • Kyla says:
      Kyla
      Yes! The Envato Toolkit is a free plugin - so just install it on each of the websites that you'll be using your premium themes on for the automatic updates.
      Admin
  23. Luis Simoes says:
    I have installed the plugin but I am getting 500 - Internal Server Error when trying to update. My hosting is Windows based...
    • Kyla says:
      Kyla
      If you checkout the comments above, we recommend enabling wp_debug on your server so you can see what the actual server error is. If you see an internal error your server isn’t properly displaying the actual errors.
      Admin
      • Luis Simoes says:
        When I change wp_debug to true I get the 500 internal server error imediately and I cannot use website anymore...
        • Kyla says:
          Kyla
          You'll need to contact your host then since this is a server error :-( Or you could try to contact the Envato author for the theme you're using to see if they can help you.
          Admin
  24. teresa says:
    I updated my API over an hour ago and none of my themes are showing up on the list in the plugin settings page. User name is definitely correct. What could be going wrong? This works for all Envato themes right?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      It should work for all Envato themes, however, if your theme is very old there may be an issue. I recommend contacting the theme author for support.
      Admin
  25. Krishnakumar KA says:
    If the theme author added many new plugins in the new theme release Envato tool kit will import that also for updating the theme?
    • Kyla says:
      Kyla
      That depends on how the theme author added the plugins to the theme. If they did it the right way like our Total theme ;-) where the plugin files are a part of the theme zip file, then yes the Toolkit will add and update plugins with theme updates. But, if the theme author is hosting the plugin files elsewhere the Toolkit won't be able to import the new plugins. You'll have to check your theme files or ask the theme author to confirm.
      Admin
      • lou says:
        Hi Kyla I have wordpress installed and would like to purchase a photography theme from themeforest. My domain and hosting is with Bluehost. Will i be able to download the files without any problem. Do i need this envato wordpress took kit or is that only for authors? At the moment i have another theme installed but would like to change to themeforest. thanks
        • Kyla says:
          Kyla
          You can definitely buy any theme from Themeforest and use it without the Envato Toolkit. The toolkit is just to help you manage theme updates from your WordPress dashboard. Instead of using the plugin you can just check the box on themeforest's item download page to be notified of item updates (but you'll have to log into themeforest each time to download the updated theme files then replace the files on your server via FTP). As for installing a theme without a hitch, most themes should install just fine. However there are quite a few very large themes that may require more PHP memory than your server has by default so you'll need to log into your server to increase your memory limit.
          Admin
  26. chrismaxcer says:
    How can I make the notices stop showing up in in my WordPress dashboard _without_ installing the plugins? RE: "Install the Envato Market plugin to get updates for your ThemeForest and CodeCanyon items." It's driving me nuts. Shows up for every post, every edit, everywhere I go. I click the little x to close it out, it reappears again and again. I install the plugin, so that just changes this notice to tell me to activate it. I don't want to activate it.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      What theme/plugins are you using? The Envato Toolkit plugin by default shouldn't be showing these notices it's most likely your theme or a plugin you are using suggesting that and you'll need to disable things 1 by 1 to see what's causing the notice (if you don't know how to look via the code) then contact the plugin or theme developer and ask how to disable that.
      Admin
  27. Bad Wolf Productions says:
    This actually broke my site today. I was updating my Total Theme, and it went through the stages before saying it failed to install because it couldn't remove my old theme - okay fair enough. I went in to have a look - the theme had gone, my site was running of TwentyFifteen and the Themes menu showed that two stylesheets were missing. All in all, theme torn apart and had to do a site restore.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      This isn't a known issue, we have A LOT of customers updating successfully with the plugin. If you are using the Total theme legally please submit a ticket if you want help with this matter and we can see what's going on. Thanks!
      Admin
  28. Jeroen says:
    Seeing some reactions above - doesn't work for me either. Asked for the API code, filled that in and it tells it can't download it from the Envato market. It is a legal theme and only installed on that website :) but nice effort.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Sometimes creating a new API key will fix the issue. If you are a member of Envato from a long time ago your API key may be old and you may have to generate a new one. You may want to also have a look at our new guide for the Envato Market plugin which is a newer plugin for updates.
      Admin
  29. Dom says:
    Hi, it just get stucked in Unpacking the update... and nothing happens. Any suggestion? Thanks.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      I would recommend trying to create a new Envato API key and testing again. If that doesn't work contact the theme seller and they should be able to help you and see if there is any issue on your server or with the plugin setup.
      Admin
  30. Krzysztof Kucharzyk says:
    Im having a problem with this updater. All I have is this message: Theme has not been installed. View version 1.2.8 details or install automatically. Yet I have my theme installed. Is this API key problem that I have to wait a lil bit longer ? Or this might be a problem with a theme itself ?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Did you rename the folder that your theme is in via FTP or the theme itself? You may need to contact the developer of the theme you are trying to install to get this resolved. Unfortunately I have not run into that issue yet.
      Admin
  31. Georgie says:
    is this plugin still available? I can't seem to find it anymore in wordpress?? Is there an alternative anyone knows of? Thanks :)
    • Kyla says:
      Kyla
      Since this is a tool specifically for the premium themes on Themeforest you have to download the plugin files from the Envato Toolkit Github page (WordPress.org doesn't support premium non-GPL themes). As for an alternative Envato also released the Envato Market Plugin which is in Beta, or depending on the theme you're using some developers offer their own autoupdate systems. But usually the only alternative for updating your theme is to do it the old-fashioned manual way by replacing the theme files on your server via FTP/SFTP.
      Admin
  32. petimi says:
    since the latest WP update (4.5.2) this plugin causes a Fatal error on activation
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      I wasn't able to recreate the error, it should be working just fine still. Maybe re-download it from Github to make sure you are using the latest version of the plugin. However, we now recommend the newer Envato Marketplace plugin instead.
      Admin
  33. Iliana Incandela says:
    This didn't work for me, I keep getting this message... can someone help? I am just a designer so I don't know all the back end jargon-- install for dummies please :) Downloading install package from the Envato API… Unpacking the package… Installing the theme… Destination folder already exists. /home2/ilianain/public_html/wp-content/themes/lush/ Theme install failed.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      You should contact the developer of the theme that you are trying to update so they can help. You may need to fix your server permissions so that the old theme can be removed.
      Admin
  34. Iliana Incandela says:
    Having this problem.... Can anyone help? Downloading install package from the Envato API… Unpacking the package… Installing the theme… Destination folder already exists. /home/MYDOMAIN/public_html/wp-content/themes/THEMENAME/ Theme install failed.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      When updating it should be deleting the old theme before trying to install the new one. You may need to check to make sure permissions are correct on the server so that the older version can be removed prior to replacing it with the new one.
      Admin
  35. Kevin says:
    Thanks for the explanation. But I got error: ` Downloading upgrade package from the Envato API… Download failed. Could not open handle for fopen() to............ ` Suggestions?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      This looks like a server related error. You can contact your webhost about this to see if they can assist, sounds like the file downloads fine from Envato but can't be uploaded to your server. You could also try the new Envato Market plugin to see if you have the same error. We'll be creating a guide soon for that one but it works basically the same way.
      Admin

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