Everything you need to know to upgrade to Responsive 4.0.0

We are super excited to bring you a modern, responsive and faster than ever before Responsive 4.0.0. It will be released sometime soon (early December).

It’ll come with major changes to conform with W3C HTML standards, simplified customization options, and improvements to the overall experience of new users.

Overtime as WP has evolved, there are some features that are no longer relevant or can be done using the new customizer and Gutenberg. Considering this, some of the older features in Responsive 3.x.x will be removed in Responsive 4.0.0. These features are now possible using an alternative way.

Some of these major changes may break your existing website’s design. To get back to your design, you may need to reconfigure some of the settings which will be covered here.

And like always our support team will be here to assist you. Create a ticket or contact us for help.

In this article, we look at the changes in Responsive 4.0.0, why we’re making them, how they may affect your website, and how to fix them.

Let’s get started:

Responsive theme HTML markup changes

A lot has changed in HTML, Javascript, and CSS. Today, HTML5 and CSS3 help us design websites that were either too difficult to do or simply impossible in the past.

The Responsive theme has tried to keep up with these changes.

Since its first release in 2012, Responsive has come a long way. Over these releases, markup and styles were added to the theme to add new customization features. And as with any software, this has gone out-of-date making it difficult to:

  • Conform to the W3C HTML standards
  • And, add new features to the Responsive theme

That’s why Responsive 4.0.0 will come with new and improved HTML markup and CSS styles. This will not only improve your website but also help us add new features to the theme.

How will this change affect your website?

Changes to HTML markup will break your website’s design if:

  1. You’re using a child theme with Responsive as the parent theme and have styles based on old HTML structure.
  2. Or, you have added custom styles/scripts to the Responsive theme

If you’re using the Responsive theme without any custom changes of your own, your website should continue to work as it was before. However, you may notice some minor (but good) changes to the design.

How to fix?

Child Theme issues:

If you’re using a child theme with Responsive as the parent theme and don’t want to make any changes to your website:

  1. Rollback to Responsive 3.x.x using the Responsive Add-ons plugin.
  2. Disable automatic updates of the Responsive theme.
  3. Stay with the Responsive 3.x.x version till you’re ready to update your child theme.

However, if you are willing to make changes to your child theme, we’ll shortly be publishing a migration guide. It’s best that you hire a WordPress developer to help you with this.

If you’ve added your own custom styles to the Responsive theme, we recommend that you remove these styles. And use the Responsive theme’s customization options to style your website.


Responsive theme navigation menu changes

Responsive 3.x.x supports 4 navigation menus.

  • Top Menu – Appears before the site header
  • Header Menu – Default navigation menu that appears next to the site branding
  • Sub-header Menu – Appears after the site header
  • Footer Menu – Appears in the site footer

Responsive 4.0.0 will remove the Top Menu and the Sub-header Menu. It will continue to have the other two navigation menus:

  • Header Menu – Same as before but with options to position before, after or in the site header
  • Footer Menu – Same as before

We are making these changes to better comply with accessibility standards, and make Responsive lightweight and easy to use.

How will this change affect your website?

This will affect your website only if you’re currently using either the Top or the Sub-header menu.

How to fix?

If your current menu’s location is set to the Top Menu or Sub-header Menu:

  1. Set your current menu’s location to the Header Menu.
  2. Go to Appearance > Customizer > Menu.
  3. Set the Header Menu position to “Above Header” to make it appear above the site header, or “Below Header” To make it appear below the site header.

If you use both the Top Menu & Header Menu, your Top Menu will not appear on your website. To make the Top Menu appear:

  1. Go to Appearance > Widgets.
  2. Add the ‘Navigation Menu’ widget to the Header sidebar.
  3. Select your previous Top Menu in the widget to make it appear on your website.

Responsive theme page template changes

After Responsive 4.0.0, following page templates will no longer be available:

  • Blog full post
  • Blog 3 Column
  • Blog Excerpt Summary
  • Content/Sidebar
  • Content/Sidebar Half
  • Sidebar/Content
  • Sidebar/Content Half
  • Landing Page
  • Sitemap

Responsive 4.0.0 will have all the customizer options to design blog, single post or page templates. This makes these templates obsolete.

How will this change affect your website?

Pages on your website using any of the above page templates will now start showing with the default page template.

How to fix?

You can change the default page layout from the customizer options. To do that:

  1. Go to Appearance > Customize.
  2. Make changes to the default page layout from Page > Layout.

The ‘Full Width Page (no sidebar)’ page template will be available in Responsive 4.0.0 as well. This template is useful to design landing pages using the new Block Editor introduced in WordPress 5.0.

To apply the ‘Full Width Page (no sidebar)’ template for a page.

  • Edit the page.
  • Set the page template to ‘Full Width Page (no sidebar)’ from Page Settings > Page Attributes > Template.
  • Save the page.

Responsive theme widget area changes

After Responsive 4.0.0, following widget areas will no longer be available:

  • Left Sidebar
  • Left Sidebar Half Page
  • Right Sidebar
  • Right Sidebar Half Page
  • Gallery Sidebar
  • Colophon Widget
  • Footer Widget

The ‘Top Widget’ sidebar will be renamed to ‘Header Widgets’.

The footer will get four new widget areas — Footer Widgets 1 to Footer Widgets 4. You can use the below widget areas to create a fat footer design.

How will this change affect your website?

Any widgets you’ve added to the above-removed widget areas will not be visible on your website.

How to fix?

Move these widgets to the ‘Main Sidebar’ widget area from Appearance > Widgets. 

You can also customize the position and width of the Sidebar from Appearance > Customize.


Theme rollback moves to Responsive Add-ons

According to the WordPress.org Theme Handbook, a theme should not add any critical functionality.

We always strive to conform 100% with WordPress theme guidelines. This helps us keep the theme’s code at the highest quality. It also ensures that you get continuous access to the Responsive theme’s fixes and updates.

That’s why we’re moving the theme’s Rollback feature to the Responsive Add-ons plugin.

How will this change affect your website?

This change will not affect your website in any way.

However, if you have auto-updates enabled on your website, you’ll not be able to roll back to a previous version from Responsive 4.0.0.

How to get the rollback feature?

The rollback feature will now be available via the Responsive Add-ons plugin. Here’s how you can install the Responsive Add-ons plugin:

  1. Download the Responsive Add-ons plugin.
  2. Go to your website’s WordPress Admin Dashboard > Plugins > Add New
  3. Upload, install and activate the Responsive Add-ons plugin.

You should now be able to rollback the Responsive theme from the Appearance > Themes > Responsive theme popup.


How to stop auto-upgrades for the Responsive theme?

The easiest way to do this is by installing and activating the Disable Updates Manager plugin.

After activating the plugin, follow the below instructions:

Go to Admin Dashboard > Plugins > Click on “Configure” under Easy updates manager

On the next page go to “Themes” and switch theme updates to “Blocked” for the Responsive theme.


Excited about Responsive 4.0.0?

We are. And you must be too.

Use this article as a guide to help you migrate smoothly to Responsive 4.0.0. The major changes coming to Responsive 4.0.0 are:

  • Responsive theme HTML markup changes
  • Responsive theme navigation menu changes
  • Responsive theme page template changes
  • Responsive theme widget area changes
  • Theme rollback moves to Responsive Add-ons

Finally, in case you need any help, we’ll be here. Create a ticket or contact us for help.

11 comments on “Everything you need to know to upgrade to Responsive 4.0.0
  1. Magda van Tilburg says:

    Dear Cyberchimps, the Responsive Add-ons plugin is not known in the WP dashboard, when I ask for a new plugin. When is it available?

    • sandeep says:

      Please search for “Responsive Ready Sites Importer” from your WordPress Plugin Area to find the plugin from wordpress.org

  2. PPNSteve says:

    How do you Disable automatic updates of the Responsive theme. (only)?

  3. worldmaker says:

    Where exactly is the rollback feature in the Responsive Add-ons plugin (which I see named as Responsive Ready Sites Importer)?

    Or is there a separate plugin which isn’t linked here?

    NOTE: your article, refers to “Download the Responsive Add-ons plugin.” but the link is to a WordPress article. You need to edit this article for clarity.

  4. CarolH says:

    Really glad to see these updates are being made to Responsive Theme. Just a few comments/questions though:

    1. It’s very confusing when you call your plugin “Responsive Add-Ons” but then refer to “Responsive Ready Sites Importer”. Are they really the same?

    2. I installed and activated “Responsive Ready Sites Importer”, but I don’t see where there is a rollback option. How would I roll back there if I needed to?

    3. I have a child theme, and my updates don’t ever come automatically. I didn’t see any code in my wp-config.php file regarding updates. Is the child theme somehow keeping auto updates from happening? I prefer to handle my own updates, so if that’s the case, that’s great! I just don’t want to be caught unawares and have the new Responsive Theme 4.0 be installed automatically before I’m ready.

    4. How long after the 4.0 version will you be supporting 3.X versions?

    5. A general comment…December is a rough time for businesses to be handling a major overhaul like this with the holidays and lots of traffic and business being done. Any way the rollout could be after the new year to avoid glitches at the holiday?

    Sorry for so many questions. Thank you!

  5. Ian Dale says:

    Not really impressed when you say’f you are willing to make changes to your child theme, we’ll shortly be publishing a migration guide.’ The new release is here already – shouldn’t the migration guide be released at the same time. It’s not really professional to release an ‘upgrade’ which could possibly break someone’s site and your only option is to roll back to a previous release. For years I was very happy with your theme, but over the last 6 months various changes have taken place which have affected my site. We were encouraged to use child themes as these were supposed to be unaffected by news versions of the parent theme.I pity anyone who had their site developed by a web-designer and thought that was the end of it, they obviously will have to keep paying out to keep their site working and up-to-date.

    • shachi.arkatkar says:

      Hey Ian, The migration guide will be provided before the release. Responsive 4.0.0 is not launched yet. Please be assured, the guide will be provided before the launch. If you want to continue using 3.40 version, we would advise you to stop auto-updates and continue with the same version. We are glad you have trusted us so far and we plan to deliver a better experience to you! Our support team will always be here to assist you.

  6. Mark says:

    Wouldn’t it have been easier on everyone to just create Responsive2 and let people switch when they wanted, rather than have roll-backs and blocks?

    • shachi.arkatkar says:

      Hey Mark, we understand the hesitation, but these changes are made to improve your site performance. The code of the existing theme is updated to comply with W3C standards. We have also simplified the design options to make it easy for you to manage all settings from the customizer.

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