Creative Freedom in a World Full of Themes

Not everyone is a talented designer, and project timelines and budgets sometimes rule out launching a completely custom site. In these cases, MODX wasn’t always the best fit.

But the world is full of folks with personal projects and side gigs as sitebuilders for which MODX should work just as well. Based on numbers alone, it’s a huge opportunity—Netcraft identified over 920-million websites in their February 2014 website survey.

Matt Mullenweg credited much of WordPress’ meteoric rise with the availability of tons of great-looking themes, not a bad strategy to emulate for increasing MODX adoption. Yet to date only a few high-quality ready-to-install MODX themes have been available.

Enter ThemeForest

In August, 2013, we started talking with ThemeForest, the world’s leading provider of professionally designed website themes. They noticed buzz building around MODX and were intrigued. When we shared our story, they wanted in.

Given that ThemeForest is one of the busiest sites on the Internet, we are equally as excited to announce the next revolution of MODX, pardon the pun: MODX themes at ThemeForest. The initial themes are gorgeous, and there is much more to come. MODX Themes install like any other MODX Add-on, with just a couple of clicks inside the Manager.

Build a Side Business. Or a Career.

I bet you didn’t know that more than one individual ThemeForest authors has sold over two-million dollars in themes. You can likewise start a great side business, or even earn a living, building and selling themes at ThemeForest. Starting is as easy as just signing up as a ThemeForest author. It’s an awesome way to gain exposure and make money, too.

For Front-end developers who don’t code PHP, MODX is a perfect launchpad for CMS sites. If you know HTML and CSS, you know how to design for MODX. If you already create themes for other platforms, you’ll likely find MODX refreshingly straightforward.

Learn how to turn your HTML prototypes into MODX-powered masterpieces in our Markup to MODX videos. For existing MODXers, we created a tool to package MODX themes. It will be in public beta on Github soon, and will make earning money with ThemeForest even easier. If you want early access and to help us test it, let us know.

Welcome ThemeForest

To celebrate our ThemeForest launch, we’re putting the finishing touches on our own theme-based site redesign. Simpler language, improved organization, and a long-overdue mobile responsive template. Look for a preview soon.

Welcome aboard, ThemeForest!

Ryan is a Christian, the lucky husband of an amazing wife, and father of two usually great kids. A native redneck from East Texas living in Dallas for over 20 years, he's lost a bit of the verbal twang over the years, but still loves to get back to his roots over charcoal with a chunk of meat and a few frosty bevs. Ryan co-founded MODX in 2004, where he works every day helping build the company and its products.


  1. Adam Wintle
    Feb 06, 2014 at 06:46 PM
    and for anyone interested here's the link to the section on Theme Forest where there's already 5 themes in the marketplace :)

    1. Ryan Thrash
      Feb 06, 2014 at 09:05 PM
      Thanks Adam … missed linking that up in the article the first pass through from the editing in Google Docs.

      1. Robert Ross
        Feb 06, 2014 at 09:44 PM

        1. Benjamin Morrison
          Feb 06, 2014 at 10:36 PM
          Very nice to see and should help with adoption, even if it just gets the Modx name out there more. However, the themes are a bit more expensive than even most Wordpress themes. It does take more effort to create than straight HTML of course, but (and maybe I am wrong) less than WP. The price point may be a bit of a deterrent to purchasing.

          1. Mark Hamstra
            Feb 07, 2014 at 10:53 AM
            I suspect the prices are bit higher because it's still new, and that there's only a limited amount of themes available currently. Many of those theme developers also had to learn MODX for the themes, so over time that will probably go down.

            Still, less than 60 bucks for a nice design already integrated? If anyone can beat that with a custom design, please do let me know as I would love to hire you... :P

          2. Gauke Pieter
            Feb 07, 2014 at 06:51 AM
            Congrats, very nice!

            1. Robert Ross
              Feb 07, 2014 at 09:11 AM
              Would be interesting to see what Extras are required and if they come with package.

              1. Chris Todhunter
                Feb 07, 2014 at 10:35 AM
                Anyone know how these themes are packaged up for distribution? Presumably they'll have some dependencies - getresources, wayfinder etc. so would be interested to see just how easy they are for a novice modx user to install

                1. Andrew Smith
                  Feb 07, 2014 at 10:40 AM
                  Be a good sport and buy one and let us know.

                  1. William Åström
                    Feb 07, 2014 at 10:41 AM
                    If no one else does it, ill write a tutorial in about two months. Wish i could jump on it directly but i got other projects. But a tutorial about this is definitely necessary i think to make sure more people create themes.

                    1. Andrew Smith
                      Feb 07, 2014 at 10:46 AM
                      I'm sure the MODX team will give some more insight into this soon. I guess give them a few days for another blog post.

                  2. Jay Gilmore
                    Feb 07, 2014 at 10:45 AM

                    The themes are packaged using a tool we built to allow theme authors to bundle their themes and dependent extras and elements. It has a variety of options and install options menu to allow these themes to be installed via PackageManagement as you would any locally installed extra, i.e., upload to core>packages and run Search Locally for Addons, then install.

                    1. Andrew Smith
                      Feb 07, 2014 at 10:52 AM
                      Does this mean I cant install one of these themes on a existing website?

                      1. Jay Gilmore
                        Feb 07, 2014 at 10:55 AM
                        Andrew, I'd have to defer to YJ on this, but I believe, it depends on the options selected by the theme Author using the Theme Packager tool. From what I understand it's optional and if you can install on an existing site it will ask during the installation.

                    2. YJ Tso
                      Feb 07, 2014 at 11:07 AM
                      Andrew, you *can* install the themes into an existing site, as long as:

                      1. You choose the "Add" instead of "Overwrite" option, assuming you want to keep your existing stuff.
                      2. You are ok with some potential bugs around uninstalling, and some configuration work (like changing templates, maybe changing some Resource IDs in snippet calls, etc)

                      Admittedly, with our very limited time and resources, we targeted the tool for new installs. It works for existing, but in those cases we expected the user would know how to use MODX and be able to embark on some extra effort to integrate the theme. A "Theme Switching" system does not yet exist in MODX.

                      1. Menno Pietersen
                        Feb 07, 2014 at 11:27 AM
                        I am working very hard on my Theme! Going good...
                        Bought the Photographer theme, looks cool on the front end, not impressed with the theme backend and MODX integration.

                        Does not use articles, Wayfinder or smart templates.. So I plan to provide competition to those WordPress ThemeForest Authors!

                        1. Robert Ross
                          Feb 10, 2014 at 10:35 AM
                          It would be good to know what is and isn't used. Listing Bootstrap is great as it's good to know which framework is used for the template, but knowing what Extras are used is also essential.

                          Having to go in and setup Wayfinder, Articles, pThumb, etc. isn't really that much better than buying a straight HTML theme. All the chunks, templates, template variables, permissions, forms customization, etc. should be complete, documented, and ready to go. You might change a thing here and there but if you have to setup all of these things then just get any HTML template.

                          1. patrick percy
                            Feb 21, 2014 at 08:21 AM
                            I don't want to be a spoilsport, but I strongly recommend to test those "responsive" templates on a couple of mobile devices. If speed is important for you, I would also have a look at that aspect.

                            I did some tests today and I noticed some "issues"...

                            Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of drop-in templates for 50 bucks, but there are a couple of trees in the forrest that literally burn your money. Expect to spend some quality time on modifying and optimizing code.

                            1. Jay Gilmore
                              Feb 21, 2014 at 08:31 AM
                              You're not being a 'spoilsport' at all. For web designers and developers that care about performance and optimization, any Theme will need to be optimized. For those DIY folks who want to "click button, make website" they will be more than happy with these themes. Most MODX users will fall into the former camp. I think it will be great when MODX-based designers start building and selling TF themes as they will likely be much more performant.

                              This is the nature of ready to use themes in general. They are designed to look good and give DIY site admins the ability to get up and running with attractive themes. People who have the budgets, be they on WP or Joomla need should be factoring in time to optimize, for sure.

                          2. Robert Ross
                            Feb 07, 2014 at 12:00 PM
                            How does one get a hold of this Theme Tool?

                            1. g5604
                              Feb 10, 2014 at 05:18 AM
                              I am really keen to get hold of the new package as well!

                              1. Ryan Thrash
                                Feb 10, 2014 at 10:40 AM
                                The themes can be bundled with any Add-ons as dependencies, including how to deal with them when they're already installed, etc. It's still early beta for the packaging tool, so testing is definitely in order. Really it's a mini-distribution, if you will.

                                To get access to it, we're collecting interested parties from the "let us know" link in the second to last paragraph above.

                                1. Mark Ernst
                                  Feb 13, 2014 at 07:11 AM
                                  Well, to be honest, for me, MODX as a community contributed project is getting more and more attractive again. When I heard Shaun left MODX I feared the worst, especially when it was notably quiet around MODX and the update interval slowed down to minus 30.

                                  With 2.3 kicking off in a couple of months (one may always hope), a "new Manager interface" contest and now a collab with ThemeForest, I might be starting to develop some of my themes for MODX again! I'm getting more excited by every post, keep it up guys!

                                  1. Mark Ernst
                                    Feb 13, 2014 at 07:13 AM
                                    These posts need an edit function...

                                    I am interested in taking part in that beta Ryan, we'd love to use it for further implementations.

                                  2. Menno Pietersen
                                    Feb 14, 2014 at 06:12 PM
                                    I am really starting to make more progress on my MODX ThemeForest theme: IVORY.
                                    Just some details of what I am doing...

                                    IVORY will include:
                                    - search
                                    - blog
                                    - custom layouts
                                    - responsive Wayfinder menu
                                    - automatic sitemap
                                    - SEO optimization+ options
                                    - image gallery
                                    - image slider
                                    - retina support
                                    - many page options
                                    - responsive grid
                                    - site options for colors, layout and more

                                    Build tools I am using:
                                    - Foundation 5
                                    - SASS + Compass
                                    - Grunt

                                    MODX packages I am using for build:
                                    - The new package... (see "let us know" link)
                                    - Element Helper
                                    - cssSweet

                                    Packages used in theme so far:
                                    - ClientConfig
                                    - Wayfinder
                                    - pThumb
                                    - Articles
                                    - MIGX
                                    - SimpleSearch
                                    - TinyMCE (want Redactor but need some theme deal with MODmore)
                                    - Gallery (same as above)
                                    - getRecources

                                    1. Ryan Thrash
                                      Feb 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM
                                      If anyone wants to play and create issues for the theme builder, please have at it … it's wide open now:


                                      1. Roca Oliveira
                                        Feb 25, 2014 at 05:27 AM
                                        It's very good!

                                        1. Menno Pietersen
                                          Jul 15, 2014 at 04:51 AM
                                          CORPO theme for MODX is for sale at:
                                          49 euro for the ultimate MODX template.

                                          TF would not accept it after many improvements, so I decided to sell myself.

                                          1. Menno Pietersen
                                            Feb 20, 2015 at 04:49 PM
                                            For the latest and best MODX themes visit:

                                            To leave a comment, please Login.