X – The Ultimate WordPress Theme Review

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X is billed as the ‘last WordPress theme you’ll ever have to buy’. This bold claim refers to the fact that it includes multiple designs within the one package. The developers of this theme have called these unique designs Stacks and the package currently includes four different stacks, with more planned for the future.

Unlike some other themes that include skins and the ability to change the appearance using custom settings, these stacks really are unique designs. The X theme also includes a powerful set of options for customising the stacks which goes a long way to ensuring no two installations of this theme will look the same.

When creating this theme and its stacks, the developers consulted with a range of expert internet entrepreneurs. This exchange tool place in order to solicit advice on what features and design concepts should be included to make this the best WordPress theme on the market for anyone wishing to build a successful website.

With such high ambitions, this definitely seems like a theme with potential and one that is worth a closer look. Read on for our in-depth review of the X theme by themeco.

Stacks for X theme

X 3.0 – Update: Lots More Functionality

Sales of X are showing no signs of slowing down, with over 32,000 sales and counting. To highlight the developers’ commitment to this theme, version 3.0 of X has recently been released and it includes some great new features.

The team behind X has been busy working on creating over a dozen new WordPress plugins, covering a range of uses, from building custom newsletter sign up forms and direct email list integration, to tools for white labelling X for use on client sites. These premium extension plugins are now available to those who have purchased the X theme, giving them lots of extra useful functionality.

To make it as easy as possible to install these new premium plugins, they can be added to your site from the add-on section of the theme control panel, located on your WordPress dashboard. There’s no need to download and upload the plugin files, as they can all be installed directly from your website.

Future plans for X include partnering with other WordPress plugin developers to bring their tools directly to the theme. The acclaimed Soliloquy slider plugin is one example that is already available to X users as part of the 3.0 upgrade.

X 2.0 – The Update

The original version of X quickly became the most popular new product at ThemeForest, (the marketplace where it is available from), racking up 25,000 sales in no time. However, the developers haven’t rested on their laurels and have recently released version 2.0 of this very popular but highly configurable WordPress theme. Among the new features that have found their way into this update include a new stack, which brings the total number of stacks up to four. For those unfamiliar with the term, the stacks are the unique designs which make up this theme. They are almost themes within a theme and give you a whole set of design templates to work with when setting up your custom WordPress designs.

The New Ethos Stack

The new stack which has been added to the X theme version 2.0 is entitled Ethos and its designed for those wishing to use a magazine-style layout for their WordPress website. The key features of the magazine-layout Ethos stack – this new theme within a theme – include a featured content carousel, real-time filterable categories, and multiple options for displaying featured images for blog posts. You can also experiment with your copywriting by giving each post two titles: one which is displayed on the list of blog posts, and one which is displayed on the single post page. The Ethos stack also comes with its own accordion shortcodes to provide extra content presentation possibilities.

The New Mega Menu FeatureAs well as the new stack, another big addition to the X theme in this updated version is support for mega menus, a feature made popular by the UberMenu plugin. This means you can add impressive looking and highly functional menus to your WordPress site using this new feature and ensure they are styled in order to blend right in with the X 2.0 stack you are using. In fact each stack has its own unique styling for these mega menus to make sure they seamlessly integrate with the rest of the theme. Version 2.0 of the X theme has built upon the success of the first version to add a good selection of options and features to an already highly flexible WordPress theme.

Main Features

As mentioned, one of the key selling points of this theme is its ability to offer multiple designs, all in the one package. The other highlight of the X theme is the method for customising your site. Many premium themes come with their own theme options page which isn’t native to WordPress, and can therefore be painful to use. However, that isn’t the case here and X comes with a very intuitive feature they call the customizer, which is used for changing how your site looks.

Integrity Stack for X theme

The Stacks

As mentioned, this theme comes with four separate designs which are referred to as Stacks. While they can all be heavily customised, they are the foundation of everything you do with X. While there are more stacks on the way, the four available at the time of writing are:

Unlike child themes, the stacks are individual designs and are very much separate entities. However, you can still create child themes for each stack. This allows you to make changes as you would with any other theme. In fact, there are a number of child themes included in the X theme package to help you get started.

Customizer

The X customizer might look familiar as it has been built upon the native WordPress theme customisation menu. However, it’s been vastly upgraded to give you more control over how your site looks and functions.

The customizer allows you to do pretty much anything that affects the appearance of your site, including:

  • Change the stack
  • Header placement
  • Menu placement
  • Sidebar position
  • Boxed or full width
  • Colours
  • Fonts
  • Buttons
  • Background
  • Logos

Not only can all of the above modifications be made at the touch of a button, they can all be previewed live within the same browser window. The days of applying and refreshing are over with this theme. It’s also worth pointing out that while the changes can be previewed live, they aren’t visible to any visitors to your site until you confirm them.

A really great feature of the customizer is the ability to import and export your settings. This means that you can create a site exactly how you want it, then export the configuration, and then import it on another site that has this theme installed, to quickly recreate the same look and feel. For anyone building sites for clients, the benefits should be obvious.

One Page Homepages

In a recent update to this already highly versatile theme, the ability to create single page homepages was added. One page homepages have become a very popular web design trend in recent months and by adding this type of layout to the theme, it gives even more credibility the developers’ claim that this is the last WordPress theme you will ever need to buy.

The one page homepages that can be built using X feature a fixed horizontal navigation menu, which when clicked, gracefully scrolls the visitor down to the relevant sub-section of the page. The scrolling works really well in both directions and the full-width design looks excellent. So now thanks to this update, this already featured-packed theme has had another string added to its bow.

View the one page homepage demo

Functionality via Shortcodes

Some premium themes include many of their core functionality as part of the theme itself. This can include features such as layouts, buttons, forms and many other page elements. This means that when you change themes, most of your content is broken and no longer renders in the way it did when you created it.

Shortcode plugin example

Thankfully the developers of X have included a custom plugin that contains shortcodes (40 at the last count) for much of the functionality of the theme. This means should you ever switch to another theme, you won’t be left with a massive clean-up job to undertake, fixing post content. That is of course provided you leave the plugin installed.  Not being tied into a theme makes it an easier decision to install it in the first place.

eCommerce Support

The theme is also a suitable choice for anyone building an eCommerce store as it full integrates with the free and ever popular WooCommerce shop builder plugin. Each stack comes with its own online store design, so anyone building an online store doesn’t miss out on the selection of individual site designs that come with this theme.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is a must. With a growing number of users visiting websites on their smartphones and tablets, it’s not acceptable to offer a theme that isn’t usable on small screen devices. Thankfully the stacks that come with this theme swiftly respond to match screens of all sizes, thanks to their fluid layouts.

Appearance

There are many features of the X theme that are related to appearance and it seems a shame to lump them together, but for the sake of brevity here are some of the highlights:

  • 600 fonts included
  • Backgrounds support images, patterns and solid colours as well as multiple images that transition on single posts
  • Icon fonts for adding 400 individual responsive icons to your posts
  • Retina ready with support for high resolution displays
  • Customised social sharing buttons
  • Includes all Photoshop PSD files

Due to all the control you have over the appearance of your site, there is little chance that two instances of X will look the same.

Example of Renew stack

Installation and Setup

The installation of X takes place in the usual way for a WordPress theme. Simply download the zip file from your account and then upload it via your WordPress admin dashboard (Appearance > Themes > Add New). Like many premium themes, it does require and recommend the installation of a couple of additional plugins. These are:

During the installation and setup process, the theme provides an easy way to install these plugins, which saves you having to track them down yourself.

Sometimes when purchasing a premium theme, it can be a bit of disappointment once it is installed and it looks nothing like the demo version that promoted you to make the purchase. Thankfully X comes with some demo content which can be imported to help start your site off on the right track. The support for this theme also includes some great walkthrough videos for configuring the theme.

Usage

With so many options, features and settings, you could be forgiven for thinking X is a tricky them to setup and use. Thanks to the decision to use an enhanced version of the native WordPress customizer for configuring the theme, there is no cumbersome theme options page to get to grips with.

However, I did find it quite time consuming to work my way through the sheer number of options that make up the customizer. If you do want to delve deep into the settings and truly create your own custom designs, such as changing the style of the buttons, modifying font sizes and editing margins, then you will have to put some effort into navigating the vast array of options on offer.

However, that is the price you pay for having this amount of control over the design of your site. It’s worth pointing out that if you are happy using the stacks as they are, then you can avoid spending the time exploring the options. Although you would be missing out on a great opportunity to really build something of your own.

Also, it would be nice to be able to reset the options once you’ve experimented with them and saved your configuration, should you not be happy with how it turns out. However, you can import the configuration file for each individual stack and its layout to apply those settings to your site, overwriting any changes you’ve made to the layout and appearance.

Icon stack example

Support

With a theme as vast as this, in terms of features and functionality, it does need some good support material to help you get started. Once again X does not disappoint. There are numerous support videos available to walk you through setting up the theme from installation to using the customizer and beyond.

Theme Support Videos

There is also a support forum for raising any issues you might have while working with X. When posting a query to the user forums, a reply with a solution was posted in under two hours, which is very impressive. Furthermore there is an extensive set of written documentation accessible via the members’ area. This provides a good alternative to the videos.

Also, as previously mentioned, this theme was built following the advice of successful internet entrepreneurs. The developers of the theme have included the input and guidance from 10 of those experts, in the forum of text and videos. They cover a range of subjects such as sales, affiliate marketing, design & conversions, local marketing and SEO. This additional content gives you a great insight into why the theme was built as it was and how you can ensure your site performs to its potential.

There is also a selection of training videos accessible from the members’ area which cover topics such as building a membership site, working with video and creating information products, to name but a few.

This theme is definitely well supported and the additional videos provide good value.

Popularity of X

Despite this theme only being made available in November 2013, thanks to its large number of sales it has already propelled the developers to Elite Author status at ThemeForest. Not only that, but it made them the fastest ever authors to reach Elite status at this leading WordPress marketplace.

However, despite this popularity there is little chance you will run into another WordPress site using X that has been configured in the same way. This is due to the sheer number of options available for setting up this theme. Not only do the four stacks give you countless options that relate to the overall design of your site, but the multiple settings covering layouts, backgrounds, colours, as well as the newly added ability to create one page homepages, it means that no two sites built using X are likely to look that same. If you want a theme with strong consumer support, but without the risk of your site looking the same as everyone else’s, X definitely has the credentials.

Pricing

The X theme is available from ThemeForest for the price of $63. While this is a bit more than the usual price of a premium theme on ThemeForest when you consider what you get for your money, it’s a fair price.

Conclusion

X really brings something extra to the table, in terms of the individual unique designs that are included in one package. The vast amount of options for configuring those templates also helps make it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to create something of their own, based on an already appealing design.

When you consider the additional videos from internet experts that are included, then the package comes with everything you need to create a site that not only looks good but performs well.

Buy X – The Ultimate WordPress Theme

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click on one of the links and purchase an item, we may receive a commission. All opinions are our own and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

36 Comments

  1. Awesome writeup. Great job. This X Theme is really a breakthrough in WordPress themes, and hopefully the start of a global trend in cutting edge UI and functionality for the backend of WordPress.

  2. One thing I noticed about X is that it dumps a ton of CSS into the HTML rather than keeping it isolated in a separate stylesheet. It might be the developer not being familiar with the tools yet, but my local community center is working on a new site using X and there’s nearly 600 lines of CSS bloat on each page.

  3. Hey Tom,

    We looked to see if you had purchased X and didn’t see you as a customer in our member area. Regarding your question, you’ll find this kind of CSS output in the head of nearly every major theme on the market due to the dynamic nature of certain features based on values set in the admin panel (in our case the Customizer). This is a very common practice and is something that is typically done to avoid any potential errors that can arise from specificity issues in multiple stylesheets. Loading the CSS directly onto the page ensures that these dynamic styles load correctly every time and that things look and function as they should.

    With X, performance is among one of our chief concerns with regards to development. We have done as much as we can on our end to ensure that X works in the most efficient manner possible with your content. For example, we dynamically load scripts only when they are needed, such as when a particular shortcode is present in your content or when a particular page is being viewed. This allows us to cut down on a lot of unnecessary bloat when browsing the theme. We also do this with styles, such as only loading in additional styles for WooCommerce and GravityForms only if those plugins are present and only on those pages. We do plenty of other things too like cut down on HTTP requests by combining our Google Font queries into one and dynamically size thumbnails of featured images based on your content width settings in the Customizer to ensure that your images are never larger than they need to be. These are just a small handful of examples that demonstrate the attention to detail we have put into X regarding performance. We have even had numerous users write in to tell us that their Google Pagespeed rankings have jumped to as high as a 94 when utilizing X over previous themes (along with proper asset management, gzipping server contents, compressing media, utilizing a CDN if possible, utilizing a good host and server environment, et cetera). A theme is merely one piece to the performance puzzle that is the web, but with X we’ve done as much as we can to take any guesswork out of that end of things.

    That being said, we are always looking for new ways to improve upon the foundation we’ve already built with X. Even though adding this dynamic CSS to the head of a site is a standard practice, it could be that we find a better way to manage this in a later version of X. If that is the case, we will actively pursue implementing those changes as we are continually iterating on our offering with this product and want to work to make it the best theme on the market.

    Thanks!

  4. What level of wordpress package would I need to have? Right now I manage 2 free WP sites, and 1 Hosted WP site. I want to make sure I know the total cost would be for Theme + WP fees is any… or does the theme install on a free WP account?

  5. Looks very promising. Is it compatible with Membership Plugins? Which ones. I would like to use Optimize Press 2.0 as plugin, do you think I will be able to do it?

  6. Hi there,

    I´m about to create my website and I´m searching for a theme that allow me to customize with almost no idea of programming. I´ve already bought premium theme on themeforest and I was always disappointed by the fact that the template was no admin friendly for beginners…Plus, it always look great when you see the demo, but at the end it very difficult to customize if you have no idea of programming…
    Do you recommend this theme for a beginner?

    Thanks

    A

  7. I have to say that out of a bunch of themes that I have bought in Themeforest this is definitely a winner… and I am quite a beginner… and don’t know zip of code! Theme.co has a great support, not only efficient but nice… The changes that the theme allows me to do has brought me to use it from blogging to a directory… It has the necessary plugins, great videos, and really cool and efficient support. Super highly recommend it!

  8. I used X Theme for a clients site a few weeks ago. I thought it was pretty awesome. Easy to use and delivered a very nice looking website indeed. Some say there is a lot of bloat but I used plenty of functions and page load time was as good as other themes I have used that was considered very light weight. Great theme, highly recommended.

  9. Looks great. Fantastic and detailed review too! But for $60 I’d like to check out the back end before buying. Is there any type of trial of back-end demo anywhere?

  10. Hey,

    Great review and write up. Thanks for that. I bought X when it was recommended by one of my friend. Firstly, the theme is really good. Trust me on that and kudos to the development team. The only issue is that it is not 100% ready out of the box. It would take a little time to customize it accordingly but this is supported with the forum and tutorials.

    Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good them. Just one comment though. I am no developer but this is a little ‘heavy’ theme in terms of CSS files. Just my observation.

  11. hey,
    Great Article, ultimate WordPress theme ever, i recently bought As per my Friends Refer.. thanks :-)

  12. I have a site hosted at DreamHost. Would I be able to use this theme with my DreamHost account or will I experience issues. Does anyone have any experience with this them when it’s hosted with DreamHost, GoDaddy, etc.?

  13. I’m a photographer and have purchased many templates however all fail in gallery presentation, ideally I need swipe and no cropping I was looking to see showcases from other buyers is there a link to see how they look.

  14. Hi,

    I want to buy this theme! I have tried creating an Evanto account twice but an e-mail confirmation link never arrives for me to set up an account. Is there another market place where I can but this theme? Take my money from me!

  15. Howdy Ben,

    That is troubling as we’d love to be able to get X in your hands. X is exclusively available at ThemeForest at this time, however their support department at support@envato.com would definitely be able to help sort out any issues you are having with setting up an account. Do let us know if you aren’t able to make any progress with them through our contact page: http://theme.co/x/contact/

    We look forward to having you on board!

  16. Hi Steve – or X-Theme-Team,

    what functions do you use to reduce page load times, I put a customer website into x-theme and page-load times are down from 89/100 to 50/100 and google tells me to reduce a long list of css and code and cache and html and scripts…

    do you recommend plugins to optimize this?

    elke

  17. Hi Elke,

    Performance is a major focus to us with our most recent release focused exclusively on core theme performance improvements. So the first order of business would be to make sure you are using the latest version of the theme (2.2.0 as of this writing).

    Secondly, we have seen page speed numbers vary greatly due in part to things the user can do once they have X installed on their site (for instance, setting up caching, image compression, etc). So yes, you would definitely want to setup a caching plugin. As of version 2.0.0 of X, all style outputs were also minified.

    If you’re checking with Google PageSpeed, they take images very seriously. You should make sure the images you’ve uploaded are sized and compressed appropriately (https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/performance/optimizing-content-efficiency/image-optimization). Because X is responsive, it serves larger images to account for the large variety of screen sizes. Often google will recommend resizing those images which can be detrimental to the PageSpeed score. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to address this. Sometimes a difference of a mere 200KB can make a big difference in your score. So keep in mind that scores related to scaled images might not always be accurate when dealing with responsive themes like X.

    From an overall performance point of view, page loads are handled in the most performant manner possible (and we’re always making adjustments to how this can be addressed). For example, certain scripts only get loaded when a shortcode exists on your page. While other themes will load all scripts into the theme, this method keeps things streamlined. Additionally, things like custom Google Fonts are loaded dynamically, meaning that only what you plan on using is loaded into the theme, keeping it free of bloat.

    We also have a resource in our member area that walks through several of the recommended user-side performance tweaks that need to be made as most performance gains will be from properly optimized on-page content. Should you need anything further, one of our developers will be happy to assist in our forum. Cheers!

  18. Thanks for your immediate reply, i really love your theme and it saves me so much time in setting up new webprojects!!!

    Do you recommend a caching plugin – that works fine with X?

    (as i made bad experience with a cache plugin /WP Super Cache/ that disturbed my contact form 7 funcionality although it was deinstalled weeks before…within an X-Theme-Page…a problem that took me hours to solve)

    Elke

  19. Hi,
    congratulations for this succesful theme, but I have a question regarding:
    “last WordPress theme you’ll ever have to buy”
    I buy frequently themes from themeforest and know that the standard license is valid for ONE website project. Will say it’s against the Envato TOS to use the same theme for multiple sites. Just in case I like to use the X theme on more than one site (makes sense since there are so many different styles) than I have to buy it over and over again. Does this happen, do you sell the X theme multiple times to the same customer?
    I’m just wondering, everytime I search for a theme on themeforest there is at least one theme that so much better than the last theme I found/bought :)

    • Hi Olaf,

      Good question. The terms of the license are such that you can use each purchase for one domain/site. If you wanted to use X on say 3 sites, then you would simply purchase 3 regular licenses. We work with many individuals/agencies/companies in this regard where they purchase a new license each time they have a new project. Should you need anything further feel free to contact us.

      Thanks!

  20. Thanks after much research and then finding this nice read I decided X is the word press theme , enjoy your Theme forest Commission , keep posting ;-)

    I’ve just started coding out an awesome site now and with a first update on my findings. I did however find the ” customizer ” import XCS not showing in admin panel ? Otherwise looks great !

    • Hi Marcus,

      Glad you’re enjoying your time with X!

      The Customizer import/export manager was moved in version 2.5.0 to prepare for some new features we are working on behind the scenes :) You can read more about the new location in the release notes for that version here. If you haven’t registered for access to our member center yet, you can do that here.

      Cheers!

  21. Hi
    I am getting pretty good at wordpress and need an easy ecommerce solution. I was going to purchase your maya shop theme but now think x theme may work. Can you add personalization options such as color swatches and monogram options for the products with this theme? or is it limited.to plugins for woo commerce? If so will buy it now. Thanks a bunch!

    • Hi Heidi,

      Just a point of clarification, we (Themeco) only own the X Theme so can only speak to that. Maya is owned by another company with the only common thread that we both sell on ThemeForest. From a WooCommerce integration standpoint, we provide styling for the functionality within the WooCommerce plugin. Anything that is beyond the scope of the standard plugin (extensions, customizations, etc) would be handled by you and/or your developer post purchase.

      Cheers!

  22. Hi
    I’m starting a new business and I need to create my website, I have few question regarding X:

    1- As a beginner, is it easy to use? Or I need to know HTML?
    2- I wanna have my website in English, French and Arabic, should I buy it three times?
    3- Are all mentioned features available for RTL pages?
    4- Can I add Mastercard, Visa and Paypal to my shop?
    5- Can I have membership option to ask visitors to register to view specific pages?
    6- Does X have special features for members’ section, such as sending group emails, showing the purchase and payment history in members’ page and more?

    Thank You
    Amir

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