We continue our exploration of the potential of Toolset, which enables non-coders to build advanced WordPress sites, in combination with any theme or pages builder.

In the previous article in this series, we took an epic journey through the Top 10 directory sites built with Toolset. That most typical type of use, the directory, gave us a sense of the variety of approaches you can take, influenced by the strengths of the theme you choose to use alongside Toolset.

In this thrilling installment, we look at another very common category for advanced WordPress sites, Education. Whether you want your site to provide services to students on your campus, or provide courses online, or sell fake degrees to morons, Toolset will allow you to put together the functionality you need without the expense and trauma of trying to hire a vaguely competent and honest coder.

Enjoy this brief tour and, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below.

You might imagine that museum staff would be right at home using Stone Age technology such as Dreamweaver to update their website but, no, the staff at the Westford Museum found it a nightmare and were upset every time curators from rival museums would taunt them about how craptastic it looked, especially on mobile.

Their Indiana Jones came in the form of mild-mannered Scott Lewis of Lewis Studios in New England. He used Toolset used in combination with Toolset Starter, the theme they provide for users who don’t want to bother with a theme from another company.

Scott says “Within a day of launching this site, another museum asked the Westford Museum’s Director who did the site and how to get in touch with us.”

Formimpresa is a training institution in Sardinia, Italy. Their website, built by local design agency Active Net using Toolset and the Genesis theme framework by StudioPress, provides training courses that lead to professional qualifications and accreditation in a wide variety of areas, including Workplace Safety, Security, English language, and helping small businesses to survive EU legislation such as the GDPR.

Active Net say “We used Types for the course post type and Views to show the course details.”

You can see the influence of Genesis in the clean, spacious styling and the lack of flashing, animated emojis.

Everyone knows that the Irish speak the best English in the world and English Language Ireland is an accreditated school that enables students from all over the world to improve their English and develop a life-long interest in alcohol.

Stephen Vaughan of Vaughan Print used Toolset in combination with Divi by Elegant Themes, creating a custom post type for courses in a wide variety of categories, and the Layouts plugin to style the course pages.

This has to be the most interesting Learning Management System that I have ever come across! Improve International has trained over 20,000 veterinarians in over 20 countries, with online courses ranging from feline dentistry to orthopedic surgery for squirrels.

Another Toolset + Divi combination, the Timeweb agency from Sheffield in the UK needed Toolset to handle a wide range of courses spread among 20 different versions of their website, one for each country in which Improve International operates.

Ido Angel of the Out of Site agency in Israel used Toolset in combination with a long-standing Themeforest best-seller Avada by ThemeFusion to showcase the schools, activities, and publications of the Ankori Educational Network which was founded 70 years ago.

Incidentally, both the Out of Site website and the Isreali version of the Ankori site are interesting examples of how Avada and Toolset perform with RTL (Right To Left) languages.


With a name like that, you might have been expecting a driving school but, no, it’s just a load of smelly school kids in Swindon. Local developer Graham Philpot of Junction 16 used Toolset to adapt Baby Kids, a WordPress theme for primary schools with some custom content and layouts.

Grahams says “I have used Toolset plugins in every one of the sites I’ve developed. I find they reduce development time and allow me to add most of the functionality I need with very little hassle.”

This site, by the Nexdna agency in France, is my very favorite example of Toolset used with a custom theme.

You will notice the lovely flag widget in the top navigation, allowing rapid switching between its different language versions. It is worth noting that Toolset is developed by the same company that develops the WordPress Multilingual plugin, more commonly know as WPML, which is the leading plugin to enable multiple language versions of your website, so, you can be sure that there will always be the highest possible level of integration between these two major WordPress products.

If you would like to learn more about WPML, be sure to bookmark these useful guides for later reference:

1. Why Using the WPML Plugin is Your Best Bet for Building a Multilingual Website

2. WordPress Multilingual Plugin WPML Full Review

3. WordPress Translation Plugins: WPML…and the Rest

Stillness Speaks – Qualify as a Complete Hippy

Canton Becker of New Mexico used the popular Divi theme with Toolset to create this wide-ranging learning resource which covers pretty much every human tradition that touches upon self-exploration and awareness.

Canton says “Toolset is used to organize and interrelate spiritual traditions, articles, books, videos, and teachers”.

Canton then goes on (as hippies are wont to do) “My specialty is making “self-service” websites: dynamic sites my clients can update themselves using a web browser. Most of my sites are built out using WordPress, the most intuitive content management system available. With Toolset, it’s easy to expand beyond the more typical limitations of WordPress. My resulting sites are mobile friendly, standards-compliant, fast loading and search engine optimized”.

Bite Scis – Science for the Classroom

This resource was created by a group of scientists who had met at the ComSciCon, a series of workshops for graduates who want to communicate complex scientific and technical concepts.

They used Toolset in combination with a best-selling Themeforest multipurpose theme, Jupiter.

They say “This site uses Toolset to facilitate custom ‘lesson plans’, which are tied to an ‘instructor’ post type.”

Perhaps you are wondering just how far you can take Toolset. Well, this site by local design agency Blinebury Design, another example of Toolset used with a custom theme, serves the entire school district of Philadephia. It took two years to build this WordPress Multisite network, containing over 300 separate websites, once for each school and office associated with the school district, all adhering to the district’s brand guidelines.

Blinebury Design say “Toolset was used for the creation of a variety of custom post types and custom fields to customize a variety of page templates”.

We hope you found this selection of real education sites built with Toolset inspiring, you can find plenty more in the Toolset Showcase.

Bear in mind that an advanced education site can be resource intensive. Before adding any significant new functionality to your WordPress site, you need to consider whether your current hosting is capable of handling that strain.

Once you actually have traffic, you don’t want visitors to your site to be confronted with unexplained delays, they are not going to stick around if a page takes minutes to load, no matter how much they want to see your list of the best Salsa teachers in their town. More importantly, you definitely don’t want the Salsa teachers contacting you to ask why your site isn’t working!

The advice we always give is to make sure you get properly resourced hosting in place before you launch. We recommend two hosts that we have seen work out well for our readers, the choice between them comes down to money:

If you are on a tight budget, SiteGround has a good reputation for well-managed and well-supported shared hosting at a good price. They are by far the best at that price level. In particular, consider their GoGeek level.

If, on the other hand, absolute reliability and performance are more important to you than price, WP Engine provides the best possible managed WordPress hosting, I use them for all of my most important sites, the ones that generate money.

We will be returning soon with the next article in this series, looking at the top 10 Toolset sites in yet another category. In the meantime, we would love to read your questions or about your own experiences with Toolset in the comments below.

About Donnacha

Donnacha MacGloinn is an editor at WP Mayor. He has worked online for over 25 years and been part of the WordPress community since 2005. He offers WordPress consultancy services at WordSkill.com. His shamefully neglected Twitter account is @WordSkill