Installing a WordPress theme isn’t rocket science; anyone, even those with little to no experience, can install a WordPress theme with ease.
At this point, you might have already chosen the best WordPress theme to install on your website. If not, we highly recommend finding a fast, lightweight, and responsive theme for your website.
The thing to remember is that you don’t want to put all your hard work into customizing a theme that isn’t right for your online venture.
There are tons of best WordPress themes – free as well as paid.
You can choose one that fits your budget and requirements, but we highly recommend going with a premium theme, as they include updates, support, and robust features and design options.
In this post, we have featured a step by step walkthrough to help you install a WordPress theme the right way. In this article, we’ll cover three ways to install a WordPress theme.
You can use any of these ways to install your first WordPress theme regardless of your experience and technical knowledge.
Here’s a quick index to help you navigate this article:
So let’s dive in.
3 Easy Ways to Install a WordPress Theme
Before rushing to install a WordPress theme, there are a few things you should be aware of:
- If you install and activate a new theme on your website, it will change the look and feel of your WordPress website.
- If you’re installing a free third-party theme, make sure your theme has the following features: fast, lightweight, responsive, customizable options, etc.
- If you’re switching from an existing WordPress theme, make sure you go through the do’s and don’ts of changing a WordPress theme.
However, if you’re just starting off and installing the very first theme on your WordPress website, we’re good to go.
#1: Installing a Theme From the WordPress Dashboard
If you haven’t chosen a WordPress theme yet, you should consider choosing a theme from the WordPress theme directory.
The best thing about the WordPress directory is that it has tons of official WordPress themes that are tested and approved by WordPress developers and experts and that follow the WordPress theme guidelines.
What’s more, the theme you download and use from the WordPress directory is free to use. You can find thousands of themes for various niches; to find even more robust themes in any niche, you can use the search bar.
How To Install a WordPress Theme From the WordPress Directory
To start, you will need to log in to the WordPress dashboard and then navigate to the Appearance >> Themes page. From there, click on the Add New Button to add a new theme.
Once you click, you’ll see an interface where you can choose from various categories of themes, including Featured Themes, Popular, Latest, Favourites, etc.
Additionally, you can also search for themes for specific niches, and you can even apply the ‘Feature Filter’ to filter the theme search results and find the most relevant ones.
Once you click on the ‘Feature Filter’ button, you’ll be able to apply robust filters and sort themes by various features, subjects, and layout options.
You can apply the filter for various niches, such as a blog, ecommerce, education, fashion, food & drink, and more.
Now you’ll get results on the basis of search filters you have applied; in this case, we’re choosing ASTRA; you could install another theme as well.
ASTRA is a lightweight, fast, responsive, and customizable WordPress theme for any kind of website. The best part is that you can install and use it for free!
After you find the theme you want to use, you need to select that theme and then click on the ‘Install’ button at the bottom of the theme you have chosen.
You can also click on the ‘Preview’ button to easily preview and see how the theme will look on your website.
When the theme is installed on WordPress, by default, you’ll see a success message along with options to ‘Activate’ the theme and ‘Live Preview’ buttons.
Click on the activate button; the theme will be installed on your WordPress website successfully.
What to Do After Installing a WordPress Theme From the WordPress Directory
At this point, you have installed your WordPress theme; you’ll be able to see additional options for configuring it on the WordPress dashboard.
Depending on the theme you chose, a dedicated Theme Menu will be added to the WordPress dashboard.
You can further customize your theme by going to Appearance >> Customize to customize the look and feel of your WordPress website.
Moreover, if you’re a beginner, consider installing a WordPress Page Builder Plugin to create a fully-featured WordPress website quickly and easily.
#2: Installing a WordPress Theme You Have Already Downloaded
The above method we described only enables you to install the free WordPress themes that are available in the WordPress directory.
This next method we’re going to describe, however, will enable you to install free as well as premium themes you’ve downloaded elsewhere.
How To Install a WordPress Theme Manually
This method suits you best if you want to install a custom WordPress theme; we are going to choose the ‘Upload Method’ to install a custom theme.
To install a custom theme, the first thing you will need to do is download the .zip file of the theme that you want to install on your WordPress site. Just go to the official site of the theme that you have selected and download the file right away.
Once you have the theme’s .zip file, navigate to Appearance >> Themes on your WordPress dashboard. After clicking it, you will be redirected to the Add Theme page, where you can easily upload the theme you have downloaded.
You need to click on the ‘Upload Theme’ button at the top. Right after clicking, you will be redirected to the theme uploader interface.
From here, click on ‘Choose File’ and choose the .zip of the theme that you have already downloaded. Finally, click on ‘Install Now.’
It will take 2-3 minutes to install the theme on your website; when it’s done, a success message will appear. Finally, you will need to click on the ‘Activate’ button in order to deploy and activate the theme right away.
What to Do After Installing a Custom WordPress Theme
At this point, you have installed a WordPress theme; you’ll be able to see additional options for configuring it on the WordPress dashboard.
It truly depends on the theme you choose as to if it adds a dedicated Theme Menu to your WordPress dashboard.
You can further customize your theme by going to Appearance >> Customize, where you can customize the look and feel of your WordPress website.
Related Reading: Get Started With Elementor.
#3: Installing a WordPress Theme Using FTP
A word of caution, if you’re a beginner and don’t have any idea what FTP is, please don’t use this method to install a WordPress theme.
This method is a bit complex, and it requires certain skills and knowledge. If you’re new to FTP, there’s a fair chance that you’ll make a mistake.
The FTP method is a bit complex and risky; also, there is the chance of deleting or modifying files, which could bring your website offline. That’s why we recommend this method only for users with advanced skill sets.
It’s better to use the two easy and reliable methods we described above to install a WordPress theme.
How to Install a WordPress Theme Using FTP
If you have already downloaded the zip file of your WordPress theme on the dashboard, you’ll be able to install the theme using FTP(File Transfer Protocol).
In order to get started, you must have an FTP hostname, along with login credentials, such as username and password. For this guide, we have used Filezilla.
First, you need to launch Filezilla, and then you need to enter your login details and click on Quickconnect.
After you click on it, an interface will open, which contains the Remote Site, along with the root directory; here, the root directory is your website’s name.
In the Local Site Window, you need to select the folder where you have downloaded and saved the .zip file of the theme. Next, right-click in order to see more options, and then you will need to upload the theme file.
It will take a few minutes to upload the theme using FTP successfully. To complete the setup, just navigate to Appearance >> Themes on the WordPress dashboard and then hover your mouse over the new theme, and then activate it.
If you need to install a theme using FTP, you can follow this exact walkthrough.
Which WordPress Theme to Use: Free vs Premium
It’s a tough question to answer, but from our experience, we would like to say that if you have a tight budget, you should go with a flexible, free WordPress theme like Astra to get started.
ASTRA is a lightweight, fast, responsive, and customizable WordPress theme for any kind of website. The best part is that you can install and use it for FREE.
However, you can also start off using this free theme and then keep doing your research and choose a premium theme later.
You can even update to the ASTRA PRO version, which includes tons of robust features and customization options to help you craft stunning websites.
It’s obvious, free themes have limited features and customization options, whereas premium themes are loaded with superb features, customer support, design options, and so on.
To learn more about Free vs Premium themes, check out this in-depth guide on Free vs Premium themes to get detailed insights into how they compare.
Updating Your WordPress Theme
After installing and configuring your WordPress theme, we strongly suggest you keep your theme updated.
The reason why it’s important to update your theme is that each update brings new features, functionality, enhancements, security features, responsiveness, and so on.
However, before updating any theme, you need to back up your website using backup plugins. It’s possible that updating your theme may cause some kind of error on your WordPress website.
The error could be something like your customized pages being changed, customization options being lost, or your design being changed. For this reason, it’s recommended to back up your WordPress website before updating.
How to Update a Theme From the WordPress Repository
This section is useful for you if you’re using a theme from the WordPress repository. Updating the theme of WordPress repository is easy and straightforward.
You can update your theme from the WordPress dashboard if the update is available. To update your theme, navigate to Appearance >> Themes. You will see the update listed as ‘New Version is Available’; just click on the update button.
In this way, you can easily update your WordPress theme quickly.
Now let’s move to another section where you can update an external, aka custom theme, on your WordPress website.
How to Update an External WordPress Theme
Updating external, aka custom WordPress themes, is a bit complex. On your WordPress dashboard, you’ll get a notification of your theme’s update availability.
This option will show up only if your external theme supports automatic updates. If such functionality doesn’t exist for your theme, you need to update your theme manually.
The manual way of updating your theme includes various processes, such as putting your website under maintenance mode, deleting your theme, and then re-uploading it again.
Again, we highly recommend you back up your WordPress website; once you have a backup, all your settings will be saved, and if somehow things go wrong, you can easily recover your WordPress website.
To update your theme manually, you need to put your website into maintenance mode; you can use plugins to do maintenance tasks. You can use WP Maintenance Mode to do this task effectively. Also, the plugin is free to use.
We’re putting the website in maintenance mode because the update doesn’t take longer than a few minutes. However, during that time, if a visitor comes to your website they won’t be able to access it.
Once maintenance mode is on, you need to navigate to WordPress Dashboard >> Appearance >> Themes and then activate the latest WordPress default theme. Now you need to just click on the delete button.
A popup message will appear, which requires your confirmation to delete the theme. Approve the deletion process.
Now you can install the latest version of your theme; check out the above methods to install your selected WordPress theme. Once you upload and activate it, check out how your website is looking, and make sure everything looks okay.
After the theme is updated, all of your setting and widget options will also be there. Also, you might get new things to configure, new widget options, or new little tweaks to fix any issues.
If everything is as you left it before updating the theme, you should now disable maintenance mode and let visitors access your website.
If you carefully follow these directions, you can manually update your WordPress theme. You should follow the exact walkthrough in order to avoid problems.
Conclusion: How to Install a WordPress Theme?
As mentioned earlier, installing a WordPress theme isn’t that complex. We have listed three easy ways to install a WordPress theme effectively, without any hassles.
If you’re using a theme from the WordPress repository, you should use the first method listed above.
If you’re using a third-party or custom WordPress theme, you need to use the second method to install your theme.
Once you install the theme, you can customize it the way you want; you can also use a page builder to create stunning websites easily.
When your WordPress website is up and running, make sure you keep your WordPress website safe and secure.
We hope this walk through helped you install a WordPress theme the easy way, without any hassles.
Which of the listed ways did you use to install your first WordPress theme? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.
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