Originally published: February, 2014
Updated: February, 2018
There are thousands of awesome WordPress themes out there. Did you just get your hands on one that you’d like to install? This post will explain how to install a wordpress theme in just a few simple steps.
There are 2 main ways to install a wordpress theme:
1. Through Your WordPress Dashboard
2. Through Your FTP Client
How to Install a WordPress Theme Through WordPress:
You’ll need to be logged in to your WordPress account for this one so go ahead and do that.
Next on the left hand navigation click Appearance -> Themes
Once you are there you will see your pre-installed themes. WordPress automatically installs Twentyeleven, twelve and thirteen I believe.
These theme’s are ok. You want to use your new, awesome theme though!
So go ahead and click the “Add New” button at the top left hand side of the screen.
Now you will be brought to the browse screen. Here you can choose from different preference filters to search through WordPress’s database of themes.
There are many great themes to choose from. Don’t be afraid to check these themes out too. However I’m guessing you’ve already got a theme you’d like to install.
To install a theme that you have already downloaded, click the “upload” button in the top left of the window.
This is where a lot of people get lost or upload the wrong file.
Make sure you unzipped the theme file you downloaded when you bought the theme.
Now when you click the Choose File button, look for your theme’s folder.
Inside of that folder should be a zip file with your theme’s name.
Like this theme? You can check out Highend here.
Once you’ve clicked “Open” click install and your theme will begin to upload.
Once finished you’ll be brought to a screen showing the upload and given the option to return to your themes page.
Go ahead and return to your themes page. You should now see you new theme ready to be activated. Just press the “Activate” button on your themes box and you’re done!
1. Appearance -> Themes
2. Add New
3. Upload -> Add ZIP File
4. Install -> Activate!!
How to Install a WordPress Theme with FTP
This post is assuming you have your site linked up with an FTP client.
If you do not know how to do this, please let me know in the comments box below. I would love to help you through the process and if enough people need help with it, I will definitely write a lesson on it. Your feedback helps everybody!
There are many FTP clients to choose from. Personally, I like to use Cyberduck. It’s free, easy to use, and has all the functions I need it to have.
Installing a theme via FTP is a very similar process as doing it through your dashboard.
You want to find the same folder from before (your themes main, unzipped folder).
In that folder, there should be a file with the same name as the ZIP file you would use to upload through WordPress.
However this file will just be a folder. My folder is called “HighendWP”, just like the ZIP file, except unzipped.
Now go to your FTP program. Once you’re inside your site, go to the “WP-Content” folder and click “Themes”.
Once you are in that folder just drag and drop the “ThemenameWP” folder into the “Themes” FTP folder.
You’re theme will then begin to install.
Once the transfer is complete you can log into your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance -> Themes and “Activate” your new theme!
Personally, I prefer installing via FTP. Drag & drop is so quick and easy.
Finding a Great WordPress Theme
Like I said in the beginning, there are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from.
It is important to remember who your audience is when choosing a WordPress theme. Just because something is visually appealing to you, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be to your readers.
Think about your subject matter. If you are promoting gadgets or technology you’ll probably want a modern, simple looking theme. Talking about education, crafts or any of the arts? You’ll probably want a fun, colorful theme.
Take a few minutes to think about who your readers really are. You can learn more about zeroing on your target audience here.
What kind of a website would they enjoy to see? This step is very important in creating a professional looking authority site.
Now that you’ve figured out the look your website should have you’re ready for the search.
Where to Look
There are tons of great websites with premium WordPress themes, both paid and free.
Here are just a couple great sites that I have used many times over the years:
Well, that’s it. Those are the main ways to install a theme with wordpress. Hopefully they were pretty straight forward. However if I left you confused anywhere please leave me your questions and comments below.
Know of a great website to find WordPress themes? Share it with us below also!
Hey man, very nicely presented. When I wish to change my theme, I’ll know where to go for exact directions. Thanks.
Hey Joe, I’m glad you found the post helpful. Thanks for the comment, let me know if you have any questions along the way!
Hi Deven, thank you for sharing such good information
Hi Fabio, you’re very welcome! I’m glad you found the guide helpful 🙂