How to Install a WordPress Theme

In addition to the default theme included with your WordPress installation, you can also install your own WordPress theme to change the look and style of your site.

Download & Upload Method

Note: If you’re using a premium theme from a third party source, they will usually come as a .zip file. You’ll need to use the download & upload method to install the theme zip file on your site.

1. From the WordPress dashboard, expand the Appearance menu in the left-hand navigation panel. Click the Themes link.

2. Click the Add New button.

3. Click the Upload Theme button, locate your theme zip file and then click Install Now. Then, click Activate.

Search & Install Method

Much like installing plugins, you can search for a theme and install it directly from your WordPress dashboard.

1. From the Appearance > Themes page, click on the Add New button. You can search the Free Theme Directory right from your WordPress dashboard. Find a theme you like (you can use the search box or the feature filter to sort by various options)

2. When you’re looking at a specific theme, you can click on Preview to see the theme in action. Click around to see different pages and make sure you like what you see. Some things may be options you can customize, but other tweaks will require editing the code of the theme.

3. Once you find a theme you like, click ‘Install.’ Once the theme is installed, just click the Install button. And just like that, your site has a brand new look.

Manual Method

You can also add themes by manually uploading them to your server with FTP software. This is more complicated and not for the novice user. You’ll need to download a theme to your computer and unzip it. This will give you a folder on your computer with all the theme files. Then, using an FTP program, upload the theme folder to the wp-content/themes folder on your site. Then go to the Themes screen in your dashboard and you will see your new theme in the list. Click ‘Activate’ to get started.


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