Feb 132017

How To Install WordPress Theme post will show you how to install a theme, upload a theme from your computer or laptop into your website and more.

Last Updated; July 25, 2023

Latest News: Updated the documentation.

Themes are very important and making sure you install the correct theme for your website is equally important. When visitors land on your site, within the first few seconds they will either stay or move on. Having the correct theme can increase the chances for the visitors to stay and not leave so quickly. However, let’s not forget how equally important is to have great content in your posts and pages.

When you install WordPress for the first time, it also installs a few themes and activates the latest Twenty theme by default. In this tutorial Twenty Sixteen is the theme activated by default for this WordPress version.

WordPress also wants you to have a second default theme from the Twenty family available just in case something goes wrong with your live theme. In other words, if you decide to install a none default WordPress theme, then you should also keep the latest WordPress default theme installed. If you are using the current default theme then you should install a second theme from the Twenty family.

Important Link:

Note: These instructions apply to any theme you install, update and or upload.

How To Install WordPress Theme

Note: Auto-updates can be enabled or disabled for each individual theme. Themes with auto-updates enabled will display the estimated date of the next auto-update. Auto-updates depends on the WP-Cron task scheduling system.

Please note: Third-party themes, or custom code, may override WordPress scheduling.

Step 1 ) Go to Appearance -> Theme to start uploading and or installing the new theme.


Step 2 ) The following image shows you the Twenty Sixteen theme currently active. Click on Add New link to upload the new theme you downloaded locally into your computer.


Upload Theme

In some cases you might have purchased a premium theme “Commercial Theme” or you have a different free theme. If that is the case you will need to upload your new theme to your site. The following steps will show you how to upload a theme to your site and test the theme as well.

Step 3 ) Click on Upload Theme link as shown in the following image.


Step 3-a ) Once you have located the zip file you downloaded to your computer or laptop click on Install Now button as illustrated in the image below. This will install the new theme to your site.

Note: I recommend not activating the theme until you have first carried out some test. You might like to set up Xampp locally in your computer or laptop to help you test your theme first.


Step 3-b ) Once the theme has been installed successfully you will have three options available as illustrated in the image below.

Options Available After Installing a New Theme

  • Live Preview
  • Activate
  • Go to Themes page


Step 3-c ) If the theme you have installed is an updated version of the theme in your site, you will see the following instructions as illustrated in the image below. In this example Suffusion theme version 4.5.7 is installed and a new version Suffusion theme version 4.5.8 is available.

Options Available After Updating Your Theme

  • Replace active with uploaded
  • Cancel and go back


Search For A Theme

Step 4 ) The following image Add Themes shows you how to search for a theme and or pick a theme from a group. You can even use a custom filter to narrow down the type of theme you are looking for. Remember WordPress repository has thousands of themes to search for. It would be almost impossible to find the correct theme without these options available.

Themes Search Options

  • Featured
  • Popular
  • Latest
  • Favourites
  • Feature Filter
  • Search for themes….


Step 5 ) The following image shows you the results for searching for Twenty Seventeen one of WordPress default themes.

When you click on Live Preview button you will be able to test the theme in the back-end without affecting the live website.

Note: Twenty Seventeen is one of the default themes used by WordPress. In your case the theme you will be searching for and installing will be different.


Step 6 ) When you click on Live Preview button you will see the following theme settings. These settings allow you to test your theme before activating the theme.

Theme Testing Settings

  • Site Identity
  • Colours
  • Header Media
  • Menus
  • Widgets
  • Static Front Page
  • Theme Options = (Note: This feature will be different depending on the theme you are installing. Some theme provide more options than others)
  • Additional CSS
  • You can also test how the theme looks in different responsive settings i.e. Desktop, Tablet, Mobile Phone.


WordPress Theme Update Notice

Step 7 ) The following shows you a message displayed when you go to Dashboard -> Updates. This message is letting you know that the following theme has an update version available. It is recommending you to use a child theme if you have created a lot of customization’s.


Enable Auto Update

Step 8 ) The following image shows you the link Enable auto-update. Click on this link to enable or disable auto-updating for the theme in question. This feature was introduced in WordPress 5.5. This is a great security feature added by WordPress. There are many site owners and developers that sometimes forget to update their theme. This can create a security risk. However at the same time, you might want to control this part because some updates can also break a site. You have to be careful about enabling this feature for your theme.



That is all you need to do to add or update a new theme in your site.

Note: You might be interested to view the following YouTube video Install a WordPress theme.

Recommended Link:

  • Health Check plugin = This link shows you how to check to make sure your site is up to date and running smoothly. It also lets you know if you have a backup “second’ theme available in your site.


If you have any questions please let me know.

I will be updating this tutorial from time to time so make sure you come back for the latest.


WordPress Setup Tutorial List:

I have been working in IT since 1999 and I enjoy the challenges it brings me. I love developing websites with WordPress. I spend a lot of time helping out in wordpress.org forums. I have been writing tutorials since 2011. Now I am learning how to manage my own VPS "Virtual Private Server.

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