How do I install a WordPress theme?


Now you have come to the point when you need to install a WordPress theme. Is it easy? A piece of cake in some cases and quite challenging in others. This guide describes ways of installing various WordPress themes. It will help you get prepared to the actual installation of the theme you select.

You’ll Learn About:

  1. How to install a free WordPress theme
  2. General principles of paid themes installation

There are 2 types of templates (themes) for WordPress:

  • Templates available on the WordPress website https://WordPress.org/themes/ or in your WordPress Dashboard
  • Templates developed and sold by web design companies, developers, web designers

1. How to install a free WordPress theme

To install a free theme,

  1. Go to the WordPress Dashboard (in your installed WordPress engine)
  2. Navigate to Appearance-> Themes. Here you will find thousands of templates which you can upload quickly right from the admin panel
  3. Just select the theme you like and click Install
  4. After the installation is complete, click Activate. And you are done

Free themes are easy to install, but usually pretty basic in terms of design and functionality. So if you need something professional and high quality, try looking for a premium theme on websites of various template providers. They may be a great alternative to a much more expensive custom design. You can find a variety of premium WordPress themes here.

2. General principles of paid themes installation

Premium templates differ when it comes to installation. It depends on the person or team who developed the template as well as on its functions. That is why each template should come with detailed installation instructions. Before you get a theme, make sure the documentation is included.

Below we will list a few common installation methods to give you a general picture of what to expect. But please bear in mind that this guide is not intended as an installation tutorial to follow for your particular theme.

Theme installation

Most modern themes can be installed via the Dashboard. You will need to:

  1. Go to Appearance -> Themes
  2. Upload the zipped theme file
  3. “Activate” the theme after the upload is complete

Sometimes theme files may need to be uploaded manually via FTP or you hosting control panel (Сpanel) to the wp-content/themes/ folder of your WordPress installation. This may be the case if your hosting imposes limitations on the uploads. Don’t hesitate to contact your host’s or the theme provider’s tech support for assistance.

Sample data installation

If sample data (demo content) comes with the theme, you will also need to upload it. Sample data are all the images and texts you see on the template demo. Some providers ship them with their templates, others don’t.

Themes which include sample data are usually somewhat more expensive, but at the same time much easier for beginners to edit (you just have to make changes to the content, not build it from scratch).

Again, the exact method of installing the demo content will depend on the particular theme you choose. It’s best if you find a theme that lets you do it via the Dashboard, with a plugin or through the Tools -> Import section. For one thing, it is much faster. Beside, it will signify that the theme is up-to-date.

However, in some cases, you may still have to upload a “dump” file in the .sql format to your site’s database, using a database management tool such as phpMyAdmin. Tech support should be able to help here as well.

You can often opt to avoid theme installation altogether. Some hosting companies offer free installations, theme vendors may install their template on your hosting for a fee or you can hire a third party to do it for you.

But if you decide to perform the installation yourself, make sure you follow the documentation step by step, to the tiniest detail. If the process goes smoothly and uneventfully, it will not take you much time. If there are issues, contact the tech support for help.

We hope this very general guide has given you some notion of what you might encounter during theme installation. If you have installed any WordPress themes before, let us and the other readers know how it worked for you.

And check out our incredible WordPress themes. We work really hard to make them the best in the business. 

Simon Morgan

Simon is a TemplateMonster sales operator who helps small businesses and startups by day and passionately rocking on the stage with his bass guitar by night. Simon is a truly creative spirit and idea generator who can draw almost everything he imagines.