3 Different Ways to Install a WordPress Theme

One of the most awesome things about WordPress is the availability of thousands of themes. A professionally designed theme lets you change the look of your website within minutes. Most modern themes also allow you to create unique layouts for various pages of your site. And if coded correctly, a WordPress theme can assist you in getting better search engine ranking too.

How to Install a WordPress Theme

There are two types of WordPress themes – free and premium. A default WordPress installation will come with two/three free themes. You can activate or deactivate any of them whenever you want.

However, you are not limited to these free themes only. Rather, you can easily install any other free or premium theme you like. As a beginner-friendly platform, WordPress comes with a simple and straightforward solution for installing new themes.

In today’s tutorial, I will show you how to install WordPress themes.

Installing a New WordPress Theme

There are three ways to install a new WordPress theme –

  1. Installing a Theme from the WordPress Themes Page,
  2. Uploading a Theme via WordPress Dashboard and
  3. Uploading a Theme via FTP.

Let’s start our discussion with the first way.

Method 1. Installing a Theme from the Themes Page

In this way, you can install a new theme right from your themes page. Keep in mind that this method works only for the free themes available in the WordPress themes directory.

First of all, go to Appearance -> Themes from your WordPress dashboard. The page should look like the following –

how to Install WordPress Theme

Besides the default themes, there is also a big ‘Add New Theme‘ box. Click on that box. Alternatively, you can click the ‘Add New‘ button from the top of the page. In both cases, you will be taken to a page like this –

Selecting WordPress Theme

The default screen will display the featured themes. You will also find links to view the popular and latest themes. You can also filter your search.

To do that, click the ‘Feature Filter’ link. You will find options to choose the color, layout, features, and subject. Alternatively, If you are looking for a particular theme, provide the name in the search box and hit enter.

Once you have found a suitable subject, hover over the theme. You will find three options – Details & Preview, Install and Preview.

The first and last options are the same. Clicking them will open a full-screen preview of the theme.

Click the Install link to download the theme. This will download and install the theme in your website. You will have different options to preview or activate the theme or return to the themes page.

Activating Your Theme

Method 2. Uploading a Theme via WordPress Dashboard

Let’s see how to upload a theme by using the dashboard. To install a theme in this method, you will need the zipped archive of the theme file.

If you are downloading the theme from the WordPress theme directory, click the blue ‘Download‘ button to download the zipped archive of the theme. If you are downloading the theme from any other location, separate the zipped archive from the theme package.

Now, go to the Appearances -> Themes page. Click on the ‘Add New Theme‘ box or the ‘Add New‘ button. In the resulting page, click the ‘Upload Theme‘ button. You will be taken to a page similar to the following –

Adding New Theme

Click ‘Choose File‘ and choose the zipped archive of your desired theme. Once the file is uploaded, the item will be installed automatically. At this point, you will be taken to a page where you will have these options – preview or activate the theme, get back to the themes page.

Method 3. Uploading a Theme via FTP

If you are unable to install a theme by following the above methods, there is another way to install a WordPress theme. WordPress allows you to upload the theme files manually. For this purpose, you will need access to your server files and should be familiar with using an FTP client like FileZilla.

For this method, you will need the zipped archive of the theme. I have discussed getting the zipped archive of your selected theme in the previous method.

However, this method has one more step. Extract the archive file in your computer.
Open up your favorite FTP client and connect to your web server. Get into the ‘wordpress’ directory. From that directory, open the ‘wp-content’ folder. Finally, open the ‘themes’ folder. Upload the extracted theme folder to the ‘themes’ folder.

Make sure that all the files are copied correctly.


After copying all the files to the ‘themes’ folder, get back to the Appearance -> Themes page. You will find the theme there. Hovering over the theme box will let you activate or preview the theme.

Final Words

Due to their high popularity, developing WordPress themes has become an attractive profession. Hundreds of new WordPress themes are released each month. Not all of them follow the coding best practices and coded professionally.

A poorly coded theme could have a significant impact in your website performance. Therefore, before installing any WordPress theme, take some time to read the ratings and reviews of the theme. Install themes for reliable and reputed developers only.

I have tried to make the theme installation process as detailed as possible. Nonetheless, if you still have any question about installing WordPress themes, please let me know. I will try my best to help you.

Read Next: 3 Different Ways to Install a WordPress Plugin

1 Comment

  1. Anjorin

    Which method you recommend to use if I have to get it done by someone else? I have hired someone to install, setup and manage my WordPress blog. Which of the following methods is more secure for the blog owner?
    Will appreciate timely response.

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