How To Install WordPress Themes – Step by Step

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WordPress users can modify the appearance of their sites by using a WordPress theme. To use a theme, a user has to install a theme then activate it. Doing that isn’t difficult and isn’t time consuming. However, there are different ways to install a WordPress theme. In this tutorial, we will go through all of these methods.

Method 1: Installing a WordPress Theme through WordPress’s Built-in Theme Search

The first method to install a theme that we will be looking at is installing a theme through WordPress’s Built-in Theme Search.

Before we can install a theme, we need to login to WordPress. After logging in you will see the Admin Dashboard. Hover over ‘Appearance’ on the navigation bar on the left. Afterwards, click ‘Themes’

You will be redirected to a page showing all the themes that are currently installed. Click ‘Add New’.

It will redirect to a new page. In this new page, we can see a selection of themes.

in this tutorial, we will be using the “NanoSpace” Theme. We will hover over it and click ‘Install’

Once that is done, click “Activate”.

Method 2: Installing a WordPress Theme through Uploading a theme to WordPress

The next method to we will be looking at is uploading a theme to WordPress. But before we can do that, we need to download the theme that we will be installing.

We will be downloading a theme from: (Note: we can also download a theme from other sites).

For this tutorial, we will download and use the ‘Shapely’ theme. Click ‘Download’. Save the file but do not unzip it.

Next we will, install the theme.

First, login to WordPress. When the Admin dashboard shows, hover over “Appearance” and then click on “Themes”. You will be shown all the themes that are currently installed on your WordPress site.

Click ‘Add New’

You will be redirected to the theme selection page. We’ve seen this page in the previous method. Now, instead of choosing a theme, click ‘Upload Theme’

You will be redirected to a page where themes can be uploaded. Click ‘Browse’ and look for the theme that was downloaded. Afterwards, click ‘Upload’

After uploading, click ‘Install Now’ to install the theme.

Once that is done, the page will be redirected. Click “Activate” to use the theme.

Method 3: Installing a WordPress Theme through FTP

Another way to install a WordPress theme is by uploading the theme via FTP to a remote server. This method is usually used if the WordPress site is deployed remotely. To install via FTP, the server must allow access to its directories (particularly the remotely deployed WordPress site’s “wp-content folder). Proper credentials (username and password) are mandatory as well. Lastly, an FTP Client is needed.

For this tutorial, we were given the proper credentials to access the remote site’s theme folder. For our FTP client, we will be using FIleZilla FTP Client. In addition, we will assume that the theme we want to install has already been installed in our local machine.

Here’s what we need to do next:

Connect to the remote server using FileZilla

Once connected, navigate to the remote WordPress site’s ‘themes’ folder.

After that, navigate the local machine’s directory to the location of the theme folder. Highlight the folder of the theme to be installed. In our example below, we will be uploading the “export-mechanic” theme.

Right click on the file then click ‘Upload’. The theme will be uploaded to the remote server.

To activate the theme, log-in to WordPress on the remote server. Once, logged-in, activate the theme through the Admin dashboard. To do that, hover over ‘Appearance’ and click on ‘Themes’. Here we can see that the theme has been installed.

Click on the theme and click “Activate” to activate the theme.

Method 4: Installing a WordPress Theme through a Local Installation

The last method we will be looking at is locally installing a WordPress Theme

In this method, all we need to do is download a theme file, unzip the file, and paste the unzipped folder in the “wp-content/themes” of our WordPress site’s local installation. In this method we will be installing the “export-mechanic theme”

Once we’ve done that, we will go to the WordPress site’s Admin dashboard. Hover over ‘Appearance’ and click ‘Themes’. The page will redirect to the currently installed themes. The theme we locally installed should be there.

To use the theme, click on it and then click “Activate”.


We’ve now learned how to install WordPress themes.

Kristin Eitel

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