How To Install a WordPress Theme

May 17, 2014

As a beginner,you have probably heard of various free and paid themes available online. You may have tried out a few themes until you’ve found one that meets your needs. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install a WordPress theme.

This guide will cover the three different ways you can install a theme. However, before installing a WordPress theme, keep in mind that once you activated a new theme, it will change how your website looks and functions. If you are switching from an existing theme, then you need to do several checks first before changing to a new WordPress theme.

Here are the different ways to install a WordPress theme.

  1. Select a free theme from the theme directory >> Install& activate
  2. Download a theme from any other theme directory >> upload zip by using Upload Method from WordPress dashboard >> Install& activate
  3. Download a theme from any other theme directory >> upload theme files using FTP >> activate

How to install WordPress theme from the dashboard


  1. Log into your WordPress admin area. Next, click on Appearance » Themes.
    Install theme

    On the themes page, you will see your current theme and all other themes you have currently installed in your server. You can preview and activate any theme from this list.

  2. To add a new theme, simply click on Add New button at the top.
    Install theme

    There are lots of free and paid WordPress themes available. On this page you can either select a free theme from the theme directory or upload a theme from your local hard drive.

  3. You will have the ability to select free themes from: Featured WordPress themes, Popular WordPress themes, Latest WordPress themes, search for a specific theme, or search for themes with specific features.

    Install theme
  4. After selecting the theme that you want to install, simply bring your mouse on top of the image.
    Install theme

    You can preview the theme by clicking on preview button or install the theme by clicking on the install button. WordPress will now install your theme and show you a success message along with the link to activate or live preview.

  5. Click on the activate button, and you’ve successfully installed and activated your WordPress theme.

    Install Theme

Install a Theme by using Upload Method from WordPress Admin

If you are want to give more a professional look to your blog or add more functionality to your blog, there are many premium(Free & Paid) WordPress themes available. You can download these premium theme from the theme directory sites. They provide these premium theme in .Zip format, which you can use to install WP theme directly from dashboard.

  1. Log into your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to Appearance> Themes > Add New

    Install theme
  2. Click on browse, select & locate your .zip file for theme and click on Install now. Once you click on Install now, your theme will be uploaded and will be installed on your server.

    Install theme
  3. On the next screen, you will see an option to activate the theme.

    Install theme

Installing a WordPress Theme using FTP

Most people are able to upload their themes from WordPress dashboard. But there are times when their web host provider is too strict and not able to do it from dashboard. Then you need to upload files manually to your web server. The most common way to do this is by using an FTP or SFTP (Secure) client. For doing so, you need to have:

  1. An SFTP client installed in your machine. (To learn more about configuring your SFTP client – View FileZilla installation tutorial.)
  2. A software like WinRAR to unpack .zip file. (If you don’t have any WinRAR installed, download the free version of WinRAR and install it). Alternately, you can open Compressed Folder in Windows Explorer.
  3. FTP login details and server address – FTP information can be found in the welcome email you got after you pay for your new hosting account. Find your FTP Host/Address, FTP User & Password

Theme Upload Instructions

  • Unzip your theme .zip file somewhere on your local computer.

    Install theme
  • After extracting the .zip file, upload the entire theme folder via SFTP to your /wp-content/themes/ directory.
    Install theme

    (file transfer type should be “Auto” and not “ASCII” or “Binary”. This is the default for FileZilla.)

  • How to activate any installed theme from this list – Once you done with the upload and installation using dashboard or FTP method, you can browse all installed themes from your WP dashboard.
    Install theme

    Log into your WordPress admin area. Next, click on Appearance » Themes.. You can Preview or activate the theme directly from here.

We hope this step by step guide helped you install a WordPress theme on your site.