Safely Change Your WordPress Theme: A Step-by-Step Guide

So how’s your black and white screen doing? That is something outdated that doesn’t get used by you in today’s date, right? The online audience you are driving to the website urges for the same! Which if doesn’t get assured can indeed result in an increased bounce rate.

Whenever a user taps into your website, an interface with a fresh and modern look is what looks engaging, for which choosing the right WordPress theme or making a shift to a new one becomes a necessity.

If you are also looking to conduct similar practices, this article is tailored just for you. Here, you will learn how to change your WordPress theme in just a few simple steps while getting hands-on with some must-know crucial points and measures to consider while making the transition.

What is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme is the visual backbone of a website, influencing its appearance and layout. It simplifies the design process for website owners, offering a user-friendly way to customize the site without delving into complex coding.

  • Customization Made Easy: Themes provide a range of options for color schemes, font styles, and layout structures, enabling users to personalize their website effortlessly.
  • Instant Transformation: Changing themes through the WordPress admin dashboard is a seamless process, allowing website owners to instantly give their site a fresh look without technical hurdles.
  • Versatility in Design: With thousands of free and premium themes available, users can choose a design that suits their industry, style preferences, and functional requirements.
  • Responsiveness Matters: Themes contribute to a website’s responsiveness, ensuring a consistent and appealing user experience across various devices.
  • Considerations in Theme Selection: Users should weigh factors like choosing right WordPress plugins that align with theme compatibility, quick loading speed, and user reviews when choosing a theme to ensure optimal performance.

At its core, a WordPress theme serves as a dynamic tool, empowering website owners to craft a visually appealing and functional online presence. Its ease of use and a vast array of options make it an integral component in shaping the virtual identity of any WordPress-powered site.

Why Would Someone Want to Change The WordPress Theme?

Changing a WordPress theme is a significant decision that website owners may consider for various reasons. One of the main reasons is to give their website a fresh and updated look, which is crucial for businesses or blogs to stay relevant. 

Additionally, a different theme may offer improved functionality and better customization options, allowing users to better showcase their content or products.

1. Evolving Aesthetic Preferences

Over time, individuals may undergo shifts in aesthetic preferences or wish to align their website’s design with contemporary trends. Changing the theme allows for an instant visual transformation, keeping the site’s look fresh and engaging.

2. Improved Functionality

If a website’s current theme lacks essential features or is incompatible with desired plugins, users may seek for a new theme to unlock enhanced functionality. This ensures their site remains technologically up-to-date and meets evolving needs.

3. Responsive Design Requirements

With the increasing use of mobile devices, a responsive design is imperative. If a current theme isn’t mobile-friendly, switching to a responsive theme becomes essential to provide a seamless and optimized user experience across various screen sizes.

4. Enhanced User Experience

Newer themes often come with improved navigation structures, cleaner layouts, and better user interfaces. Changing the theme can enhance the overall user experience, making it easier for visitors to navigate, find information, and engage with the content.

5. Keeping Up with Technological Advancements

As web technologies evolve, older themes may become outdated and less secure. Switching to a newer theme ensures that the website remains compatible with the latest web standards, security protocols, and performance optimizations, providing a more robust online presence.

Keeping up with the latest web design trends and improving the user experience are some of the common measures you should consider while changing a WordPress theme. Lastly, you can also opt for custom WordPress theme design and development services to address specific requirements and maintain a unique brand identity.

How to Choose the Right WordPress Theme?

When it comes to changing your WordPress theme, it’s important to make an informed decision. With so many themes available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right WordPress theme for your website. In this section, we will discuss the key factors to consider when choosing a WordPress theme. 

From the purpose and content of your website to the design and customization options, we will cover everything you need to know in order to make the best choice. So let’s dive in and find the perfect theme for your website!

1. Consider Your Website’s Purpose and Content

When selecting a WordPress theme for your website, it’s crucial to align your choices with the fundamental aspects of your website. Tailoring your theme to the purpose and content of your site ensures a harmonious blend of aesthetics and functionality.

  • Identify Website’s Purpose: Begin by clearly defining the purpose of your website. Whether it’s a portfolio, blog, business listing, or woocommerce site, understanding its primary goal sets the foundation for selecting a theme that caters to your specific needs.
  • Analyze Your Content: Take stock of the type of content you’ll be presenting. Different themes are optimized for various content formats, such as text-heavy blogs, image-centric portfolios, or product-focused e-commerce sites. Choose a theme that complements and enhances your content.
  • Consider Functionality: Evaluate the functionality required for your website. If you need specific features like contact forms, social media integration, or e-commerce capabilities, ensure the theme you choose supports these functionalities or can be easily extended through plugins.
  • Evaluate Design Options: Themes come in diverse design styles. Assess options that resonate with your brand identity and the visual experience you want to provide to your audience. Balance aesthetics with readability and usability to create a positive user experience.
  • Read Reviews: Investigate user reviews and ratings for prospective themes. Real-world experiences provide insights into a theme’s performance, customization options, and potential challenges. Learning from the experiences of others helps in making an informed decision.

Choosing a WordPress theme is a thoughtful process that involves aligning the purpose and content of your website with the available design and functionality options. 

By carefully considering these aspects and drawing on the experiences of other users, you pave the way for a theme that not only looks good but also seamlessly enhances your website’s overall performance and user engagement.

2. Look for Responsive and Mobile-Friendly Designs

Where websites get accessed through multiple devices, the importance of responsive and mobile-friendly web design cannot be overstated. Ensuring your WordPress theme seamlessly adapts to various structures is vital for providing an optimal user experience.

  • Research: Start by researching themes known for their responsive design. Look for themes developed with mobile responsiveness in mind on the marketplace such as Themeforest and Envato Elements as these ensure that your website looks and functions well across a range of devices.
  • Preview: Utilize theme preview options provided by WordPress. This allows you to visualize how the theme appears on different screen sizes. Pay attention to the layout and readability, ensuring a consistent and appealing presentation.
  • Check Compatibility: Verify that the theme is compatible with mobile devices and major web browsers. A theme might look great on a desktop, but if it doesn’t function well on mobile, it could lead to a poor user experience for a significant portion of your audience.
  • Read Reviews: Explore reviews specifically focusing on how well the theme performs on mobile devices. User feedback can provide valuable insights into any potential issues or strengths related to mobile responsiveness.
  • Test Performance: Conduct performance tests to assess the loading speed of the theme on mobile devices. A slow-loading website can deter visitors. Opt for a theme that not only looks good on mobile but also ensures a fast and smooth user experience.

By thoroughly researching, previewing, and testing themes, you ensure that your chosen WordPress theme not only captures attention with its design but also delivers a seamless and engaging experience across all devices, enhancing accessibility and user satisfaction.

3. Check for Compatibility with Plugins

Moving to a WordPress theme is not just about aesthetics; it’s also about offering rich functionalities. Ensuring compatibility with essential plugins is crucial for expanding your website’s capabilities.

  • Plugin Research: Before settling on a theme, research the plugins you intend to use. Ensure that the theme is compatible to achieve an improved WordPress SEO, security, e-commerce, and other functionalities you plan to incorporate.
  • Check Plugin Support: Verify if the theme explicitly mentions support for various plugins. Some themes are designed to work seamlessly with specific plugins, providing enhanced features and performance.
  • Explore Demo Sites: If available, explore the demo sites of the theme with the plugins you plan to use. This allows you to witness how the theme integrates with these plugins and whether there are any conflicts or compromises in functionality.
  • Read Compatibility Notes: Review any compatibility notes provided by the theme developer. Some themes offer detailed documentation outlining supported plugins and potential issues. This information can be invaluable in making an informed decision.
  • Community Feedback: Tap into user communities and forums to gather insights on how well the theme collaborates with different plugins. Real-world experiences shared by other users can shed light on potential challenges or advantages related to compatibility.

In the dynamic landscape of WordPress, the right combination of theme and plugins empowers your website with diverse functionalities. Checking for compatibility ensures a smooth integration of plugins, enhancing the overall performance and capabilities of your site.

4. Consider the Design and Customization Options

The design of your website plays a pivotal role in capturing the attention of visitors and conveying your brand identity. Undoubtedly, a WordPress theme should not only offer aesthetic appeal but also provide robust customization options to tailor the design to your unique preferences.

  • Design Flexibility: Opt for a theme that offers a balance between predefined design elements and flexibility. This allows you to customize the appearance without limitations, ensuring the theme aligns with your brand identity.
  • Color and Typography Options: A good theme should provide a variety of color schemes and typography options. This flexibility allows you to match your website’s look and feel with your branding guidelines, creating a cohesive visual experience.
  • Layout Options: Consider themes that offer diverse layout options for different sections of your site, such as the homepage, blog, and portfolio pages. This flexibility enables you to create a dynamic and engaging website tailored to your specific content.
  • Widget and Sidebar Customization: Ensure the theme supports customizable widgets and sidebars. This feature enhances the functionality of your site by allowing you to add various elements, such as social media feeds, recent posts, or newsletter sign-up forms.
  • Visual Editor Compatibility: If you prefer a more visual approach to customization, check if the theme is compatible with popular visual editors. This makes it easier for users with limited coding experience to make design changes intuitively.

In the realm of WordPress themes, striking a balance between design aesthetics and customization options is key to creating a website that stands out. 

Choosing a theme that offers a range of design elements and customization flexibility ensures that your website not only looks visually appealing but also aligns seamlessly with your brand and content preferences.

5. Read Reviews and Ratings

In the vast inventory of available WordPress themes, the experiences and opinions of other users can be invaluable in making an informed decision. Reading reviews and analyzing ratings provide insights into a theme’s performance, reliability, and user satisfaction.

  • Research Reputable Sources: Start by exploring reviews from reputable sources, such as WordPress theme marketplaces, forums, and independent review websites. These platforms often aggregate diverse opinions, offering a comprehensive view of a theme’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Analyze Overall Rating: Look at the overall rating of the theme. While a high rating is generally positive, also consider the number of ratings. A theme with a high rating based on a significant number of reviews may be more reliable than one with a perfect rating but only a few reviews.
  • Read Individual Reviews: Dive into individual reviews to understand the specific experiences of users. Look for patterns in feedback, especially regarding performance, customization options, support responsiveness, and compatibility with plugins.
  • Look for Specific Feedback: Pay attention to reviews that provide detailed feedback on particular aspects of the theme. This can include comments on mobile responsiveness, loading speed, ease of customization, and any challenges users may have encountered.
  • Consider the Number of Ratings: A theme with a large number of ratings is generally a positive indicator of its popularity and reliability. However, balance this with the overall sentiment expressed in the reviews to get a comprehensive understanding.

User reviews and ratings serve as a compass, guiding you toward a theme that aligns with your expectations. By thoroughly researching and considering the insights shared by other users, you equip yourself with the knowledge needed to choose a theme that not only looks good but also performs reliably, ensuring a positive experience for both you and your website visitors.

How to Change Your WordPress Theme?

Changing your WordPress theme can give your website a fresh new look and feel. However, it’s important to approach this process carefully to avoid any potential issues. In this section, we will guide you through the process of changing your WordPress theme step-by-step. 

We’ll cover how to back up your current theme and website, install and activate the new theme, and customize it to fit your needs. So, let’s get started on transforming your website with a new theme.

1. Backup Current Theme and Website

Changing your WordPress theme is an exciting way to refresh your website’s look and feel. However, it’s crucial to approach this process with caution to avoid potential data loss or disruptions. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change your WordPress theme while ensuring the safety of your content.

  • Backup Current Theme and Website: Before making any changes, create a full backup of your current WordPress website. This includes theme settings, customization options, and all content. Use reliable backup plugins or your hosting provider’s backup tools to ensure you have a restore point in case anything goes wrong.
  • Select a New Theme: Browse through the WordPress Theme Directory or third-party theme marketplaces to find a new theme that suits your preferences and meets your website’s requirements.
  • Activate the New Theme: Once you’ve chosen a theme, go to your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to “Appearance,” and click on “Themes.” Locate the new theme and click “Activate.” Your website will now reflect the design and layout of the selected theme.
  • Review and Customize: After activating the new theme, thoroughly review your website to ensure everything appears as expected. Some elements may need adjustment due to variations in theme structures. Use the theme customization options to personalize the design, such as changing colors, fonts, and layout settings.
  • Test and Optimize: Test your website’s functionality across different devices to ensure the new theme is responsive and performs well. Optimize images, fix non-functioning permalinks, and ensure that all plugins remain compatible with the new theme. Monitor your website’s performance to address any issues promptly.

Changing your WordPress theme is a transformative process that requires careful planning and execution. By following these steps, starting with a thorough backup and concluding with optimization, you can confidently switch to a new theme, giving your website a fresh and appealing look while safeguarding your valuable content and data.

2. Install and Activate the New Theme

Installing a theme in WordPress and activating it – is a straightforward process that allows you to give your website a fresh and updated appearance. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to seamlessly install and activate a new theme to enhance your site’s visual appeal.

  • Choose a Theme: Begin by selecting a theme that aligns with your website’s purpose and design preferences. You can explore themes from the WordPress Theme Directory, or third-party marketplaces, or use a theme that you have purchased or downloaded elsewhere.
  • Download the Theme: If you’re using a theme from a source other than the WordPress Theme Directory, download the theme files to your computer. The theme usually comes in a compressed file format (ZIP).
  • Access WordPress Dashboard: Log in to your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to the “Appearance” section on the left-hand menu and click on “Themes.” Here, you’ll see the currently installed themes.
  • Upload and Activate the New Theme: Click on the “Add New” button at the top of the Themes page. If you’ve downloaded the theme, click on “Upload Theme” and select the ZIP file. If the theme is from the WordPress Theme Directory, you can search, install, and activate it directly.
  • Customize Your Theme: Once the new theme is activated, explore the customization options within the WordPress Customizer. Here, you can modify settings related to colors, fonts, layout, and other design elements to personalize the theme according to your preferences.

Installing and activating a new theme is a compelling step in transforming the visual identity of your WordPress website. Whether you’re opting for a sleek design or a more functional layout, following these steps ensures a smooth transition to a new theme.

Remember to customize the theme to best represent your brand and engage your audience effectively. If you are unaware of the steps to achieve so, considering WordPress development services from a trustworthy firm is preferable.

3. Customize Your New Theme

Customizing your new WordPress theme is a pivotal step in creating a website that reflects your unique style and brand identity. Whether you’re aiming for a sleek corporate look or a vibrant, creative vibe, customization allows you to tailor the theme to meet your specific needs.

  • Access the WordPress Customizer: Head to the WordPress dashboard and locate “Appearance” > “Customize.” The WordPress Customizer provides a real-time preview of changes, making the customization process intuitive and user-friendly.
  • Header and Footer Adjustments: Tailor the header and footer sections to align with your brand. Customize elements like logo placement, navigation menus, and social media links. Ensure consistency by incorporating your brand colors and selecting fonts that complement your overall design.
  • Color Palette and Typography: Dive into the color and typography settings within the customizer. Adjust the color palette to match your brand’s aesthetics and select fonts that enhance readability and convey the desired tone for your content.
  • Layout and Widget Settings: Explore options for adjusting the layout of your pages and posts. Some themes offer different layout styles or widget areas. Experiment with these settings to find a layout that suits your content organization and presentation preferences.
  • Background and Images: Customize the background of your site and incorporate images or graphics that resonate with your brand. Ensure that visuals are high-quality and relevant to your content. Use this opportunity to create a visually appealing and cohesive online environment.

In the realm of WordPress customization, your creativity and branding preferences take center stage. By leveraging the WordPress Customizer and exploring the various settings offered by your theme, you have the power to transform your website into a unique and engaging digital space. 

These personalized touches not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also contribute to a memorable user experience for your audience. As you navigate the customization process, keep in mind the essence of your brand and the impression you want to leave on your visitors.

What to Do If Something Goes Wrong While Changing WordPress Theme?

While changing your WordPress theme can be a straightforward process, it can also come with its fair share of challenges. If something goes wrong during or after the theme switch, don’t panic. In this section, we will discuss the steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve any issues. 

From checking for compatibility issues to restoring a backup, we’ve got you covered. And if all else fails, we’ll guide you on how to seek help from support forums or a professional. Let’s learn more and ensure a smooth transition to your new WordPress theme.

1. Check for Compatibility Issues

When switching to a new WordPress theme, it is crucial to check for any compatibility issues to ensure a smooth transition. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Test Compatibility: Before making any changes, review the documentation or support forums for the new theme to see if there are any known compatibility issues with your current plugins or customizations.
  • Use a Staging Site: Create a staging site where you can test the new theme without affecting your live website. This allows you to identify and resolve any compatibility issues before applying the changes to your live site.
  • Test Functionality: Activate the new theme on your staging site and thoroughly test all the functionalities, including plugins, widgets, forms, and custom code, to ensure everything works as expected.
  • Check Design Consistency: Make sure the new theme maintains the overall design consistency of your website. Pay attention to elements like fonts, colors, images, and layout to ensure a seamless user experience.
  • Responsive Design: Test the new theme on different devices and screen sizes to ensure it is responsive and mobile-friendly. This is crucial for delivering a positive user experience across all devices.

By following these steps and checking for compatibility issues, you can ensure a successful transition to your new WordPress theme without any major disruptions or issues.

2. Restore Your Backup

Moving to a new WordPress theme is an exciting endeavor, but occasionally, issues may arise during the transition. It’s essential to be prepared and know what steps to take if something goes wrong. One key strategy is to restore your backup, ensuring a quick and efficient recovery process.

  • Identify the Issue: Diagnose the problem by identifying what specifically went wrong. This could include layout issues, broken functionality, or any other unexpected behavior.
  • Deactivate the New Theme: In the WordPress dashboard, go to “Appearance” > “Themes.” Activate the default WordPress theme or any previously used stable theme. This will deactivate the problematic new theme.
  • Access Your Backup: If you followed best practices and created a backup before making changes, access your backup files. This may involve using a backup plugin or your hosting provider’s backup tools.
  • Restore Theme Files: Replace the theme files in your WordPress installation with the ones from your backup. This can typically be done via WordPress FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or through the file manager in your hosting control panel.
  • Restore the Database: If your backup includes a database snapshot, restore it to revert your website’s content, settings, and configurations to the state it was in at the time of the backup. This process may involve using a database management tool provided by your hosting platform.

Encountering issues during a theme switch is not uncommon, and having a backup plan is crucial for a swift recovery. By promptly identifying and addressing the problem, deactivating the new theme, and restoring your backup, you can revert to a stable state. 

Remember to thoroughly test any theme changes on a staging site or in a local environment before implementing them on your live site to minimize the risk of issues. With these steps, you can navigate setbacks effectively and ensure a smooth transition to your new WordPress theme.

3. Seek Help from Support Forums or a Professional

Encountering challenges while moving to a new WordPress theme can be frustrating, but you’re not alone. Seeking assistance from a WordPress development company or hiring professional WordPress developers can provide valuable insights and solutions to get your website back on track.

  • Document the Issue: Clearly document the problem you’re facing. Note any error messages, unexpected behaviors, or specific areas of concern. This information will be valuable when seeking help.
  • Visit Support Forums: Head to the support forums associated with your WordPress theme or relevant plugins. Describe your issue in detail, providing any error messages and steps you’ve taken. Theme developers and fellow users often contribute solutions and troubleshooting advice.
  • Check WordPress Community Forums: Explore broader WordPress community forums, such as the official support forums. Sometimes, issues are related to WordPress core functionalities, and the community may have encountered similar problems.
  • Consult Professional Help: If the issue persists or is complex, consider hiring a professional. WordPress developers or consultants can provide tailored solutions, ensuring a thorough diagnosis and resolution of the problem. Platforms like Upwork or Codeable can connect you with skilled professionals.
  • Provide Access Carefully: If seeking professional help, share access credentials carefully and only with trusted individuals or services. Ensure that the professionals adhere to best practices regarding security and data privacy.

When in doubt, seeking assistance from support forums or professionals is a prudent step to resolve issues swiftly and effectively. The WordPress community is vast, and there are experts ready to lend a helping hand. 

By documenting the problem, reaching out to relevant forums, and considering professional assistance, you can overcome challenges and ensure a smooth transition to your new WordPress theme. Remember to stay patient and proactive in seeking solutions, keeping the long-term stability and performance of your website in mind.

FAQs About How to Change WordPress Theme

Why can't I change my theme on WordPress?
  • Compatibility Issues: Some themes may not be compatible with certain versions of WordPress or other plugins, causing conflicts.
  • Insufficient Permissions: Ensure that you have the necessary permissions to change themes. Users with limited roles might not have this capability.
  • Custom Code Conflicts: If your previous theme had custom code in the functions.php file or elsewhere, it might conflict with the new theme.
How do I move my WordPress site to a new theme?
  • Backup Your Website: Before making any changes, create a comprehensive backup of your website, including the database and files.
  • Choose a New Theme:Select a new theme that aligns with your preferences and the goals of your website.
  • Install and Activate the New Theme: Use the WordPress dashboard to upload, install, and activate the new theme.
  • Customize the New Theme:Tailor the new theme to your liking using the WordPress Customizer. Adjust settings for colors, typography, layout, and other design elements.
  • Test Your Website: Thoroughly test your website's functionality and appearance to ensure everything works as intended with the new theme.
How do I manually change the theme in WordPress?
  • Access the WordPress Dashboard: Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Navigate to Themes: Go to "Appearance" > "Themes" in the sidebar.
  • Activate a New Theme: If you have a new theme already installed, click "Activate" under the chosen theme.
  • To install a new theme, click "Add New" and either upload a theme or choose one from the WordPress Theme Directory.
  • Customize the New Theme: Once activated, customize the new theme using the WordPress Customizer to adjust various settings.
  • Preview Changes: Use the "Live Preview" option to see how changes will appear before making them live on your website.


In conclusion, changing your WordPress theme is a significant decision that can greatly impact your website’s appearance and functionality. As you embark on the journey of selecting a new theme, it’s crucial to consider factors such as your website’s purpose, content analysis, responsiveness, and compatibility with plugins. 

Striking a balance between design aesthetics and customization options ensures that your website not only looks visually appealing but also aligns seamlessly with your brand and content preferences.

If you are looking to change your WordPress theme or seeking custom WordPress theme development services, our team of experienced developers with over 8 years of expertise is here to help. Feel free to get in touch with us for tailored WordPress solutions that align with your business norms and aspirations.

Mehul Patel is a seasoned IT Engineer with expertise as a WordPress Developer. With a strong background in Core PHP and WordPress, he has excelled in website development, theme customization, and plugin development.

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