How to Install A WordPress Theme? (Guide for Beginners)

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Installing a WordPress theme is like doing interior designing for the website. WordPress developers use the themes to determine the color scheme, layout, and overall aesthetic appeal. Plus, choosing the right one can make all the difference in the user experience of your website. 

Choosing the right theme for your website is one of the most crucial steps in the WordPress development and launch checklist. With thousands of options available, selecting a theme that aligns with your website’s purpose, aesthetics, and functionality is essential. But after you have selected the right one, the WordPress theme installation process can be a little complicated. 

So we have created this comprehensive WordPress theme installation guide that contains the best methods, the best practices, of course, why you need them. 

So without any further delay, let’s start with what a WordPress theme is.

What is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme is a simple collection of files and templates that determine the visual design, layout, and functionality of a WordPress website. So you can think of it like a skin that dictates how your website appears to visitors. 

WordPress themes are responsible for the overall look and feel of a website, including elements such as the color scheme, typography, header and footer design, page layout, and widget areas. They allow website owners to customize and personalize their sites without the need for extensive coding knowledge.

You can opt for free or premium (paid) themes from the official library or source them from third-party markets. The official WordPress theme directory offers a wide range of free themes that have undergone a thorough review process. It ensures they meet quality and security standards. Premium themes, on the other hand, are created by third-party developers and often offer more advanced features, customization options, and dedicated support.

Next up, we’ll see the significance of installing a WordPress theme on your website. 

Why Install a WordPress Theme?

Installing a WordPress theme offers several advantages and benefits that enhance your website’s appearance, functionality, and user experience. Here are some compelling reasons to install a WordPress theme:

Visual Appeal

A well-designed theme can transform the look and feel of your website, making it visually appealing and professional. Themes provide pre-designed layouts, color schemes, typography options, and other design elements that give your site a polished and attractive appearance.


Themes offer a high level of customization, allowing WordPress development experts to tailor the website to specific preferences. You can customize the different aspects of your site, such as colors, fonts, layouts, header and footer design, and widget areas. This flexibility ensures that your website reflects your brand identity and stands out among the competition.

User Experience

A good theme contributes to a positive user experience by providing intuitive navigation, clear organization of content, and responsive design. Themes optimized for mobile devices ensure that your website looks great and functions well on smartphones and tablets, catering to the increasing number of mobile users.


Themes often come with built-in features and functionality that enhance your website’s capabilities. Depending on the theme, you may have access to features like sliders, galleries, contact forms, social media integration, e-commerce support, and more. These features enable you to create a dynamic and engaging website without the need for extensive development work.

Overall, installing a WordPress theme offers a streamlined and efficient way to create a visually appealing and functional website. Whether you’re a blogger, business owner, or creative professional, a well-chosen theme can help you establish a strong online existence and engage your audience effectively.

What to Consider When Installing a WordPress Theme?

When installing a theme on WordPress, there are some key factors to consider. They ensure a smooth and successful installation process and, even beyond, the functioning of the website. 

Now, let’s first assume that the WordPress installation is already complete. Then, we can get in with taking care of these crucial considerations.

Compatibility: Check if the theme is compatible with the version of WordPress on your website. Moreover, the WordPress expert needs to update and maintain the theme regularly. That ensures compatibility with the latest WordPress updates to prevent any potential conflicts or issues.

Theme Requirements: Review the theme’s documentation or information to determine if there are any specific requirements, such as certain plugins or server configurations. Make sure your WordPress installation meets these requirements to ensure the theme functions properly.

Theme Source: Be mindful of where you’re obtaining the theme from. If you’re downloading a free theme from the official WordPress theme directory, you can trust that it has gone through a review process. However, if you’re purchasing a premium theme from a third-party marketplace or developer, research their reputation, read reviews, and ensure they provide reliable support.

Backup Your Website: Before installing a new theme, it’s always recommended to create a backup of your website. That ensures you can revert to your previous state if any issues arise during installation.

Theme Documentation: Familiarize yourself with the theme’s documentation or user guide. It typically provides instructions on theme installation, recommended settings, and customization options. Following these guidelines will help you make the most of your theme and achieve the desired look and functionality.

Test the Theme: If possible, consider testing the theme in a staging environment or on a local installation of WordPress before applying it to your live website. That allows you to experiment, customize, and ensure everything works as expected without affecting your live site.

Activate and Customize: After successfully installing the theme, activate it through your WordPress dashboard. Explore the theme’s customization options, such as colors, fonts, layouts, and widget areas, to tailor it to your preferences. Take the time to configure any additional theme-specific settings to achieve the desired appearance and functionality.

Monitor for Issues: After activating the theme, closely monitor your website for any issues or conflicts. Check your site’s functionality, responsiveness, and ensure all your existing content and plugins are displaying correctly. If you encounter any problems, refer to the theme documentation or seek assistance from the theme developer’s support channels.

Every custom WordPress development company considers these key factors to ensure the theme is not only installed correctly but also works seamlessly. They can set the stage for a visually appealing and functional WordPress website with your chosen theme.

How to Install a WordPress Theme?

After you have taken care of the key considerations mentioned above, all that’s left is to install the WordPress theme. Now, since WordPress is such a flexible content management system, you can imagine that web developers can conclude the WordPress theme installation in a few different ways.

That includes through the WordPress admin theme directory, uploading from the WordPress admin dashboard, and using FTP (File Transfer Protocol).

Method 1: Install the Theme Using WordPress Admin Theme Directory

The WordPress theme directory holds a variety of free and high-quality themes that can help you reinvigorate the design of your website. Here’s how you can access and install them. 

Step 1: Log into your site and navigate to the admin dashboard. It is typically accessed by adding “/wp-admin” to your website’s URL (e.g.,

Step 2: In the admin dashboard, locate and click on “Appearance” in the left-hand sidebar. Then select “Themes” from the submenu that appears.

Step 3: On the Themes page, you’ll see a collection of available themes. You can browse through options like Featured, Popular, and Latest themes or use the search bar to find a specific theme. You can also refine your theme search based on specific criteria through filters.

Step 4: When you find a theme you like, hover over it and click on the “Preview” button to see how it looks on your website. If you’re satisfied with the preview, click on “Install” to begin the installation process.

Step 5: After successfully installing the theme, you’ll be directed to a confirmation page. Click on “Activate” to enable the theme on your website. 

Your website will now use the newly installed theme, and you can start customizing it according to your preferences.

Method 2: Install Theme Using the Upload Method From WordPress Admin

Let’s say you aren’t satisfied with the premade themes and want a customized one. Then you have an option of PSD to WordPress conversion. Just get in touch with a company offering WordPress theme design and development services. They will help you create a high-quality custom theme for your WordPress website. Or you can go for a theme offered by a third-party resource. 

Then first off, you need to download the custom theme on your PC in a .zip file. After that, you can follow this process to install it on your website. 

Step 1: Log in to your site and navigate to the admin dashboard.

Step 2: In the admin dashboard, click on “Appearance” in the left-hand sidebar, and then select “Themes” from the submenu.

Step 3: On the Themes page, click on “Add New” at the top of the page.

Step 4: Click on “Upload Theme”. Then, click on “Choose File” to select the theme .zip file from your computer. Once selected, click on “Install Now” to start the installation process.

Step 5: Once the theme is successfully installed, you’ll see a confirmation message. Click on “Activate” to enable the theme on your website. 

Your website will now use the newly uploaded theme, and you can proceed to customize it to your liking.

Method 3: Install Theme Using FTP

Now, you may have chosen a complex theme for extensive design customizations for your website. So there is a good chance of encountering issues uploading and installing the WordPress theme manually through the regular method. In that case, a web development company may opt to go for this FTP method. 

Step 1: Connect to your website using an FTP client. Enter your FTP credentials to establish a connection with your website’s server.

Step 2: Navigate to “wp-content/themes” in the WordPress file and directory structure on your server. That is where WordPress stores all the theme files.

Step 3: Locate the theme folder on your local computer. Drag and drop the entire theme folder from your computer to the “themes” directory on your server.

Step 4: Once the theme folder is uploaded, log in to your WordPress admin dashboard. Go to “Appearance” in the sidebar and click on “Themes.” You should see the newly uploaded theme listed. Click on the “Activate” button to activate the theme on your website.

By following these step-by-step instructions for each method, you can successfully install WordPress themes using the WordPress admin theme directory, the upload method, or the FTP method. Choose the method that suits your preferences and technical expertise, or get in touch with a web design company. Their experts will install the WordPress theme for your website according to your project requirements and design preferences.

Best Practices for WordPress Themes

Although it’s pretty straightforward to download and install a WordPress theme, you need to follow some industry-best practices. They will help ensure smooth functioning, consistent design, and outstanding performance. 

Let’s discuss the best practices for WordPress theme installation.

#1. Choose a Reputable Theme: Opt for themes from reliable sources such as the official WordPress Theme Directory or well-known theme developers. These themes will likely be regularly updated, secure, and compliant with WordPress standards.

#2. Regularly Update the Theme: One of the first and most significant practices opted for by every WordPress development company is the regular updation of this CMS. Every new version brings bug fixes, security enhancements, and new features.

#3. Optimized for Speed: Prioritize themes that are optimized for speed and performance. A fast-loading website improves user satisfaction and SEO rankings.

#4. Security: Prioritize themes with a strong security track record. Themes from reputable sources are more likely to be audited for security vulnerabilities.

#5. Cross-Browser Compatibility: Ensure the theme works well on different web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge to reach a wider audience.

#6. Responsive Design: Select a theme with a responsive web design that adapts to various screen sizes and devices. A mobile-friendly website is crucial for a positive user experience and search engine rankings.

#7. Use Child Themes for Customizations: If you want to customize your theme, use a child theme instead of modifying the parent theme directly. That prevents your customizations from being lost during theme updates.

#8. Translation and Multilingual Support: If you have an international audience, choose a theme that supports translation and multilingual plugins for easy localization.

#9. SEO-Friendly: Look for themes with built-in SEO features or compatibility with popular SEO plugins to help optimize your website for search engines.

#10. Support and Documentation: Select a theme that offers good support from the developer and has comprehensive documentation. That ensures you can seek assistance and find answers to your questions easily.

#11. Test Theme Demos: Before finalizing a theme, test its demo version to see how it looks and functions. It helps you get a better idea of how it will fit your website’s needs.

By following these best practices, website developers can ensure reliable, quality, and consistent design throughout the website. It’s also important to make sure the WordPress theme aligns with the website’s goals and enhances its aesthetics for outstanding UX.

FAQs Related to WordPress Theme Installation

Can I change my theme without losing content?
Yes, changing your WordPress theme doesn't affect your website's content. However, some theme-specific settings and customizations may need to be reapplied. You may also create a WordPress child theme (from an existing theme) and implement the customizations more efficiently. WordPress development services use it for safer updates and personalized appearance for your website.
Can I install multiple themes on my WordPress site?
Yes, you can have multiple themes installed simultaneously. They will appear in the "Themes" section of your WordPress admin dashboard. However, only the active theme will be applied to your website's frontend, while the other installed themes remain inactive. The active theme determines your website's appearance. Other themes will remain installed but inactive.
What should I do if my site breaks after installing a theme?
If your site experiences issues after theme installation, switch back to the previous theme or the default WordPress theme. It will help you identify if the new theme is causing the problem. Or you may get in touch with a company offering WordPress speed optimization. They'll analyze your website and determine the exact reason why your website has slowed down or broken.


A theme determines how your website will appear to the users and visitors. Now, if your company is product-based and the website is eCommerce, the design and appearance will establish the first impression among potential customers. 

So you have to ensure that the selection process, along with the WordPress theme installation process, goes well. A lot is riding on it. That’s why WordPress experts have three methods through which they can install and activate any theme they want on their website. There’s the straightforward method of choosing the theme from the official directory, uploading one manually through the WordPress admin dashboard, and using FTP for the installation. But if you want a completely revamped design for your WordPress website, reach out to our experts today!

Nikita Shah is a technical content writer at WPWeb Infotech known for simplifying complex topics. With expertise in various technical fields, she crafts engaging articles that makes technology easy to understand. Her clear and concise writing style ensures that readers gain valuable insights while enjoying the content.

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