How To Change WordPress Theme

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How to change WordPress theme

There are so many reasons to use WordPress when designing your website.  There are plugins for everything you can think of and there are themes for any look you are going for.  The amount of themes available for your site is massive.

So many themes to choose from

A theme will change the look and layout of your website.  Themes have their own setting where you can change the overall colors and fonts used globally throughout the site.  Yes, some of these themes cost money, but…there are FREE themes as well.  In this post we are going to explain how easy changing your WordPress theme can be and how to do it.


Before you changing your WordPress theme, you want to make sure that you have selected the theme that is perfect for you.  Ensure that you read all the features of the theme before you purchase it.  Most of the time, the theme maker will provide a live “Demo” or even a “Trial” version of the theme.  Try the theme out.  If it doesn’t work the way you want it to during the demo or trial, then move on to the next one.

Once you have selected the theme that made you say “WOW”, purchase it (if needed) and download it to your WordPress installation.  There are a couple of ways of doing this:

The appearance settings in WordPress

  • Theme downloader in WordPress: In your WordPress dashboard, you will see a tab that labeled “Appearance”.  Click on that and then “Themes”.  There are 2 options here.
    • Add Theme: Click here and you will be able to search the database for a theme that you like.  Find it and install it.

Add a new theme

    • Upload Theme:  With this option you can download the theme you like, then upload the .zip file via WordPress.

Upload a new theme

  • FTP: The themes will usually be uploaded to your server using an application like Cyberduck or Filezilla.  The theme folder is located in the root directory of your site under wp-content/themes.  You are going to download the theme you want and unzip the file, then upload the theme to the “themes” folder.

Uploading themes via FTP

Note: If you decide to go the FTP route, please know that some knowledge will be needed to know how to navigate through the files to get to your root folder.  If you do not know what to do in this case, Please do not attempt it.  A small change to the wrong file or moving the wrong files could disable your site and if you can’t remember what you moved or where you moved it to, getting the site back may be difficult.  Just be careful.


Once your theme is installed, through WordPress or FTP, navigate to the WP dashboard and click on appearance > themes and you should see your theme as a chooseable option.  Activate your theme and “BOOM”, your website should now have the theme active and the look and feel should reflect that.

Activating your new theme

If for some reason your theme is not there after you installed it, it could be that it failed or that the file is corrupted.  You can try uploading it and installing it again.  If that doesn’t work, contact the developer and see if they can help.  Most of the time, especially with paid themes, there is a community of people in their forums that offer advice and fixes to known issues.  The developers themselves are usually there in the forums to help as well.


After changing your WordPress theme and Before you call it a day, make sure you check it out thoroughly.  You want to ensure that the theme looks as you envisioned it.  At times, you may have to do a few tweaks here and there to get it just right, but it shouldn’t be too overwhelming.  Take your time and go over each page and check the layout, especially the mobile version.  Most themes nowadays are already optimized for mobile, but may need some tweaking to look right on different devices.


You changed your theme and you are so happy to have made the choice you made.  That’s great.  If in time you ever notice your theme looks off or wierd, there is a good chance that you may need to update it.

Updating your WordPress themes

Theme developers usually update their themes frequently to avoid bugs, especially when there is a new version of WordPress available.  Keep an eye out for the updates after changing your WordPress theme.


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