Guide: How to Install a WordPress Theme

You can pick from lots of free themes from the WordPress Theme Directory or capitalize in premium or paid themes like Cyberchimps. Paid or premium themes usually have a reliable code base and offer support if something goes wrong. Some premium themes operate more like web design software, allowing you to design and build your own theme designs and Layouts.

Choosing a WordPress Theme

Now you know what is a WordPress theme and where to get them. But it is equally important to know how to choose a perfect WordPress theme for your website. Choosing a theme, in many ways, can be the most difficult task of all. Plugins are built to be specific in their task—to be installed to perform a certain task.

While themes basically improve the appearance of the reception view of a website or blog, testing them can be more complex. You might not think of testing theme parts, for example, the 404 page, the archive, the search page and so on. Furthermore, some themes offer a lot of features, more so premium or paid themes, like support for e-commerce, social network, forums etc.

Code quality of a WordPress theme affects the speed of your website, which together with the design, affects your users directly.

Basic things to consider when looking for a good theme include:

  • Good design, including easy navigation and compact readability
  • Can be used with the latest version of WordPress
  • Compatibility with popular plugins
  • Support and documentation
  • Active development
  • Solid, secure and speedy code

Assessing the Quality of a Premium Theme

Because people have paid for a premium theme, assessing its quality is easier; people are much more likely to rate and comment on the theme than users of free themes. Premium themes are usually discussed in open forums in theme marketplaces. You can even talk to the seller before buying a premium theme. This makes it easier to evaluate the theme. Cyberchimps is one popular theme marketplace.

How to install a WordPress Theme

Installing a new WordPress theme on your WordPress-powered website can be like giving it a fresh coat of paint. Even though the content is still the same, the look is spruced up with an updated theme, making your website look fresh. It is a fairly easy thing to do and here you can learn two different ways to install a WordPress theme.

Install a WordPress Theme Through the WordPress Dashboard has hundreds of free WordPress themes that you can choose from to complete the look of your website.
Within your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Appearances and then Themes. Then, click the button that says “Add New.”

You will be taken to a screen in which you can search for and filter different types of free WordPress themes. Use the search parameters to find a theme that you like. When you find the free WordPress theme you want to use, hover your mouse over it and click the “Install” button. WordPress will now install the theme onto your website.

Once it is done installing, you will be given the choice to preview your new theme. Click the link “Live Preview” to see what your site looks like and, if you’re happy with the results, click “Activate” to finalize the new theme.

Install a WordPress Theme That You Downloaded From an External Source

Not all of the WordPress themes in existence are hosted on There are many other themes available – some free and some that cost money – that you can also use to power your WordPress website. These are easy to install as well, using either the WordPress Dashboard or an FTP client.

If you downloaded a WordPress theme from an external source, you likely have downloaded in in .zip file format.
You can install this through the WordPress Dashboard by navigating to Appearances and then Themes, and then clicking on the “Add New” button.
Then, at the top of the screen, you will need to click the button that reads “Upload Theme.” Click “Choose File” and select the .zip file that you had downloaded earlier. WordPress will now install the new theme.

If you want to get into the nuts and bolts of your WordPress website, you can install it yourself via FTP. First, you will need to unzip the .zip file to extract its contents.
Unzip the file into a temporary folder. Then, use your favorite FTP client (such as FileZilla or SmartFTP) to connect to your web host. Then, navigate to the “/wp-content/themes/” folder and copy the unzipped files into this directory.

You will then be able to find the theme uploaded in your WordPress Dashboard. When you go to Appearances and then Themes, you should be able to see your newly uploaded theme on the list of installed themes. Click “Activate” to begin using the theme on your website.

Knowing how to install new themes onto your WordPress-powered website is a great way to keep your site looking fresh. The more you know about how to work with these themes, the more you will feel in control of the design of your website.