How to Install WordPress Themes – 3 Ways of Doing It Right

The default theme on WordPress is not a favourite among many site-owners due to its limited design and navigation features. If you are just starting out with WordPress, I’m sure you already know there are tons of options among WordPress themes, both, paid and free. In 2014 alone, 123,498,018 themes were download from WordPress.org. It is always advisable to try out a few themes on your site before deciding on the perfect one. As far as decision making is concerned, this guide to choosing a perfect WordPress theme for your business will take you a long way. There are many WordPress theme management services and experts available, by the way, who shall take care of everything from WordPress theme installation to update and customization. In this article, let’s talk about how to install WordPress themes.

Why WordPress Themes Make Life Super-Easy


Ready-made WordPress themes are a boon for front-end developers. A website’s template is something which is naturally expected to be spot-on, and more often than not, it is allotted the smallest time. Here are some reasons why you should know how to install WordPress themes.

Save Time

Deadlines for creating WordPress websites are often unreasonable. When there are thousands of themes available in a huge variety of niches, why tire yourself with the ordeal of manually developing the website’s template?

Save Money

Even the most premium WordPress themes are available at affordable prices. Buying a theme and modifying it to suit your requirements will obviously cost much less than making a developer create something from scratch.

Specialized Sorts

Whether you are a restaurant owner, an online retailer, a blogger or a journal editor, there are innumerable themes to pick from, each designed to especially suit a particular kind of website.

Multitude of Options

If you don’t like the first suitable theme you stumble upon, try out another one, and then another one, and so on. It’s like there’s no end. Keep exploring and you are bound to find a perfect theme for your WordPress.

Easy Modification

WordPress themes can be incredibly simple to modify if picked smartly. Some great plugins for modifying WordPress themes are available in the market, easing your job of revamping any website.

How to Install WordPress Themes

We will discuss three super-easy ways of installing a new theme on WordPress.

Install a WordPress Theme using WordPress Theme Search

If you think you can find a suitable WordPress theme in the WordPress.org theme directory, then the easiest method for installing WordPress themes is by using the Theme Search feature available in WordPress admin dashboard.

  1. Log on to your WordPress admin area, and on the left sidebar, navigate to Appearance >> Themes.

2. The Themes page appears. You now click on Add New, at the top of the page.

3. On the subsequent screen, you have a variety of ways to browse through WordPress themes:

  • Featured WordPress Themes
  • Popular WordPress Themes
  • Latest WordPress Themes
  • Search by Theme Name
  • Filter by colours, layouts, features, etc.

4. In whichever way you look for a theme, some search results appear. Hovering over theme images will reveal some important buttons. You can check out more details on a WordPress by clicking on Details & Preview.

5. When you find a theme you want to install, hover over the theme image among search results, and click on the Install button that appears.

6. WordPress installs your desired WordPress and displays a success message when the job is done. But, note that you still need to activate this theme. Click on the Activate link present on the success message, and there you go. All done!

Install WordPress Themes using Theme Upload in WordPress Admin

The WordPress theme directory is, of course, not the only source of WordPress themes out there. Some great third-party theme directories are available on the web, where you can access paid and unpaid themes for your WordPress website. More than 11,000 themes are available for installation on ThemeForest alone. Or maybe you have a custom WordPress theme which you want to use in your web portal. In both cases, you shall already have the theme files locally, and just need to upload them to your WordPress admin panel.

Note that you cannot upload a theme if you are using WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org, due to the limit functionality of WordPress.com. If you are figuring out how to install WordPress themes by uploading it, you need to first set up a self-hosted WordPress.org site. You can switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org to this end.

  1. Download the .zip file of the purchased theme from the commercial theme provider’s portal.
  2. Log into your WordPress Admin panel and go to Appearance >> Themes on the left sidebar.
  3. On the Themes page, click on the Add New button present at the top.
  4. In the subsequent page, click on Upload Theme. You shall find the button right next to the ‘Add Themes’ title.
  5. An upload prompt appears, asking you to upload the .zip file. Select the local compressed folder by clicking on Choose File, and once done, proceed by clicking on Install Now.
  6. WordPress installs your theme and shows you a success message when the installation completes. All you need to do next is activate this theme on your site by clicking on the Activate link on this screen.

Install WordPress Themes using FTP

If it so happens that the above mentioned simple methods do not work for you due to some unexpected issues, as admitted by WordPress, you can always learn how to install WordPress themes through FTP. This method is slightly more technical than the previous ones but easy enough to be described here. There are many WordPress professionals who would be more than happy to install and manage your WordPress themes, risk-free and following WordPress best practices. If, however, you try to do this yourself, you need to first set up your FTP if you haven’t already. Once you’re all set, here goes.

  1. On your computer, extract the .zip file of your theme, to obtain a folder.
  2. Connect to your host using FTP.
  3. Browse to the following path: /wp-content/themes/.
  4. Upload your unzipped theme folder to this directory on the FTP server.
  5. Log on to your WordPress admin dashboard and click on Appearance >> Themes on the left sidebar.
  6. Your theme will appear on the screen among the installed WordPress themes here. Move your cursor to the theme and click on Activate.

Voila! Learning how to install WordPress themes was simpler than you thought, wasn’t it? Based on which WordPress theme you picked, you may need to configure some options for that theme.

Let’s wrap up!

I hope this tiny WordPress theme installation guide was of help. Now that you know how to install WordPress themes, you are free to play around with a cacophony of options. Just choose your theme carefully and be sure to follow WordPress best practices while modifying them.

Found a hurdle while installing your new WordPress theme? Consult in the comments anytime!

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