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How to install a WordPress theme

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You have finished installing WordPress, and playing with its settings? Now you want to install a WordPress theme for your web site has the desired look. Good idea! Because it must be said, the theme provides by default by WordPress is not really sexy. Not to mention the fact that it is made just for blogging. Well, you tell me that the last point does not matter, because after all, WordPress is a blogging platform, right? 😉

Installing a WordPress theme, it’s really not difficult. I think if you ask yourself the question, then there is a good chance that a WordPress training is welcome 😉

So, let’s discover how to install a WordPress theme.

A WordPress theme, what is it?


Yes, before asking the question of how to install a WordPress theme, we should understand what a WordPress theme is, right? For simplicity, let’s say a WordPress theme is a graphical skin, that plugs into the features offered by WordPress. But although this is not wrong, it is a mind shortcuts that might make you commit a fundamental error. Believe that a theme is only cosmetic. A theme may also be features. It is increasingly common to find themes that are not restricted to cosmetics, but that will come, for example, offer us a guestbook area, team, FAQ … These new features make you dependent on your theme. Once you have used the new features offered by your WordPress theme, how are you going to move to another theme? So we must ban a theme that proposes this type of functionality? I would answer, yes and no 🙂

Yes, we should ban this type of theme. But it is almost impossible, as the number of WordPress themes offering additional features starting to become the norm. So there is a way to avoid becoming completely dependent on a particular theme, do not use its CPT, and use plugins instead.

Free or paid WordPress theme?

If you are really a complete beginner in WordPress, you do have may not be aware, but there are two ways to get a theme. Either free or by paying it. Anyway, you have to understand that if someone offers you to give you a paid theme for free, the problem is to be sure that this theme has no code other than the theme in question, and that you’re not about to install a beautiful back door on your website …

Installing a free WordPress theme

If you have already installed a plugin via the administration interface of your WordPress website, you will quickly realize that installing a WordPress theme is very similar, and frankly simple.

  1. Go to Appearance > Themes.
  2. To add a theme, you have two options:
    • Click on Add New Theme
      Click Add New

Both lead to the same screen.


Search criteria

As we can see from the following screenshot, five search criteria are available to us.

  • Featured, Popular, Latest: Well, these filter are rather simple to understand I think … But you will spend a lot of time this way.
  • Feature Filter: This part is already more interesting because you will be able to filter by colors, layout, features, or subject.
    • Colors: You can filter based on the colors available in the theme. But if you’re new, then you probably do not know that the majority of themes offer the ability to set the color that you want. I would not say that this filter is obsolete, because if you look for a particular color, this will help you.
    • Layout: A filter whether you want one column, two columns … The sidebar to the right, left, responsive or not, …
    • Features: While there, I find this filter already much more interesting than the first two. The list is slightly longer, so I leave you care to look at it to see them all. But the idea is that you’ll be able to choose a theme that will support the right-to-left, the ability to customize your colors, compatible with BuddyPress …
    • Subject: We can say that there is not a lot of categories, three only, for the moment … . Too bad.
  • Search themes …: Here again, I do not think I need to introduce you to the usefulness of this field of research. The field does not support search operators (such as *).

Theme Preview

Now that we’ve seen how to find a free theme, available in the repository of WordPress.org themes, we’ll see that you can preview it. For this, first let’s look at what it’s like our interface when a search returns results. Here, the search term blog.

When we move the mouse over the thumbnail of a theme we like, the phrase Details & Preview appears, accompanied by two buttons, Install and Preview.

For Preview mode just click on the thumbnail, or the button Preview. This gives us something that looks like the following screenshot for the selected theme.


To see more clearly, we must understand that this screen is divided into three. The right part, the most important, is the preview strictly speaking of the selected theme. The left column is divided into two parts.

I think this party speaks for itself. It includes the theme name, the name of the developer, an illustrative vignette, number of stars, version, and description of the theme, strictly speaking.

The last part though perhaps more obscure because they are only icons without text.

Well, in terms of the blue button, the question does not arise too much, it will allow us to install this WordPress theme. But what are the right and left arrows? They allow us to move to the preview of the previous and following themes, which were offered to us in the previous screen. It’s more convenient, no need to exit preview mode to see other themes! Speaking of out of preview mode, this is what will make the icon on the left, in the form of X.


You have finally found the theme that will have the chance to be the one you will use for your WordPress site? Cool, you must install it now. Frankly, nothing complicated. You can install from two places.

  • Either in the themes of search screen, by clicking Install, or
  • From the preview mode, also clicking the Install button:

Installing a WordPress theme does not mean it is activated. In other words, install a theme means it makes it available in the section Appearance > Themes.

Well, I doubt that your goal is not just to make it available, but to have it enabled on your site.

There are two possibilities for the theme you just installed to become the active theme:

  • Either you activate it directly after installation, or
  • From the management screen themes of your WordPress website (you must hover over the thumbnail of your theme)

So, you just installed and activated a new theme for your WordPress site, now you still have to configure it. But as the configuration of your theme depend on  the theme you have chosen.

Install a paid WordPress theme

So you’ve chosen the dark side of the force, and you want to install a paid WordPress theme. Ok, so discover it together 🙂

The trick with pay issues is that they are all more or less different, and that’s going to see the start. Indeed, most of the time, you’re gonna buy your theme, and we will offer you to download an archive. This archive, or zip, can either contain only the theme or be a more comprehensive archive, where we will find the user guide, the license … and an archive of strictly speaking theme. It will be up to you depending on the theme that you have purchased.

To install the WordPress theme, you will see that there are two methods:

Install by the administration interface

The most natural method when you want to install a WordPress theme is to go through the administrative interface. For this, go to the section Appearance > Themes. And yes, like installing a free WordPress theme. But here you click on the button Upload Theme.

You click the button Browse to upload your theme archive. Warning, it must be in Zip format. Once selected, you click Install Now. Depending on the size of the file, and your bandwidth, you will have to wait longer or shorter time.

Install using FTP

If you have already successfully installed WordPress, logically, if I speak FTP I not talking Chinese. You must already have your FTP client such as FileZilla, and your FTP codes.

Before launching your FTP client and log on to your site, you first unpack your archive. Conversely an installation by the administration interface, here it requires the archive is decompressed.

Now you can launch your FTP client. It is necessary that for the part Local Site you may be positioned up to the directory containing your theme, and for the Remote Site section you may be in the theme directory on your server, usually /wp-content/themes/.

Whether you’re installing your WordPress theme by the administration interface, or FTP, is the same result.

Activate the theme

Here you are in the final stage of the installation of you paid WordPress theme, making it no different from what we have seen for the free theme. Just make yourself part in the Appearance > Themes, moving your mouse over the theme … and activate it.

(Translated from http://www.insidedaweb.com/)

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