Choosing the right WordPress theme is a crucial step in building an outstanding WordPress website. It’s more than just aesthetics; it impacts how users interact with your site, its loading speed, and the overall user experience. With countless themes out there, there’s something for every purpose, be it a simple food blog website or a comprehensive online store. Once you’ve found on the right theme, it’s time to put it in action. For those new to the world of WordPress, the installation is not that complicated. In this beginner guide, we will walk you through three different methods of installing a WordPress theme. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have the know-how to smoothly set up your theme, ensuring your site’s foundation is solid. Ready to dive into the world of WordPress? Let’s get started!

  1. Installing via the WordPress Repository
  2. Uploading a Custom / Premium Theme
  3. Uploading Themes via FTP

But before we dive into the installation process, let’s go over a few prerequisites to ensure a smooth installation experience.

Prerequisites before Installation

Before you install a new WordPress theme, there are a few important steps you should take:

  1. Backup your website: It is always recommended to create a backup of your website before making any changes. This will ensure that you can easily restore your site if anything goes wrong during the theme installation process.
  2. Ensure compatibility: Make sure that the theme you choose is compatible with your WordPress version. Check the theme’s documentation or theme’s official page to find out which versions of WordPress it supports.
  3. If you’re creating a new WordPress site, make sure to cover basic elements first. This means finding a suitable domain name and picking a trusted WordPress hosting service. Tending to these elements will pave the way for a seamless and secure website experience.

Now that you have taken care of these prerequisites, let’s move on to the first method of installing a WordPress theme.

Method 1: Installing a free theme via the WordPress Repository

The easiest way to install a theme is by using the WordPress theme repository.

Log in to your site’s WordPress admin panel and navigate to Appearance > Themes.

Click on the Add New button.

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On the next page, you can either search for a theme using keywords or browse through the featured, popular, or latest themes.

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Once you find a theme you like, hover over it and click on the Install button.

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After the theme is installed, you can choose to Activate it or preview how your website will look with the new theme.

Remember, activating a theme will make it visible on your website, while previewing it will allow you to see how your content will look with the new theme without making it live.

Method 2: Uploading a Custom or Premium Theme

If you have a custom or premium theme that you obtained from a theme developer or if you purchase it from a WordPress themes marketplace, you can upload it directly to your WordPress dashboard. For this method, we are going to use Volenti theme to illustrate how to download and install the premium WordPress theme. The Volenti is available to purchase on ThemeForest site. Go into your ThemeForest account > Downloads section and in the right side of the Volenti theme, click the Download button. Select the “Installable WordPress file only” option.

Make sure you have the theme .zip file saved on your computer.

In your WordPress admin panel, go to Appearance > Themes and click on the Add New button.

On the next page, click on the Upload Theme button.

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Choose the Volenti .zip file from your computer and click on the Install Now button.

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Once the theme is installed, you can either activate it or preview it before making it live on your website.

Additional info: if you’re using the site, in order to upload a custom or premium theme you’ll need to have the Premium Plan. This will not work with the free plan. Consider switching to self-hosted Check this article for the difference between vs .

Method 3: Uploading Themes via FTP

If you don’t have access to the WordPress dashboard or prefer to use FTP, you can also upload themes manually.

To do this, you’ll need an FTP client such as FileZilla. Download and install an FTP client like FileZilla.

  1. Connect to your website using the FTP client credentials and navigate to the /wp-content/themes/ directory.
  2. On your local machine, locate the zip file of the theme. Unzip it and extract the theme folder
  3. Drag and drop the extracted theme folder to the /wp-content/themes/ directory on your server.
Install WordPress theme via FTP

Once the theme is uploaded, you can go to your WordPress admin panel and activate it via Appearance > Themes

Activate WordPress theme

No matter which method you use, make sure to always check that all of your content looks good with the new theme before making it live on your website. If something doesn’t look right, double-check that all of the necessary plugins are installed and activated, or consider switching to a different theme.

Common Issues

During the theme installation process, you may encounter some common issues. Here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  • If you receive an error message stating that the theme folder already exists, make sure you have deleted the previous version of the theme before uploading the new one.
  • If your theme does not appear in the Appearance > Themes section after uploading, try refreshing the page or clearing your browser cache.
  • If you encounter any compatibility issues or the theme does not look as expected, check the theme’s documentation or contact the theme developer for support.


Congratulations! You have successfully installed a WordPress theme using one of the three methods outlined in this guide. Whether you choose to install a theme from the WordPress repository, upload a custom or premium theme, or use FTP, the installation process is straightforward and user-friendly. Now it’s time to customize your new theme and make it your own.

Explore the theme customization options in your WordPress dashboard to change colors, fonts, layouts, and more. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make your website unique.

Remember, the theme you choose sets the foundation for your website’s design and functionality. Take the time to research and select a theme that aligns with your brand and meets your specific requirements. With the right theme installed, you can easily customize and personalize your website to create a unique online presence.


Why can’t I upload my WordPress theme?

There could be several reasons why you’re facing difficulties uploading your WordPress theme. Common issues include:

  • File Size Limit: Your web hosting provider might have a file size limit for uploads. If your theme’s file is too large, it might surpass this limit.
  • Incorrect File Type: Ensure you’re uploading the .zip file of the theme and not the extracted folder.
  • Server Restrictions: Some hosting servers have restrictions or security settings that might prevent uploads.

How do I ensure my theme is compatible with my WordPress version?

Before downloading or purchasing a theme, check the theme’s documentation or the details provided by the developer. They usually list the WordPress versions the theme is compatible with. It’s also a good practice to keep your WordPress updated to ensure maximum compatibility and security.

Is it safe to install a theme via FTP?

Yes, installing a theme via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is generally safe, provided you’ve obtained the theme from a trusted source. However, it’s crucial to have backups of your site before making any changes. Using SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is even more secure than regular FTP.

Can I switch my theme back once I’ve installed a new one?

Absolutely. In your WordPress dashboard, under Appearance > Themes, you can switch between any installed themes. However, remember that switching themes might affect the design layout and appearance of your content, and some settings from your previous theme might not transfer over.