How To Install WordPress Theme For The First Time User

WordPress Theme Installation

We are extending our WordPress guide, and here we are going to give you a complete guide to installing WordPress theme. Like WordPress plugin installation, WordPress themes can be installed from Dashboard or FTP software. We will give you the guide to both the methods & before we move ahead, I would like you to read following guide, which will help you to get started with WordPress.

Before we move ahead with this guide, here are some of the resources from where you can download WordPress themes. Though there are many Free WordPress themes available, I always vouch for premium one if you are looking to establish a professional blog on WordPress:

There are many other resources, and you can check them at Best WordPress Premium theme club. Though you might like to Install WordPress locally and test your WP Theme before making new theme live on your site. For starters, when we install WordPress, by default we get stock WordPress theme which is Twenty eleven at the moment. You can always search themes from WordPress free themes directory using WP dashboard, or you can download any .zip file for the theme and upload it directly using any of the below given two methods.

You can also use Theme Test Drive plugin to make changes in your WordPress theme live without showing new theme to your readers.

Guide to Install WordPress theme:

By now, I assume you have downloaded WordPress theme from the official repo. Usually, most of the premium theme clubs offer Themes in.Zip format, which you can use to install WP theme directly from the dashboard. So let’s assume, you have downloaded the theme file in.Zip format and you want to install it on your self-hosted WordPress blog.

  • Login to your WordPress dashboard
  • Navigate to Appearance> Themes > Add new

Here is a screenshot for the procedure:

Install New WordPress theme


Click on Upload theme. & then Browse/Upload the downloaded WordPress theme file in.Zip format.

Upload WordPress Theme

Once you click on Install now, your theme will be uploaded and will be installed on your server. On the next screen, you will see an option to activate the theme like this:

Activating WordPress Theme

Before you activate the theme, you can preview your site with a new design by clicking on Preview.At times, preview might not give the exact preview and will show some error, it usually happens. So, if it’s not your live site, you can activate and see the theme live on your site.

How to Install WordPress theme using FTP:

This is one method that I prefer when installing multiple themes or editing themes. FTP method is useful when your server security doesn’t allow you to install theme and plugins from the dashboard. When installing themes from the dashboard is throwing some error. Moreover, FTP method can be considered as manual WordPress theme installation.

To get started with FTP method to install the theme, you need to have an FTP software like FileZilla or your cPanel should offer FTP access from the web panel. Apart from FTP, you need to have software like WinRAR to unpack the .zip file.

In FTP method, we remove the theme and upload it directly to your themes folder. WordPress themes folder is located under WP-content folder of your WordPress directory.

Unpacking the theme:

As I mentioned above, most of theme club pack the theme in the .zip format as WordPress supports .zip compression at this time. So, you need to unzip the theme folder. If you don’t have any such software installed, download the free version of WinRAR from the official site and install it. Once installed, right-click on .zip folder of the theme and select unzip, see screenshot:


Now login to your FTP manager and locate to wp-content/Themes folder or your WordPress installation and upload the unzipped folder directly. So in case, I will directly upload Unzipped folder to my server.


That’s it, and now your theme is uploaded on your server. Now it’s time to preview and activate the theme.

How to activate WordPress theme:

One you have installed the theme using dashboard or FTP method, you can always browse all installed themes from your WP dashboard. Go to Appearance> Themes, and you will see a list of all installed themes on your blog. You can Preview or activate the theme directly from here.

Activate new WordPress theme


How to delete/uninstall WordPress themes:

So by now we have learned how we can install WordPress theme. Now, it’s time to remove unused WordPress themes. Similar to WordPress theme installation, there are two ways by which you can remove WordPress theme.

As shown in above picture, you can browse to Appearance> Themes and click on delete to remove any theme. I suggest, never delete your live theme directly. Switch to another theme first and then deletes existing themes.

You can also login to your FTP Manager and locate to wp-content/Themes and delete the theme which you would like to delete. Personally, I find Dashboard method is the best way to get rid of unused themes.

Note: If you are switching from any Wp theme whose SEO features you are using, don’t forget to export and import it to your new theme. Or you can alternatively, use many plugins like WordPress SEO to import SEO settings from the current theme.

Anyways, I hope this Install WordPress theme guide will help you to move one more step to WordPress. If you have any particular query related to WordPress, don’t forget to let us know on our Fan page. Also, a quick reminder for WordPress newbies to subscribe to our Email newsletter to keep receiving more topics related to WordPress.

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 11 )

  1. Ameer says

    Hi ..
    I bought a theme for my website which is not appropriate for it basically affiliate marketing, coupons and deals dealing with,could you suggest me a better theme for coupons, offers and deals with how to install wordpress and plugins, I need to know one more thing on wordpress admin backend under the dashboard panel how to set up STORES and CATEGORIES separately so it could directly link with theme on the frontend.

  2. sachin says

    Thanks Harsh .I have Set up my New WordPress site by reading your Articles and tips ..This is the Best word press Guide site for we Newbies…

  3. Pratap says

    Dear Harsh,
    I am a great fan of your blogging. You always keep posting tips and guidance for blogging. I appreciate.
    I want to have a Thesis theme for my blog Visbon.Com. Can you, please tell me is there any free download of Thesis theme is available? I would be thankful.

  4. richard says

    im new to wordpress i dont any idea installing themes. i cant see install themes on my pannel all i can see is MANAGE THEMES belos 3 buttons CustomDesign, Header, Background, pls help! i want to change my default template to custom.

  5. Adeline says

    Good tutorial for newbie bloggers! I struggled when I initially started blogging and wish I had subscribed to your blog for good WordPress and SEO guidance. :)

  6. Mart says

    awesome tutorial.I am about to start blogging so these tips are great for me. This will help me becoming a nice blogger with great knowledge of wordpress and all.