Safely Changing Themes on Your WordPress Website: A Step by Step Guide

Published On October 30, 2018 | By Robbie Garner | Programming

If you have developed a WordPress blog or website, you would be familiar with WP themes. A theme enables you to modify the look-and-feel along with the functionality of your site. There are hundreds of options to choose from including free and paid themes. You can also choose from pre-made themes or customize them to suit your requirement and budget.

Usually, a WordPress theme is available as a ZIP file. You can install themes from the dashboard or use FTP to do the same. Let’s look at both the methods:

Installing a theme from the Admin Dashboard

This is a user-friendly method and can be used when you have the permission to install themes on the server.

  • Look for the theme that you want to install
  • Download the ZIP file
  • Sign in to the Dashboard
  • Go to Appearances—Themes
  • Choose the option – Add New
  • Select the option “Upload Theme”
  • Select the downloaded file
  • Click Install Now
  • Let the installation process complete
  • Activate

Installing a theme using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

If the server security restricts the installation of themes, then you can use the FTP method. You need access to FTP software (inbuilt in the control panel or independent).

  • Look for the theme that you want to install
  • Download and unzip the theme file
  • Login to the File Transfer Protocol console
  • Browse to the folder wp-content/themes in the directory
  • Upload the unpacked files to this folder
  • Log in to the dashboard
  • Click on Appearances
  • Select the option – Themes
  • Activate

Here are some additional tips:

  • Before you change the theme, you might want to backup your website.
  • You can also consider cloning your website for testing purposes before you make the changes Live.
  • Ensure that you turn on logging so that you can have a list of issues with the new theme handy.
  • Ensure that you have all the plugins installed and working fine before you install the new theme
  • While testing, try different browsers like Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc. and devices like desktops, laptops, mobiles, tabs, etc.

Choosing the right theme is important for user experience on your website. However, you must also keep in mind the technical aspects like optimizing the WP-database, automatic updates of WP-core, plugins, and themes, page load speeds, etc. for an optimal website experience. Partnering with a good WP Hosting provider can ensure that most of the technical aspects are managed by experts and you can spend more time running and expanding your business.

How was your experience while changing a theme on your WordPress website? Any tips that you would like to share with the readers? Please feel mention them in the comments below.

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