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How to Install WordPress Themes

This tutorial will show you how to install a WordPress theme. This guide is intended for absolute WordPress beginners and those wanting to make sure they did it right.

The first half of this guide will talk about free themes from WordPress.org. Scroll down the page for a guide to installing commercial themes.

Install Free WordPress Themes

Let's see what themes are available for our WordPress site:

  • Login to your WordPress site.
  • Go to Appearance -> Themes.
  • Click the "Add new" button.
add new WordPress theme

You will now see the WordPress theme directory. It pulls in themes from WordPress.org and displays them directly in your site for installation. You can search the themes too.

All the themes that are available there are free and there are thousands to choose from. In the next section we'll show you how to install a commercial theme.

To install a theme, click on it, then you'll see the "Install" button:

The Install button for WordPress themes

Install Commercial and Custom WordPress Themes

Only free themes are available on the WordPress theme directory. Commercial themes and custom themes need to be uploaded manually instead. Here's how to install a commercial theme.

Go to the following area:

  • Login to your WordPress site.
  • Go to Appearance -> Themes.
  • Click the "Add new" button.
  • Click on the "Upload Theme" button at the top of the screen.
  • You can click "Browse" and find your theme's .zip file.
  • Click "Install Now" to complete the install.

Activate and customize

Once you have a theme installed, go to:

  • Appearance -> Themes.

Here you can activate the theme. Hover your mouse over the theme, and you'll see the "Activate" button:

The Activate button for WordPress themes

Once the page loads, hover over it again and click the "Customize" button that appears.

Each theme's customization options are unique, so we'll leave the tutorial here for now. But, the customization options should be easy to understand and you just need to make sure to click Save at the end.

Congrats! You've installed and set up a theme. This video from the WordPress Beginner class gives you more information about WordPress themes:


About the author

Nick is the Director of Support at OSTraining and you can find him in almost every area of the site, from answering support requests and account questions to creating tutorials and software.