How to Install a New WordPress Theme Using a Zip File

Themes are one of the first things people learn about in WordPress, and for good reason: they control how your site looks. It’s possible to make themes look a little different from other WordPress sites using the same one, but it’s not easy and takes an almost comic amount of work. So instead you should just install a theme that gives your site exactly (or as nearly as you can) the look that you want it to have.

If you find that best match is a commercial (or paid) WordPress theme, you’ll probably download from their site a ZIP file. (Identified because it ends with .zip.) That file contains all the files that make up your WordPress theme. And the easiest way to load it onto your WordPress site it to manually drop in within your WordPress administration dashboard. Here’s a video explaining that aspect of theme installation in WordPress:

But if you prefer a written out step-by-step guide to install a new WordPress theme, here’s that…

Using WordPress: Install Theme ZIP

The basically steps install a Zipped WordPress theme are the following:

  1. Log in to your WordPress site, and get to the administration dashboard.
  2. Then, navigate to “Appearance > Themes”. This screen shows all your currently-installed WordPress themes. But we want to add a new one.
  3. To install a new WordPress theme, click the “Add New” button just to the left of the page title, at the top-left of the screen.
  4. This is mostly a search of the themes you can effortless install from WordPress.org. To install your theme using a Zip file, you’ll want to click the “Upload Theme” next to the “Add Themes” page title. This will slide down to reveal a small area to you, which says, “If you have a theme in a .zip format, you may install it by uploading it here.”
  5. To upload and install your WordPress theme zip file, you can either drag and drop the file into the area, of you can click the “Browse…” and use you operating systems file-browsing to find the file.
  6. Once the zip file is set at the value you’ll click the “Install Now” button to upload your WordPress theme.
  7. This will lead you to the installing screen. After installation of your themes completes, you’ll have the option to simply “Activate” (make it your currently shown theme) or “Live Preview” (which just shows it to you in the Customizer, and does not change what your visitors will see). Which of those, if either, you do I’ll leave in your capable hands.

Thanks for reading 🙂


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