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How to Install a WordPress Theme from the WordPress Dashboard or FTP

Learn How to Install a WordPress Theme the Right Way


Whether you use WordPress.com or WordPress.org, you can install themes from the WordPress theme library directly from your WordPress dashboard. WordPress.org users can also install third-party themes from the WordPress dashboard by uploading them from their computers. Follow the instructions below and learn how to install a WordPress theme from your WordPress dashboard.

1. Access the Themes section of your WordPress dashboard.

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Click the Themes link in the WordPress dashboard left navigation menu. This opens the Manage Themes page which is designated by the left tab near the top of the page. Notice the Install Themes tab also at the top of the page. You need this in step 2.

2. Navigate to the Install Themes section of your WordPress dashboard.

Click the Install Themes tab near the top of the page. Next, click the links near the top of the page to search for a theme using keywords or browse through Featured, Newest, or Recently Updated themes from the WordPress theme library. When you find a theme you like, click the Activate link and that theme immediately goes live on your blog. If you want to upload a third-party theme that's not offered in the WordPress theme library, go to step 3.

3. If yours is a third-party theme, upload it.

Click the Upload link. Once you click the Upload link, the page changes to provide a Browse button, which you should click to find your theme .zip file on your computer hard drive. Once you locate the file, click the Install Now button to upload it directly to your WordPress dashboard in your blog hosting account.

4. Activate your theme.

Once the theme uploads successfully, click the activate link and it is immediately live on your blog. If your third-party theme does not upload correctly, you'll need to upload it via FTP to your hosting account. Continue to step 5.

5. Navigate to your blog's themes folder through your FTP account.

Log into your FTP account and connect it to your hard drive. Next, navigate to the root directory (usually called public_html), but if you can't find it, ask your hosting company. Double click to open your root directory and find the wp-content folder, which should be located in the folder where you installed WordPress. Double click the wp-content folder to view its contents, and look for the themes folder. Double-click the themes folder to view all of the themes currently installed for your blog. This is where you need to upload your new theme.

6. Extract your theme zip file and upload the theme folder from within it.

Use your preferred zip file extraction utility to extract all of your new theme files. Look for the theme folder within those extracted folders. This is the one you need to upload. Click on it and select Upload from your FTP account to upload it directly to the themes folder you selected in step 5.

7. Upload the plugins folder for your new theme.

If your new theme includes special WordPress plugins to function properly, you need to upload those, too. Just click on the plugins folder within the wp-content folder in your FTP account window to select it. Next, double-click on the plugins folder within the extracted files of your new theme to reveal of of its contents. Select all files within that folder then click the upload button to upload them.

8. Activate your theme.

Once your theme and plugin files are uploaded, you can return to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the Manage Themes page, and your theme will be shown there. Just click the Activate link, and it will go live on your blog immediately. If your new theme uses plugins, which you already uploaded in step 7, you also need to click the Plugins link in the left navigation menu of your WordPress dashboard to open the Plugins page and click the Activate link for each plugin. If you don't activate the plugins that go with your theme, it won't work correctly.
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