How to install and Activate WordPress Theme, a beginners guide

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After installing WordPress on hosting or on your local server, it is necessary to understand how to install and activate your favor Theme for WordPress. There are 3 main steps to install WordPress Theme, I’ll try to explain all of them in this article.

Not familiar with WordPress? No worries, you can read about WordPress Here

Installing Theme from WordPress Admin Panel

To install the Theme from the WordPress Admin Panel, go to Appearance → Themes and click Add New button in the top left corner.

Install theme from wordpress admin panel

After opening new window, In the search field, enter the desired Theme Name, the search will be automatically, so you do not need to hit Enter button on your keyboard. (Depending on your screen resolution, search field can be on center, left or right side)

Add new theme

Hover with mouse, to desired Theme to see Details & Preview of Theme

Theme details preview

After clicking Details & Preview a customizer window will open, with Theme Description and Theme Look, after reading about Theme and navigate through theme appearance, click Install Of course if you like it 🙂 The installation process is automatic

Theme preview

If you are not sure about the name of Theme or generally what to look for, then you can use custom filters, to specify the criteria of desired Theme

Filter theme search options
Custom filters

Select the appropriate checkboxes and click Apply Filters

Please note that, the described method of Theme Installation applies only for FREE themes which are on official WordPress Theme Repository. If you have purchased a paid WordPress Theme, then install it as described below. (The method also applies to FREE WordPress Theme)

Installing WordPress Theme from your local machine (zip archive)

Download your desired Theme on your computer, make sure it is a zip archive e.g. WordPress does not support other than .zip
After downloading Theme, got to Appearance → Themes and click Add New button, exactly as it was described above in Installing Theme from WordPress Admin Panel, these methods are the same but with different installation procedure after clicking Add New button.

After a new window opens, click Upload Theme

Upload Theme

After clicking Upload Theme a hidden window will show up, click Choose File and select your downloaded theme zip file and click Install Now button. Installation will be automatically.

Upload Theme
theme install process

Sometimes this method is not working for various reasons, and then you should install a Theme with totally different method, as described below.

Installing WordPress Theme with FTP Connection

In this section you will find how to install WordPress Theme with FTP Connection. First, we will need to set up FTP connection, I will show it with BlueHost, please note that depending on your hosting provider it may be different from shown here.
In order to create FTP account, login to your BlueHots Account and go to section Advanced from left bottom, and click FTP Accounts

BlueHost account

After clicking FTP Accounts you need to create an FTP account. Fill the form with appropriate details and click Create FTP Account.

Create FTP account

That’s it! You have successfully created an FTP account, to see the details, click on created FTP account, it will be on the bottom of your screen, click Configure FTP Client

Configure FTP

Here you can see your FTP Username, FTP Server or Host and FTP Port, password for security reasons is not visible, you have to save it somewhere on your computer or on password manager.

Now all you need is to connect your hosting with FTP account and upload the theme files. Basically, other hosting providers have more or less the same way to create an FTP account nowadays, so don’t worry if you do not have a BlueHost account.

For 90& every hosting provider offers cPanel and the process of creating FTP account will be slightly different.

Next you will need a software for connecting with your hosting provider with FTP, I recommend FileZilla, it is FREE and you can download it from here.

There are a couple of ways to connect with your FTP account with FileZilla, I will show here the quickest one. Open FileZilla (After you have installed it) and enter the FT Credentials: FTP Host, FTP USername, FTP Password and FTP Port and click Quickconnect


After connecting, you should see directory listing, depending on from your hosting provider, directory listing will be different, but in general, your site files are in the following directory: public_html or home -> www -> public_html

directory listing

After directory listing, go to public_html (or home -> www -> public_html) and you will be in your sites, WordPress core directory. The Theme should be uploaded in the following directory: wp-content -> themes

theme directory

After you have navigated to Theme directory, it is time to upload your desired Theme. To do that, first you need to extract your Theme zip file, after extracting Theme, navigate to extracted directory from the left site of FileZilla, right click on extracted folder and click upload

upload theme

That’s it! You have successfully uploaded your theme with FTP. Now it is time to activate and use it 🙂
Theme activation is common for all the methods described here. The Theme will be visible after you navigate to Appearance -> Themes from your WordPress Admin Panel, all you need to do is to hover with mouse to your Theme and click Activate.

Activate Theme

After clicking Activate Theme will be ready for use. That’s it! You have successfully installed and activate WordPress Theme.


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