21 Days to a WordPress Blog: Day 6: Installing Your Theme

Whether you need a simple site for your business, want to start a blog or just want to try building a WordPress website, you’ll learn all the basics in these daily lessons. In three weeks—and about 30 minutes a day—you’ll build your first WordPress blog.

Now that you’ve found the theme to best fit your needs, it’s time to install and activate it. Changing a theme is very easy to do, so if you’re aren’t thrilled with your choice you can always try a new one. However, be aware that any work you’ve put into widgets, theme options and other customization may not carry over when you switch to a new theme.

I am going to show you how to install themes two ways: One from the WordPress directory, and one premium theme.  

How to install a theme from the WordPress directory

Start by signing into the WordPress site and going to Themes under the Appearance menu. You’ll see a few options when you click Install Theme: you can search for one (it searches the WordPress Theme Directory only) or you can upload files. I’m going to use the free WordPress theme PressWork

free wordpress theme, presswork

One of the most wonderful things about WordPress is that you simply have to click Install when you find a theme you like. You’ll be asked to click Install Now on the next screen to confirm, and then WordPress will get to work downloading the theme, unpacking it and installing the files in the correct folder on the server. Now all you have to do is click the Activate button to turn on the theme and to make your changes live. (It’s important to note that WordPress sites can have many themes installed but only one activated at a time.) 

If you’re adding a theme to your site that’s hosted on WordPress, you don’t have to install anything—you just activate any theme you like. (If it’s a premium theme for your WordPress-hosted site, you’ll just be prompted to pay for it.) 

How to install a premium WordPress theme

The only real difference between installing a theme from the WordPress Directory and a theme from a third-party is that you’ll be uploading a .zip file from your computer to do the latter. I’m going to use one of my favorite responsive WordPress themes, Tisa ($39)I’ll be using the Tisa theme in some of my examples for the remainder of this series, but the advanced theme options I’ll be using are universal to Themify themes.

Head to the Themes page in the Appearance section of your WordPress dashboard. Click Install Themes at the top middle then Upload and choose the .zip file of the theme you downloaded. 

installing premium wordpress theme

The installation process may take a bit longer because the .zip file has to be uploaded to the server. If you didn’t sign up for Bluehost or have changed your security settings you may be asked for FTP credentials before you continue. 

Tomorrow: Customizing your theme

Learn more about making a WordPress website with our great design resources. Can’t wait for the rest of the posts in this series? Download the whole guide to build a WordPress site now.

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