How to Properly Switch WordPress Themes on Your Site

Are you looking to change the WordPress theme on your site? It’s a fairly easy process, as long as you keep a few things in mind. In this article, we will show you how to properly switch WordPress themes.

Switching to a new WordPress theme

Preparing for a WordPress Theme Switch

Changing the appearance of your whole website is a major step. This is why before you start, we highly recommend that you create a complete backup of your site before making any changes.

Once you have created a complete backup of your website, you need to follow our complete checklist of 15 things you MUST DO before changing your WordPress theme.

Now that you have taken good notes on your theme, let’s start the process of switching themes.

Video Tutorial

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

Installing a New WordPress Theme

There are both free and paid WordPress themes available for you to pick from. The fact that you’re reading this article means you’ve already found a good theme for your needs.

If you haven’t, then look through this article on selecting a perfect theme.

Before you can switch themes, you first need to install the new theme on your site.

How to Install a Free Theme in WordPress

If you’re changing to a free theme that is in the Theme Directory on, then you can install it directly from your WordPress admin area by using the search feature.

First you need to go to Appearance » Themes where you will see a list of all currently installed themes on your site. Next, click on the Add New button on the top of the screen.

Adding a new theme in WordPress

This will take you to the Add New theme page where you can search and browse free themes from themes directory. For the sake of this example, let’s say that you want to install the Slipstream theme.

Start by typing the name of the theme in the search box, and it will automatically appear in the results.

Searching for a free theme to install from directory

Now when you take your mouse over to the theme’s screenshot, you will see a Install button. Simply click on the install button to download and install the theme.

Remember that installing a theme does not automatically “activate” or apply that theme on your website. It simply downloads the theme. We will show you how to activate an installed theme later in this article.

Installing a Theme from a Zip File

Another way to install a theme in WordPress is by uploading the zip file of your theme. If you want use a commercial WordPress theme, then you must use this method because the search method we showed above only works for free themes that are listed in the themes directlry.

Start by downloading the theme zip file on your computer. Once you have a theme zip file, then you need to go to Appearance » Themes and click on the Add New button on top of the screen.

Adding a new theme in WordPress

On the add new theme screen, you need to click on the Upload Theme button on top of the screen.

Uploading a WordPress Theme Zip file

This will bring up the Theme upload form. Simply click on the Choose file button and then locate the zip file on your computer. After selecting the zip file, you need to click on the install now button.

Select and upload the theme zip file to install

WordPress will now upload the zip archive from your computer to your website and install it for you.

Activating a Theme in WordPress

Once you have successfully installed a WordPress theme, it is time to activate and apply that theme on your website. Start by going to Appearance » Themes where you will see all the themes installed on your WordPress site including the new one that you just added.

Take the mouse over to the theme you want to activate, and you will see an Activate button below that theme.

Activating a WordPress Theme

Now all you need to do is click on the Activate button to apply that theme on your WordPress site. You can also use the Live Preview button to see how the new theme would look on your site.

Once activated, you can visit the front page of your website to see the new theme in action.