How To Update WordPress Themes

Learn how to easily update WordPress themes inside your dashboard …

Upgrading Your WordPress ThemesIf you are new to WordPress, make sure to read our overview of WordPress themes. We’ve written a detailed article that explains what WordPress themes are and how using a theme can be cost-effective and time-saving for online business owners.

This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to easily upgrade themes with just a few clicks inside the dashboard.

Updating Themes – Best Practices Checklist

Updating Themes - Best Practices Checklist

Before updating any WordPress themes, we recommend going through the “best practices” checklist below.

1. Back Up Everything

Backing up your files and data before making any updates to your site is essential. This way, if things don’t go as planned, you can always restore everything to its previous state.

If you don’t want to perform manual backups, there are many WordPress plugins you can use. You can read about a WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your site backups here:

2. Check The Theme Update Notes

Changes made to the WordPress software can affect the functionality of certain themes. Depending on the theme you are using, there may be some release notes included with an update listing any new features, improvements, security fixes or any other changes in the new version.

If the theme changes seem irrelevant or unimportant, you can skip the update. Otherwise, it’s best to update.

3. Test Your Theme

If you can, it’s a good idea to check the theme before installing it on your site.

Tip

Typically, web service providers will set up a test site where they can test the latest version of a theme, track any bugs and check if the new theme version doesn’t conflict with any existing plugins or settings before applying it to a live site.

If you’re managing your own website, you can set up a test WordPress site on a subdomain or a separate domain using the same plugins and configuration settings and play with the new theme versions on your test site before applying it to your main website.

4. Search Online

Before updating your theme, it’s a good idea to search online and see if anyone has reported any serious problems with the new theme version.

You can enter the theme name and version into Google, and search the theme developer’s support forum (many developers provide forums for paid themes, and even for some free plugins).

5. Use Child Themes For Heavily Customized Themes

If you have made extensive customizations to your existing WordPress theme files, upgrading your theme could result in your custom modifications being overwritten. To prevent losing your theme modifications, therefore, we recommend you learn how to create “child themes”.

A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme, and allows you to modify, or add to, the functionality of that parent theme. When you update the “parent theme”, all modifications get preserved through the “child theme.”

If you plan to customize your theme files, then we recommend becoming familiar with using child themes, especially if you use a theme that gets regularly updated. You can learn more about child themes by searching online, or just visit the official WordPress child theme page here:

Useful Tip

As you will see below, the actual process of updating a WordPress theme is not complicated at all … a few simple clicks and you’re done! The part of the updating process that takes the most time and effort to complete is the preparation involved prior to upgrading.

Some people don’t upgrade their WordPress themes regularly, while many upgrade without going through some or all of the steps listed in the section above. As mentioned earlier, the above are recommended “best practice” methods for ensuring problem-free upgrades. Ultimately, it is solely your responsibility as a website owner to protect your online properties.

Upgrading Themes In WordPress – Step-By-Step Tutorial

Updating your theme in your admin dashboard is simple.

Log into your WordPress admin area …

WordPress Theme Management: Updating A Theme In WordPress

Depending on which theme(s) you have installed on your site, you may receive occasional notifications in your dashboard that new theme versions are available and require updating …

Upgrading Your Themes

Updating WordPress themes from your dashboard is easy. You can update your WordPress themes using the “Themes” screen, or the “Updates” area.

Updating WordPress Themes Using The “Themes” Area

You can see which themes need updating by going to your Themes area.

Choose Appearance > Themes in your WP dashboard menu …

Theme Management: Upgrading Your Theme

This brings you to the “Themes” page …

WordPress Theme Management: How To Upgrade Your WordPress Theme

Themes that need updating display an “Update Available” message over the theme’s thumbnail image …

WordPress Theme Management: Upgrading Themes In WordPress

Locate the theme you want to update and click on the “Update Available” message.

When the theme details window opens up, click on update now

Theme Management: Upgrading Themes In WordPress

WordPress will automatically update the theme …

WordPress Theme Management: How To Update A Theme In WordPress

Your WordPress theme is now up-to-date …

Upgrading Themes In WordPress

Repeat the above to update all of your remaining themes, or use the method described below to bulk upgrade multiple themes at once.

Updating Your Theme From The “Updates” Page

Update your WordPress theme from the “Updates” page as shown below:

To view all themes in your site that require updating, click on Dashboard > Updates

Theme Management: Upgrading Your Themes

This opens up the Updates screen. Scroll down to the Themes section …

WordPress Theme Management: How To Update Your Themes

Check the box next to all the themes you want to update and click on Update Themes to complete the bulk update process …

Theme Management: Upgrading Your Theme

WordPress will automatically update all of your selected themes …

Theme Management: Upgrading Your WP Themes

Congratulations! Now you know how to update your themes in your admin dashboard.

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