If you are new to WordPress, make sure to read our introduction to WordPress themes. It explains what WordPress themes are and how using a theme can save web business owners time and money.
In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to upgrade your theme inside the admin area.
- Updating Themes – Best Practices
Updating Themes – Best Practices
Before updating any themes, we recommend going through the “best practices” checklist below to ensure that no settings or customizations are lost and your upgrades go smoothly.
1. Back Up Your Site Fully
Backing up your website before making any updates to your site is essential. This way, if something goes wrong, you can always restore.
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 backup process here:
2. Check The Changelog
Changes made to the WordPress software can affect the functionality of certain themes. Depending on the theme you are using, there may be a changelog file accompanying an update listing new features, improvements, bug fixes or any other information pertaining to the new version.
If the theme changes seem irrelevant or unimportant, you can skip the update. Otherwise, it’s best to upgrade.
3. Test The Theme
If you can, it’s a good idea to check the theme before installing it on your site.
Typically, web service providers will set up a test site where they can test the latest version of an installed theme, track bugs and check to see if all plugins are working fine with the new theme before applying and activating it on a live site.
If you manage your own website, you can set up a test WordPress site on a subdomain or a separate domain with the same configuration settings (e.g. plugins) 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 do a quick search online to see if anyone has reported any issues 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. Is Your WordPress Theme Heavily Customized? Use A Child Theme
If you have made extensive changes to your existing WordPress theme files, updating 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 the use of child themes, especially if you plan on using 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:
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! What can feel slightly bothersome is the preparation involved prior to upgrading.
Many 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 “best practice” methods to help you avoid problems. Ultimately, as a website owner, it is your responsibility to protect your digital assets.
How To Update A Theme In WordPress – Tutorial
Updating your themes from your admin dashboard is easy.
Log into your WordPress administration area …
Depending on what theme(s) you have installed on your site, you may receive occasional alerts in your dashboard that your theme(s) need updating …
Updating themes in your WP dashboard is very simple and easy. You can update your site’s theme using the “Themes” page, or the “Updates” area.
Updating WordPress Themes Via The “Themes” Screen
You can see which themes require updating by going to your Themes area.
Choose Appearance > Themes in your WordPress admin menu …
This brings you to the “Themes” screen …
Themes that need updating display an “Update Available” message over the theme’s thumbnail image …
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 …
WordPress automatically updates the theme in seconds …
Your theme is now up-to-date …
Repeat the above to update all of your out-of-date themes, or use the method described below to bulk update multiple themes.
Updating WordPress Themes From The “Updates” Screen
Update your WordPress themes via the “Updates” section as shown below:
To view all themes on your website that require updating, click on Dashboard > Updates …
This opens up the Updates screen. Scroll down to the Themes section …
Check the box next to all the themes you want to update and click on Update Themes to complete the upgrade process …
WordPress automatically updates all of the selected themes …
Congratulations! Now you know how to update your theme in your dashboard.
"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)
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