How To Update WordPress Themes

Learn how to easily update WordPress themes inside your dashboard.

WordPress Theme Management: Upgrading Your WP ThemeIf you are new to WordPress, make sure you read our overview of WordPress themes. This comprehensive article explains what themes are and how using a theme can be cost-effective and time-saving for business website owners.

In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to easily upgrade a WP theme with just a few clicks inside the admin area.

Upgrading Your WordPress Theme – Best Practices Checklist

Updating Themes - Best Practices Checklist

Before updating any themes, we recommend going through the checklist below.

1. Back Up Your Site Fully

Backing up your website before making any changes to your site is vital. Whenever something doesn’t go as planned, you can always restore.

If you don’t want to perform manual backups, there are many WordPress plugins you can use. Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that can fully automate your backup process 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 have installed, there may be a changelog file included with an update which provides an overview of any new features, improvements, security fixes or any other information pertaining to the new version.

If the changes seem irrelevant or unimportant, you can skip the update. Otherwise, you should update.

3. Test The Theme

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

Useful Tip

Typically, web service providers will set up a test site where they can test the latest version of the theme, track bugs and check to see if all plugins are working fine with the new theme before installing 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 using the same plugins and configuration settings and play with the new theme versions on your test site before applying it to your live site.

4. Search Online

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

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

5. Use Child Themes For Heavily Customized Themes

If you have made extensive changes to your existing 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 the parent theme. When you update the “parent theme”, all modifications are 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 use a theme that gets regularly updated. You can learn more about child themes by searching online, or visit the official WordPress child theme page here:

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 bit that takes the most time and effort to complete is the precautionary work involved prior to upgrading.

Some people don’t upgrade their 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 for ensuring problem-free upgrades. Ultimately, it is the website owner’s responsibility to protect their online assets.

How To Update Your WordPress Themes – Tutorial

Upgrading your WP themes from your admin dashboard is easy.

Log into your WordPress administration area …

Theme Management: Updating Themes In WordPress

Depending on the theme(s) installed on your website, you may receive an occasional alert in your WordPress Dashboard that your theme(s) need updating …

WordPress Theme Management: Upgrading Your Theme

Updating themes in the WP dashboard is very simple and easy. You can update your site’s theme from the “Themes” area, or the “Updates” area.

Updating Your Themes Via The “Themes” Area

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

Select Appearance > Themes in your WP admin menu …

Theme Management: Updating Your Themes

This opens up the “Themes” screen …

Upgrading Your Theme

Themes with new versions 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” alert.

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

Theme Management: How To Update Your WP Themes

WordPress automatically updates your theme …

Theme Management: How To Update Your Themes

Your WordPress theme is now up-to-date …

Updating Your Themes

Repeat the above process to update all of your outdated themes, or use the method below to bulk update multiple themes at once.

Updating Your Theme Using The “Updates” Page

Update your WordPress themes from the “Updates” section as shown below:

To view all themes in your website that need updating, click on Dashboard > Updates

Theme Management: Updating Your Themes

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

Theme Management: How To Update Your Theme

Select all the themes you want to update and click on Update Themes to complete the update process …

Updating A Theme In WordPress

WordPress automatically updates all of your selected themes …

Updating Themes In WordPress

Congratulations! Now you know how to upgrade your theme from your dashboard.

***

"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill, DailyGreenPost.com

***

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Use cPanelHow To Use cPanel

cPanel is a powerful and simple-to-use web hosting management software application that gives website owners the ability to quickly and easily manage their servers and websites using a simple and intuitive dashboard.

This video course will teach you how to use the main features of cPanel to manage your web hosting.

More info: How To Use cPanel

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Install, Set Up & Use WordPress MultisiteHow To Install, Set Up & Use WordPress Multisite

Learn how to quickly and securely set up an online community of websites or blogs using the powerful WordPress Multisite feature.

More info: WordPress Multisite

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

Using Password ManagersUsing Password Managers

Password Managers provide an easy and secure way to keep track of all your passwords. This video course shows you how to use two FREE powerful password management tools.

More info: Using Password Managers

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Set Up A Forum On WordPressHow To Set Up A Forum On WordPress

Learn how to set up a forum for your visitors, prospects, customers, members, or affiliates using WordPress.

More info: How To Set Up A Forum On WordPress

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Optimize WordPressHow To Optimize WordPress

Learn how to optimize your WordPress site and improve your page loading speed.

More info: How To Optimize WordPress

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Use FTPHow To Use FTP

This video course shows you how to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to transfer and upload files between your hard drive and your server using a free FTP program called Filezilla.

More info: How To Use FTP

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Set Up WordPress On LocalhostHow To Set Up WordPress On Localhost

Learn how to install, set up, and locally host a fully functioning WordPress site on your computer.

More info: How To Set Up WordPress On Localhost

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

WordPress SecurityWordPress Security

Learn how to keep your WordPress site or blog secure and protected from malware, hackers and brute-force attacks.

More info: WordPress Security

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

Google ToolsGoogle Tools

This video course will help you learn the basics of using Google Tools like Google Analytics and Gmail.

More info: Google Tools

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Back Up & Restore WordPress SitesHow To Back Up & Restore WordPress Sites

Learn how to safely and automatically backup your WordPress files and database and how to easily restore your WordPress site if something were to happen.

More info: How To Back Up & Restore WordPress Sites

Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as How To Update WordPress Themes.