How To Install WordPress Themes Via The WordPress Dashboard

Learn how to install WordPress themes via the WordPress Dashboard in this step-by-step tutorial.

WordPress TutorialThis tutorial was created using an earlier version of WordPress and may contain outdated information. Please bookmark this page as we will be updating this tutorial soon! To be notified of updates to our content, subscribe to our updates list (see sidebar), or Like our Facebook page.

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WordPress provides a number of integrated search features that allows you to search, import, and install WordPress Themes automatically from your WordPress dashboard. More importantly, any WordPress user can install a theme on their site easily and without any web design knowledge required. You simply choose a WordPress theme (Free or Premium), upload it to your site, and activate it to instantly transform the entire look and feel of your website.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to install WordPress themes via the WordPress Dashboard.

To learn more about using WordPress themes and the benefits and advantages of choosing WordPress themes over traditional web design templates, see the tutorial below:

To learn how to upload and install a WordPress theme manually, see the tutorial below:

Installing WordPress Themes Via The WordPress Dashboard

Complete the step-by-step tutorial to learn how to install WordPress themes automatically on your site or blog via the WordPress dashboard.

Useful Info

In version 3.8, WordPress introduced a more streamlined grid design to the WordPress ‘Themes’ section …

Themes Section

You can add new themes by clicking the ‘Add New Theme’ button directly in the grid …

Installing Themes

The ‘Theme Details’ screen can be accessed by hovering your mouse over the theme thumbnail and clicking on the ‘Theme Details’ button …

Installing Themes

The ‘Theme Details’ screen has scrollable sections, allowing you to scroll through all the available themes installed on your site …

Installing Themes

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Installing WordPress Themes – Step-By-Step Tutorial

Log into your WordPress admin section, then scroll down your WP-admin sidebar menu and click on Appearance > Themes

How To Install WordPress Themes

You will be taken to the “Themes” section of your WordPress administration area. Click on Install Themes

How To Install WordPress Themes

The ‘Install Themes’ section allows you to import, upload and install and activate WordPress themes on your site …

How To Install WordPress Themes

There are several options for installing WordPress themes:

  • By URL method
  • Search method
  • Upload method
  • Featured method
  • Newest method
  • Recently Updated method

Let’s go through each of these options now, starting with the Upload Method, as this is most likely the method you will use to upload themes to your site.

Installing WordPress Themes Using The Upload Method

Use the Upload method to upload a theme from your hard drive and automatically install it on your WordPress site. This feature is useful if you want to install a custom WordPress theme (e.g. a theme purchased through a theme vendor), or if your site does not allow you to install a theme directly from the WordPress Theme Directory.

To upload and install a WordPress Theme automatically to your site using the ‘Upload’ feature, make sure that you have downloaded a zipped file containing the theme you want to your hard drive.

Either download a premium theme from the vendor’s site or visit the WordPress Theme Directory and browse through the site until you find a theme that you like.

Tip: Use the WordPress Theme Directory’s Feature Filter to search for free themes based on specific criteria like custom colors, number of columns, support for featured images, full-width template, theme subject, etc …

Theme Directory - Feature Filter

(Theme Directory – Feature Filter)

When you find a theme that you like, click on the Download button to save the theme’s zip file to your hard drive …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Tip

We recommend creating a folder on your hard drive to store all of your WordPress-related files (e.g. updates, plugins, themes, etc.). This will help you keep things organized and save you time when managing your site …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Once you have downloaded your theme, go to your WordPress admin and select Appearance > Themes > Install Themes, then click on Upload in the options menu at the top of the page …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Click on Browse to search inside your hard drive for the theme file to be uploaded …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Locate the theme .zip file you downloaded earlier to your computer, then select the file and click Open

How To Install WordPress Themes

Click on Install Now to import and install the theme file …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Note: You may be asked to enter your FTP details in the “Connection Information” screen. If this happens, enter your “Hostname“, “Username” and “Password” and click “Proceed” to continue …

Wordpress Maintenance Tutorials

If the theme installs successfully, you will see a Theme installed successfully message on your screen. Click on ‘Live Preview’ to preview your theme, return to the main Themes page, or click Activate to begin using the theme on your site straight away …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Once your theme is activated, you can click on ‘Visit site’ to view your site live on your browser (and see your site the way your visitors will see it), or choose another function to keep working inside your WordPress admin area …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Note: “Activating” a theme replaces a previously active theme as the default theme displaying on your site. Your other themes will remain installed and inactive on your site. Inactive themes do not get deleted from your site unless you specifically delete them. You can install as many WordPress themes on your site as your server space will allow.

Installing WordPress Themes Using The Search Feature

Go to your WordPress admin and select Appearance > Themes > Install Themes, then click on Search in the options menu at the top of the page …

How To Install WordPress Themes

The Search feature allows you search for free WordPress themes listed in the WordPress Theme Directory database by entering keywords or selecting specific features …

How To Install WordPress Themes

To search for themes, enter a keyword in the ‘Search for themes by keyword’ field, or select specific features you are looking for by ticking the checkboxes next to the features you want, and click on Find Themes …

How To Install WordPress Themes

A list of themes matching your search criteria is returned by the search feature and displayed in your window. To install a theme on your site just click on the Install Now link below the theme’s thumbnail image …

How To Install WordPress Themes

You can also preview how a theme will look before installing it by clicking on the ‘Preview’ link below the thumbnail image, or click on ‘Details’ to read the theme developer’s description and other information …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Installing WordPress Themes Using The URL Feature

The default theme installation screen is By URL. If you know the location of your theme’s zip file, enter the URL into the location field and click Install Now to install your theme …

How To Install WordPress Themes

The Featured, Newest and Recently Updated methods all work in a similar way. Let’s take a look at these functions now.

Installing WordPress Themes Using The Featured Method

Go to your WordPress admin and select Appearance > Themes > Install Themes, then click on Featured in the options menu at the top of the page …

How To Install WordPress Themes

A list of featured themes on the WordPress Theme Directory is displayed in your window. To install a theme on your site just click on the Install Now link below the theme’s thumbnail image …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Installing WordPress Themes Using The Newest Feature

Go to your WordPress admin and select Appearance > Themes > Install Themes, then click on Newest in the options menu at the top of the page …

How To Install WordPress Themes

A list of newly-added themes to the WordPress Theme Directory is displayed in your window. To install a theme on your site just click on the Install Now link below the theme’s thumbnail image …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Installing WordPress Themes Using The Recently Updated Feature

Go to your WordPress admin and select Appearance > Themes > Install Themes, then click on Recently Updated in the options menu at the top of the page …

How To Install WordPress Themes

A list of the recently updated themes on the WordPress Theme Directory is displayed in your window. To install a theme on your site just click on the Install Now link below the theme’s thumbnail image …

How To Install WordPress Themes

If you experience any problems installing a WordPress theme using the methods shown above, try using the manual method to install WordPress themes described in the tutorial below:

Congratulations! Now you know how to update WordPress themes via the WordPress dashboard.

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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 Install WordPress Themes Via The WordPress Dashboard.