How To Manage WordPress Themes

Learn how to manage, update, and delete WordPress themes in this tutorial.

How To Manage Your WordPress ThemesThis tutorial was created using an earlier version of WordPress and may contain outdated information.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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How To Manage Your WordPress Themes

This section contains tutorials on how to manage, update, and delete WordPress themes.

If you need to install or reinstall a WordPress theme, then see the tutorials below:

If you need to configure your theme settings, or update, edit or delete theme menus, then see the tutorials below:

The information in this section is useful if you need to reinstall, update or reconfigure your WordPress themes.

How To Install WordPress Themes Using The Search Method

Log into your WordPress administration area …

WordPress Theme Management

Select Appearance > Themes from your WP admin menu …

WordPress Theme Management

This brings you to the “Themes” screen …

WordPress Theme Management

In the “Themes” section, click on the Install Themes tab …

WordPress Theme Management

Use the “Search” function or “Feature Filter” function to browse through themes …

WordPress Theme Management

WordPress brings up a list of themes matching your selection criteria in the search results screen. If you find a theme you like, click the Install link associated with theme …

WordPress Theme Management

When a preview window of the theme pops up, click on Install Now

WordPress Theme Management

Important

If a screen pops up asking you to enter your FTP details, add the information to the fields and click on Proceed

WordPress Theme Management

If your server environment allows you to perform automatic updates, your selected theme will be uploaded to your site and installed successfully …

WordPress Theme Management

Once your theme has been installed, you can preview it, activate it to make it the default theme of your site, or return to the “Themes” section.

How To Install WordPress Themes Using The Upload Feature

The built-in “Upload” feature performs the same basic function as the method shown above, except that it will upload and install a theme file from your hard drive, instead of installing it directly from the WordPress theme directory.

This feature is useful if you want to install a custom theme that is not available to general WordPress users (e.g. a theme purchased through a private site), or 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, first make sure that you have a zipped file containing the theme you want to upload to your site.

You can download themes for FREE from the WordPress Theme directory here:

WordPress Theme Management

For additional WordPress theme resources, go here:

Select Appearance > Themes from your WP admin menu …

WordPress Theme Management

In the “Themes” section, click on the Install Themes tab …

WordPress Theme Management

Click Upload

WordPress Theme Management

Click Browse

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Locate the WordPress Theme file in your hard drive that you would like to upload to your site (must be a zipped file) and click Open

WordPress Theme Management

Click Install Now to proceed …

WordPress Theme Management

Your WordPress Theme will be uploaded and installed automatically …

WordPress Theme Management

Once your theme has been installed, you can preview it, activate it to make it the default theme of your site, or return to the “Themes” section.

How To Update Your WordPress Theme

Depending on the theme(s) you have installed on your site, you may receive an occasional notification in your WP Dashboard that your theme(s) need updating …

WordPress Theme Management

You can see which themes need to be updated by going to your Themes area …

WordPress Theme Management

Updating WordPress themes is a simple process. You can update your WordPress themes manually, or via the WordPress dashboard.

Updating WordPress Themes Via Your WordPress Dashboard

Update your theme via the WP Dashboard as shown below:

Select Appearance > Themes from your WP admin menu …

WordPress Theme Management

In the Manage Themes screen, locate the theme that needs to be updated and click on update now

WordPress Theme Management

A notification window may appear warning you that by updating the theme, you will lose any customizations you have made to the theme. (Note: we recommend using Child Themes to prevent this from happening – see further below for more details.)

Click OK to continue or Cancel to stop …

WordPress Theme Management

WordPress will automatically update your theme …

WordPress Theme Management

If multiple themes on your site need updating, click on Dashboard > Updates

WordPress Theme Management

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

WordPress Theme Management

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

WordPress Theme Management

Updating WordPress Themes Manually

Update your theme manually as follows :

Go to your Themes area, locate the theme that needs updating and click on the View version X.X details link …

WordPress Theme Management

This brings up a window with the Theme Page from WordPress.org. Click the Theme Download button, then choose Save File from the save dialog window and click OK

WordPress Theme Management

Download the latest version of your theme to the WordPress Folder on your hard drive or to any accessible location on your hard drive …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Extract the zip file containing the theme files and upload the new version files to the WordPress Themes directory on your server using FTP, overwriting your existing theme files …

How To Install WordPress Themes

Deleting WordPress Themes

To delete a WordPress theme, locate the theme you no longer want and click on the Delete link …

WordPress Theme Management

A confirmation window will appear. Click OK to proceed …

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Your theme will be deleted …

WordPress Theme Management

Info

You cannot delete your active theme.

To delete a theme that you have specified as your current active theme:

  1. Set another theme as your active theme, then
  2. Delete the newly inactive theme.

WordPress Theme Management

Restoring WordPress Themes

To restore a WordPress theme do the following:

  • If you have deleted a previous theme, simply reinstall the theme and reactivate it.
  • If your previous theme is still installed on your site, just click the Activate button to restore it …

WordPress Theme Management

Practical Tip

Tip: Click the Live Preview links in the Available Themes list to customize and preview a theme before activating it …

WordPress Theme Management

You will be able to change the theme’s header, background, title and menus before activating it …

WordPress Theme Management

Note: WordPress will restore your site’s settings and widgets automatically when reverting to previous default themes.

Managing WordPress Theme Options

The Theme Options screen allows you to manage features of your theme such as theme color and layout.

WordPress Theme Management

ImportantNote: The Theme Options screen is only available if the active theme supports this feature and if the theme author has built in configurable options for the theme.

Additionally, the Theme Options screen will be different for each theme. Some themes provide advanced configuration options, while others provide only basic options such as the ability to change the Color Scheme, Link Color, or Default Layout …

WordPress Theme Management

To learn more about configuring your Theme options, see the tutorial below:

WordPress Child Themes

If you have made changes to your existing theme files, upgrading your theme may result in your custom modifications being overwritten. To prevent losing your theme modifications, we recommend learning how to create child themes or hiring a web developer to create one for you.

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, your modifications are preserved through the child theme.

We recommend that you become familiar with using child themes, especially if you plan on using themes that get regularly updated.

To learn more about using child themes, visit the official WordPress child theme page here:

Congratulations! Now you know how to install and reinstall WordPress themes.

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. 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 Manage WordPress Themes.