How to Install WordPress Theme From Zip File

How to Install a WordPress Theme Zip File

You can install free WordPress themes directly from the WordPress admin area. But, sometimes you need to install a Pro WordPress theme or a different free theme using a zip file.

This step-by-step tutorial shows you how. And it’s easy.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Download the WordPress Theme’s zip file

  1. Find the WordPress theme that you’d like to use. We have an awesome collection of WordPress themes, so check them out.
  2. Once you’ve found the theme you want, download its zip file, and save it to your computer.
  3. If you’re using Safari for your browser, be sure it doesn’t unzip the file automatically for you. If it does, you’ll need to zip/compress it.
  4. Go to your download folder and copy the name of the file.

Step 2: Create a Backup and/or staging site (optional) (advanced)

  1. If you’re just getting started, you don’t need to create a backup or a staging site.
  2. If you have content you don’t want to lose, back it up with a free WordPress plugin, just in case.
  3. Or if you’re going to use the popular Jetpack Pro, buy it now* and set up its daily automated backups feature. *Disclosure: the Jetpack link is an affiliate link and we get paid if you purchase it – but the price remains the same for you.
  4. If you have a medium or high traffic site, I highly recommend testing on a staging site first. This free WordPress plugin is awesome for creating a staging site quickly. When you’re ready to go live, it’s just one click.

Step 3: Upload the zip file to your WordPress installation

  1. Log into your wp-admin of your WordPress site.
  2. Go to Appearance -> Themes in the left menu.
  3. Use the “Add New” button at the top.
  4. Since we’re using the zip file, click the “Upload theme” button at the top.
  5. Select the “Browse…” button.
  6. Go to your download folder and paste in the name of the file, or just select it with your mouse.
  7. Click Open, then click the “Install Now” button.

Step 4: Activate the WordPress theme

  1. You’ll see the “Theme installed successfully” message.
  2. Below the success message, you’ll see the Activate button. Go ahead and activate it now.
  3. You’ll be redirected to the theme’s options for configuration.
  4. If you’re not redirected, or to access it later, go to Appearance -> Customize in the left side menu.

Step 5: Finally, configure the theme.

  1. Each theme’s options will be different.
  2. My recommendation is go through each of the theme options without changing anything. That will give you an idea of what’s available.
  3. Then go through and change the options that are obvious and that you want to use.
  4. Save now. Why? Because then you can preview the site from the front-end and check what you want to change next.
  5. If there are any options that you aren’t sure about, consult with the theme’s documentation or support.
  6. Also, check the documentation to see if the theme comes with any advanced options (like a framework or page builder). We would give you step-by-steps for this, but every WordPress theme is unique. So do a quick glance of your theme’s documentation and double check.
  7. Tip: Don’t delete your old theme until at least a month later, just in case you need to revert back for whatever reason.

That’s it! Your theme is now installed, activated, and ready for prime-time.