How to Install a WordPress Theme in 2021 (Step by Step)

by | Last Updated Feb 22, 2021 | WordPress | 0 comments

Selecting and activating a theme is one of the last steps in setting up your new WordPress site. And Installing a new WordPress theme is pretty straightforward.

In this article, I will cover how to install a WordPress theme from the official Themes directory and third-party developers.

You can only Install a WordPress theme once you have installed WordPress. You can install it using our one-click installer.

WordPress themes play a crucial role in your website. Thus installing a pretty good WordPress theme is critical.

Themes produce your entire site’s appearance and feel in just a few clicks, that too, with no coding needed.

You can download many themes freely from the WordPress directory. Or purchase premium themes from third-party sites.

Most free themes are perfect for beginners and experts. But paid themes extend more features, customization opportunities, and support for a website tailor-made to you.

Do you know that we offer a FREE Divi pack to our customers? Divi is a premium theme with an intuitive visual builder, and you can install Divi theme for your WordPress site.

Using the WordPress Themes Directory

If you haven’t picked a theme yet, visit the WordPress Theme Directory.

WordPress Theme Directory includes official WordPress themes that have been examined and reviewed upon WordPress theme guidelines.

You can download themes from here absolutely free. With thousands of themes in the directory; this is where the WordPress theme search feature gets convenient.

If you know the name or style of theme you liked, you can use the theme search bar.

You can narrow down the results with the Feature Filter in the theme search function.

WordPress Theme Feature Filter

Here you can select your site’s subject, which features you need, and your preferred layout format.

For example, you might be looking for an Education blog theme that features a Sticky Post with a Two Columns layout.

You may browse for inspiration from Featured, Popular, Latest, and Favorites.

You can see a list of Commercially Supported GPL Themes from the Theme Directory. These paid themes cover more support and are fully compliant with the WordPress General Public License.

How to Install a WordPress Theme?

You need to install and activate them in your WordPress admin before setting up your site with themes. Here are the necessary steps for most themes.

In this example, we are going to add GeneratePress, a freemium theme.

Log in to your WordPress admin page.

Then go to Appearance and select Themes.

How to Install a WordPress Theme 2

Now click Add New.

On this page, you have two methods to add a new theme.

WordPress Theme Search Bar

If you remember the theme’s name, search for it in the Theme directory.

Use the Feature Filter tool if you don’t know your preferred theme’s name.

Hover on to any theme to know more about that theme.

WordPress Theme Preview Button

Here, clicking on the Details & Preview button will give you details of the theme and a general preview of it.

WordPress Theme Preview

Install the theme by clicking the Install button once you’re ready.

WordPress Theme Live Preview Button

After installing the theme, you will now have an option to Live Preview.

WordPress Theme Live Preview

Clicking on the Live Preview button will show you a real preview of the theme with your current posts and pages. So, you know how it looks when you install this theme on your existing site.

Click the Activate button once the theme is installed.

Awesome! Now view your site to see how it looks with the newly installed WordPress theme.

Download WordPress Themes

You can purchase a theme from a marketplace like ThemeForest or a developer directly. WordPress Themes Directory may not distribute these paid themes.

In this case, you need to upload the theme before installing it.

Follow these easy steps to upload and install a theme.

I assume that you have downloaded the theme’s .zip file onto your local computer.

I will use the Divi theme as an example here.

From your WordPress Administration area, go to Appearance > Themes and click Add New.

WordPress Theme Upload Button

The Add New theme page has an option, Upload Theme.

Click Choose File.

Now select the theme’s zip file on your computer and click Install Now button.

WordPress Theme Installation

Once the uploading is finished, your WordPress instance will unpack the zip package and install it in the background. Once the theme is installed successfully, you will see a link to Activate the theme.

How to Install WordPress Themes Using SFTP?

You can upload the downloaded WordPress theme to your hosting server via SFTP and then activate it.

I advise that only advanced users should try to install themes via SFTP. Because there are some additional steps required depends on the configuration.

Follow these steps to use the SFTP to add new themes manually to your site.

You will have to connect your DirectAdmin account with SFTP. Please see the How to Connect DirectAdmin With SFTP guide.

Once you established the SFTP connection, open the directory where WordPress is installed. This directory can be either the root folder or any custom folder you selected.

Then go to wp-content > themes folder.

The left side is the Local Site window. Select the folder containing your saved theme files.

WordPress Theme Upload SFTP

Right-click for more options and click the Upload.

You have now uploaded your theme to WordPress via SFTP successfully.

Let us now log in back to your WordPress admin to finalize.

Go to Appearance > Themes and hover to the new theme you just uploaded. Now click Activate.

Now check out your new theme and see how you like your new site design.

Was installing a WordPress theme more effortless for you? Let us know your experience with us in the comment box below.

Check out our blog post on how to install WordPress plugins.

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By Komal Gandhi

Komal is passionate about the startup ecosystem and community development. A woman entrepreneur, she runs her successful startup in HRM.

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