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Changing Your WordPress Theme Step-by-Step

by Marcin Wieclaw
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how to change theme on wordpress

Are you looking to give your WordPress site a fresh look? Changing your theme is a great way to revamp your website’s appearance and enhance user experience. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of changing your WordPress theme. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced WordPress user, you’ll find these instructions easy to follow.

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that changing your WordPress theme won’t delete your existing content. However, it’s always a good idea to make a backup of your site, just in case. Now, let’s get started with the first step.

To begin, log in to your WordPress site and navigate to the dashboard. From there, click on Appearance in the left-hand menu, then select Themes.

Step 2: Browse and Choose a New Theme

Once you’re on the Themes page, you’ll see a list of the themes currently installed on your site. To change your theme, click on the Add New button at the top of the page.

Step 3: Activate Your New Theme

On the Add Themes page, you can browse through the available themes using the search bar or the featured, popular, and latest sections. When you’ve found a theme you like, hover over it and click the Preview button to see how it will look on your site.

If you’re happy with the preview, click the Install button to add the theme to your site. Once the installation is complete, click the Activate button to apply the new theme to your site.

Step 4: Customize Your New Theme

After activating your new theme, you can customize its design to fit your preferences. Depending on the theme you’ve chosen, you’ll have various customization options, including colors, fonts, layouts, and more. Take your time to explore these options and make any desired changes.

Remember to save your changes before exiting the customization settings. It’s also a good idea to check your site’s homepage, menus, and custom CSS to ensure everything is set up correctly.

And that’s it! You’ve successfully changed your WordPress theme. Enjoy your refreshed website and don’t hesitate to make further tweaks to make it truly your own.

Things to Consider Before Changing Your WordPress Theme

Before embarking on the process of changing your WordPress theme, it’s important to take several factors into consideration. These preparatory steps will help ensure a seamless transition and minimize any potential disruptions to your website.

1. Copy Your Code Snippets

If you’ve made customizations to your current theme, such as adding custom CSS or inserting code snippets, be sure to make a copy of these modifications. This will allow you to easily transfer them to your new theme and maintain the desired functionality and design elements.

2. Test Load Time and Performance

One of the crucial aspects of choosing a new WordPress theme is to assess its impact on your website’s load time and overall performance. Before finalizing your decision, consider running tests to compare the load speed of the new theme with your existing one. Ideally, the new theme should offer improved performance or at least match the current speed, ensuring a positive user experience.

3. Transfer Tracking Code

If you’ve integrated any tracking codes, such as Google Analytics or ad codes, into your existing theme, it’s important to transfer them to the new theme as well. This ensures that valuable data and insights are not lost during the theme change. Take note of the tracking codes and make the necessary arrangements to seamlessly incorporate them into the new theme.

4. Create a Full Backup

Prior to making any changes to your website, it is vital to create a comprehensive backup of your site. This backup should include all files, databases, and any other important data. In the event that something goes wrong during the theme change process, having a recent backup ensures that you can easily revert back to a stable version of your site without significant loss of data or information.

By adhering to these considerations before changing your WordPress theme, you can approach the transition process with confidence and minimize any potential challenges or setbacks that may arise.

How to Install and Preview a New WordPress Theme

Once you’re prepared, it’s time to install and preview your new WordPress theme. Follow these steps to seamlessly transition to a fresh design for your website:

  1. Access the Appearance section: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Themes.
  2. Select a theme installation method: Choose from the following options:
  • WordPress theme search: Browse through the vast collection of themes available in the WordPress theme repository. Enter relevant keywords or a specific theme name in the search bar, and click the “Install” button for your preferred theme.
  • Upload from dashboard: If you have a theme file (.zip), click the “Upload Theme” button and select the file from your computer.
  • Install via FTP: If you prefer using FTP, connect to your website server using an FTP client. Navigate to the wp-content/themes/ directory and upload the extracted theme folder.
  1. Preview the theme: After installing the theme, take advantage of the live preview feature to visualize how your website will appear with the new design. This allows you to make informed customization decisions before activating the theme.
  2. Customize the design: Explore the theme’s customization options to modify the appearance of your website according to your preferences. This includes changing colors, fonts, layouts, and other design elements.
  3. Make desired changes: Carefully review the customization options and make any necessary adjustments to achieve the desired look and feel for your website.
  4. Activate the theme: Once you’re satisfied with the preview and customization, click the “Activate” button to make the new theme live on your website.

By following these steps, you can seamlessly install, preview, and customize a new WordPress theme, giving your website a fresh and visually appealing design.

Pushing Your Staging Site Live and Resolving Errors

Once you’re satisfied with the new theme on your staging site, it’s time to push it live. This can be a simple process if you’re using a web host’s staging functionality, with just a few clicks to make your changes visible to the world. However, if you’re working in a local WordPress environment, you’ll need to manually backup your website and upload it to your server.

After pushing the staging site live, it’s essential to thoroughly review your website for any errors or missing elements that may have occurred during the theme change. Check all pages, links, and images to ensure everything is displaying correctly. If you come across any issues, take the necessary steps to resolve them promptly. This may involve troubleshooting plugins, adjusting settings, or making customizations to your new theme.

Website customization is an important aspect of making your new theme truly your own. Take the time to customize your chosen theme to align with your branding and desired design aesthetic. This could include updating colors, fonts, and layouts to create a cohesive and visually appealing website. Additionally, test all forms, buttons, and other interactive elements to ensure they are functioning properly.

Before considering the process complete, perform a final check on your important pages and content. This includes verifying that your contact information is accurate, ensuring your navigation menu is organized correctly, and confirming that any crucial functionalities, such as e-commerce or membership systems, are working as intended. By meticulously reviewing your website, you can ensure a smooth transition to your new theme and provide visitors with an optimal user experience.


How do I change the theme on WordPress?

To change the theme of your WordPress site, visit your site’s dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Themes. From there, browse through the available themes and choose one that you like. Once you’ve selected a new theme, click the activate button to apply it to your site. Remember to check your site’s homepage, menus, and custom CSS after changing themes to ensure everything is set up correctly.

What should I consider before changing my WordPress theme?

Before changing your WordPress theme, make sure to copy any code snippets you’ve added to your current theme, such as custom CSS, so you can add them to your new theme later. Additionally, test the load time of your website and ensure the new theme is faster than your current one. Don’t forget to copy any tracking code you’ve added to your theme, such as Google Analytics or ad codes. Finally, create a full backup of your website to easily revert back if anything goes wrong.

How do I install and preview a new WordPress theme?

To install and preview a new WordPress theme, go to the Appearance > Themes section in your WordPress dashboard. You can choose to install a theme using the WordPress theme search option, uploading a theme from your dashboard, or installing a theme using FTP. After installing the theme, use the live preview option to see how your website will look with the new design. Make any desired changes through the customization options before activating the theme.

How do I push my staging site live and resolve errors?

If you’re using a web host’s staging functionality, pushing your staging site live can be a simple process with just a few clicks. However, if you’re using a local WordPress environment, you’ll need to manually backup and upload your website to your server. After pushing the staging site live, go through your website and resolve any errors or missing elements caused by the theme change. Customize your new theme as needed and ensure that all functionality is working properly. Lastly, do a final check of your important pages and content to ensure a smooth transition.


  • Marcin Wieclaw

    Marcin Wieclaw, the founder and administrator of PC Site since 2019, is a dedicated technology writer and enthusiast. With a passion for the latest developments in the tech world, Marcin has crafted PC Site into a trusted resource for technology insights. His expertise and commitment to demystifying complex technology topics have made the website a favored destination for both tech aficionados and professionals seeking to stay informed.

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