How To Change A Theme In WordPress

Themes help you customize and personalize your website looks in WordPress but how do you change a theme in WordPress? In this beginners guide, you will learn how to change themes from the WordPress built-in library or manually from a zip file.

How to change WordPress theme through WordPress theme library

To find your current theme head on to “Appearance > Themes“. Here you can find the “Add New” button from the left top corner. Click it and you are taken to the “Add Themes” section where you can find all the themes, that are accepted to the WordPress official theme library.

Add new theme to WordPress

Now if you wish to add a new theme to your own WordPress simply hover your mouse over a theme you like and press “Install“.

Install new theme to WordPress

After the theme is successfully installed you can preview the theme or activate it.

Note – It is recommended to preview the theme before activating it if you are updating your theme on an existing site with lots of content. Themes have functions that might be only available in that specific theme meaning some parts of your existing site might break.

Click “Activate” and you have your new theme at use.

New theme activated

How to change WordPress theme manually through a zip file

If you have a theme on your own PC might it be a downloaded or purchased premium theme, you can install it to your WordPress easily. Head on to “Appearance > Themes” and select “Add New” from the top left corner.

Here from the top left corner select the “Upload Theme” and drag your .zip file to the area or click the “Choose File” and select it from your PC.

Upload custom theme

If the zip file has all the required files WordPress requires from a theme, it will install the theme for you automatically.

To activate the new theme, simply click “Activate” and your new theme should be up and running.

How to install child theme

If you have a child theme at hand you can install it the same way we installed the theme manually. Just remember that the child theme at hand will require you to have the parent theme installed in your WordPress first. The parent theme does not need to be active for the child theme to work, but instead, the child theme will automatically use functions and CSS styles from that parent before applying its own custom functions and styles.

Most common problems you might face when uploading a new theme

Trying to install something else than a zip file

There are a few common problems when installing a custom theme to your WordPress. The first and most important one is that the file you are trying to upload is not a zip file. So always make sure you are trying to install a .zip. No other file formats are allowed when trying to upload and install a new theme.

Trying to install a zip file with a child theme

The second most common problem you might face is that you are trying to install a zip file that contains the main theme and a child theme so always check inside the zip before trying to install it that it only contains the actual theme and no other folders or files. In this case extract the zip first and then create a separate zip file of the theme folder and the child theme folder and install them separately.

Theme zip missing files

Quite a common problem people face when installing a new theme, especially if its made by them, is that they are missing certain files. Most commonly the missing file is a style.css. Style.css is always required even when you might have a completely different CSS file that styles your theme. In this case the style.css is still required and should be placed in the theme folder as an empty file.


Installing new themes in WordPress is quick and easy. Thanks to the built-in library you can quickly find new high quality themes for your blog, website or even eCommerce store. For the best WordPress themes available check out our list of Best WordPress themes and if you need help deleting old WordPress themes check our guide here on How To Delete A Theme In WordPress.

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