Installing a Perfect Website Theme for Your Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System for creating self-hosted websites. If you haven’t already, you’ve probably opted to utilize WordPress for your own website. Do you, however, understand how to install a WordPress theme?

Understanding how WordPress themes are uploaded to your website is not difficult, no matter which technique you use – and there are several! The best part is that once your theme is installed, you can start building a remarkable website right immediately.

In today’s post, we’ll go through how to install a WordPress theme in further detail. Let’s get started!

Where Can I Get WordPress Themes? (Both Free and Paid)

It is not difficult to learn how to install a WordPress theme on your website. The difficult part is deciding on the best theme for your needs. But, before we get into what you’ll need to succeed, let’s take a brief look at where you may discover WordPress themes.

The WordPress Repository is now one of the most popular locations to find trustworthy and free plugins and themes to enhance the design and functionality of your WordPress website. In fact, the WordPress Repository alone contains over 7,400 themes.

In addition, there are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes available in marketplaces such as MOJO Marketplace, CSS Igniter, and StudioPress. To date, the most famous theme marketplace is Themeforest, which has over 46,000 WordPress themes to pick from.

How to Select the Best WordPress Theme

So, how do you know which WordPress theme is best for you? Here are some pointers to get you started:

1. Select a Free or Premium WordPress Theme

The controversy over free vs premium WordPress themes has raged for a long time. This makes it difficult to decide whether you should save money by using a free theme or invest a modest amount of money in a premium theme and reap the rewards.

It all comes down to your budget, but there are a few things to think about before making a final decision:

Advantages of Using a Free WordPress Theme

There are numerous benefits to using a free WordPress theme:

  • They’re free to use, so if you don’t like it and want to change your WordPress theme, you’ve wasted no money by giving it a shot.
  • The free themes in the WordPress Repository have been formally approved after a rigorous evaluation procedure.
  • free themes are compatible with all of the free plugins available there.

However, there are certain drawbacks to using free themes.

For example, they typically have a limited feature set, are used by a large number of individuals (making it difficult to construct a distinctive website), and there is little to no time help if there are issues. Not to mention that free themes obtained outside of the WordPress Repository may be improperly coded, leaving your site vulnerable to bugs and attacks.

The Benefits of Using a Premium WordPress Theme

Premium themes, like free themes, have their own set of advantages:

  • You can obtain help with things like bugs, technical concerns, and customization (suggested reading: How to Customize Your WordPress Theme).
  • You will receive periodic upgrades with improved security and features.
  • The feature sets range from moderate to wild, allowing you to customize your site to appear and function exactly how you want it to.
  • If you purchase a premium theme from a reputable theme marketplace, company, or developer, you can be confident that it is compatible with the most recent versions of WordPress, HTML, CSS, and PHP.

Premium themes, on the other hand, are not free. Certain premium themes demand a yearly commitment, while others only demand a one-time purchase. This implies that if you purchase one and subsequently decide to change, you will forfeit the money spent.

2. Recognize Your Niche

Because WordPress supports a wide variety of website types, you may anticipate WordPress themes to do the same. Knowing your specialty prior to selecting a theme can assist you in locating WordPress themes that meet your design and functionality requirements.

For instance, if you’re launching a WordPress food blog, you’ll want to look for a WordPress blogging theme that’s designed specifically for food websites. Better yet, if you’re considering selling items and services to other foodies, you might want to check out some ecommerce themes that include the capability to launch both an online food business and a blog.

To make an informed choice, consider the type of content you wish to publish, the essential features your theme will require, your target audience, and the industry in which you intend to enter. This will help you restrict your possibilities and make the decision a little easier.

3. Utilize Reliable Sources

Anyone who is capable of developing a WordPress theme and profiting from it will do so. However, just because someone designed a WordPress theme does not guarantee it is devoid of malicious code, malware, or even spam links.

If you’ve chosen to use a free WordPress theme, the WordPress Repository is the ideal place to start. If you require a premium theme or wish to use a free one provided by a third-party theme firm, the following should be considered:

  • Reliability of the author
  • Updates at a consistent time
  • Feedback from customers is favorable.
  • The number of sales


Finally, it makes no difference which type of WordPress theme you require. What is critical is that you avoid using nulled WordPress themes to prevent issues with site security, downtime, and lost visitors.

4. Go For Simplicity

It’s all too easy to become sucked into the allure of popular multipurpose WordPress themes like Avada or X. And while these themes may provide the features and design elements that certain users desire, the truth is that simplicity is frequently preferable.

This is especially true for individuals who are just beginning. Occasionally, multipurpose themes include an excessive number of functions, have a steep learning curve, and negatively impact your site’s speed and performance. It’s ideal to use a theme that contains only the features you require.

5. Be on the lookout for Responsive Design

Not to be mistaken with mobile-friendly design, responsive design is required to provide an amazing user experience to mobile site users.

Using a mobile-friendly WordPress theme ensures that your website will look the same regardless of the device used to view it. The site visitor will be able to view all of the material on your site, browse the site effortlessly, and click the CTA buttons you want them to click. Having said that, no element on your website will alter regardless of the device or screen size used to access it.

To determine whether a website is mobile-friendly, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test.


On the other hand, utilizing a responsive WordPress theme implies that when your site visitors access your website via a mobile device, your website will automatically change to the device’s screen size. Your website’s elements will adapt to render seamlessly for site visitors, allowing them to easily access your site’s content.

6. Assess the Theme’s Support

There may be times when you require assistance with your WordPress theme. That is why it is critical to be able to contact the theme creator or their support team. Determine the level of assistance available prior to purchasing a WordPress theme. Additionally, keep in mind that the majority of free WordPress themes come with minimal, if any, support.

7. Understand the Features

Finally, you should definitely evaluate the features included with your WordPress theme. Here are some of the most important features to look for in any theme, whether free or premium:

  • Social media sharing
  • Built-in SEO optimization
  • Cross-browser compatibility
  • Inclusive WordPress page builders for easier site creation
  • Popular WordPress plugin compatibility
  • Multilingual and translation ready
  • Ecommerce support
  • Compatible Page Builders

Naturally, each individual requires distinctive features for their website. However, the points listed above will steer you in the correct path and assist you in making a selection. Now that you’ve chosen the ideal WordPress theme, let’s look at how to install it on your website.

Steps to Install a Free WordPress Theme

If you want to use a theme from the WordPress Repository on your website, the simplest way to do so is through the website’s backend. To begin, log into your WordPress website and select Add New under Appearance > Themes in the WordPress dashboard.

From there, you can filter the results based on the following criteria:

  • Featured
  • Popular
  • Latest
  • Favorites

Alternatively, you can use the Feature Filter button to limit the theme results to those with a certain feature.

Finally, if you know the name of a specific WordPress theme, you may search for it by typing it into the search bar:

Once you’ve found a theme you’re interested in, you can click Details and Preview to learn more about it, Preview to see the theme in action, or Install to install it on your WordPress site:


When you’ve decided on a theme from the WordPress Theme Repository, click Install. Then, click on Live Preview to see how your site will seem once the theme is applied. This makes it simple to determine whether or not the subject you’re interested in is right for you.

Once you’ve chosen your selection, click Activate to complete the process of adding it to your website. Your WordPress theme has now been installed on your website, and you can immediately begin publishing content.

How to Install a WordPress Premium Theme

If you’ve purchased a premium WordPress theme, you’ll need to install it via the upload method available from your WordPress dashboard.

To begin, download the theme from the theme marketplace or company from whence you acquired it. Save the zip file that was downloaded to your PC.

Following that, go onto your WordPress website and navigate to Appearance > Themes in the WordPress dashboard, where you’ll click Add New:

Following that, click Upload Theme to upload your premium WordPress theme’s zip file to your website from your computer:

Select the zip file from your computer by clicking Browse.

Then, click Install Now to begin the process of installing the theme on your website.

Your premium theme will be installed on your website by WordPress. To preview how your website will appear when the uploaded theme is used, click Live Preview.

Finally, click Activate to activate the theme and make it available for use on your website.

The upload approach is compatible with any premium WordPress theme that has been saved as a zip file. Additionally, it works when importing a theme from ThemeForest. Simply download the zip file that was previously saved on your computer and repeat the procedures above.

Depending on the theme, it may include additional settings options that must be configured via the theme customizer or a separate options panel.

Important note: The theme upload capability is available only to users of self-hosted If you’re using, you won’t see this option due to the platform’s limitations. To utilize the custom theme upload function, you must use a self-hosted installation.

Installing a WordPress Theme using FTP or Using Cpanel File Manager

If you’re feeling ambitious and want to advance your skills, you can learn how to install WordPress themes using both FTP and CPanel (in case you have access to your website hosting account).

Bear in mind that these approaches are not for actual beginners, and the FTP method is a little more complex. FTP & CPANEL file manager approaches are only applicable when you have access to the website hosting control panel (Cpanel).

To begin, you must save the theme zip file to your computer. Following that, you must unzip the file. This will create a new folder on your computer named after the theme. We downloaded a copy of the popular Divi premium theme.

Installing WordPress Theme Using FTP

FTP (file transfer protocol) is the standard network protocol for moving computer files over a computer network between a client and a server. In other words, an FTP server enables you to transfer files between your computer and the servers that host your website.

There are various FTP programs available, but I’ll choose FileZilla, which can be downloaded quickly to your PC. It’s completely free to use and features a straightforward interface. Bear in mind that this is a more complicated method of installing a WordPress theme and is not advised for beginners.

Step 1: Secure FTP/SFTP Credentials

To begin, you’ll need to obtain your FTP or SFTP credentials, which you’ll enter into FileZilla in order for it to connect to your site’s servers (learn the difference between FTP and SFTP). Typically, this information can be found in your site hosting account. If you have difficulty locating it, contact your host for assistance.

Step 2: Login to FileZilla with your credentials

Open FileZilla, once you’ve found your FTP/SFTP credentials.

The following information will need to be entered:

  • Host
  • Username
  • Password
  • Port

This is what the top of the FileZilla interface will look like:

Once your credentials have been input, click Quickconnect. FileZilla will next establish a connection to the servers hosting your website.


Step 3: Upload WordPress Theme Files

After you’ve established a connection to your FTP server, you’re ready to install a WordPress theme on your website. Bear in mind that the left side of FileZilla is for accessing your computer’s files, while the right side is for accessing your website’s files stored on your host’s servers.

To access your site’s files, navigate through the right-side panel’s directories until you reach the one labeled Themes:


When you do this, any WordPress themes that are already installed on your website will be displayed beneath the file folders.

Following that, navigate to FileZilla’s left-side panel and search for the zip file containing the WordPress theme you wish to install. Once you’ve located it, right-click on it and select Upload:



When the files have finished uploading to your site’s servers (which may take some time depending on the file’s size), you’ll see them in FileZilla’s right-side panel.



Finally, navigate to Appearance > Themes on your WordPress website. You’ll find your newly uploaded theme, waiting for you to activate and use on your website

Simply position your cursor over the theme and click the activate button.



Installing WordPress Theme Via Cpanel

cPanel is a graphical user interface (GUI) for Linux that is used as a control panel to facilitate website and server management. cPanel enables you to build and maintain websites, manage domains, organize web files, create email accounts, among other things.

How to Access cPanel

You can access your cPanel account by entering its URL in your browser’s address bar. Enter your website’s address, followed by a colon and 2083. The URL for your cPanel would appear like this:

You can also access your cPanel by adding /cpanel to the end of your website’s address. When you use this way to access your cPanel, the URL will appear as follows:

If your website is new and the DNS records on the server have not yet propagated, you can use the IP address instead. Using an IP address to access your cPanel would look like this: retrieved from https://10.10.10:2083.


If you require the cPanel interface to be shown in a different language, select it from the selection at the bottom of the cPanel login screen. Prior to logging into cPanel, you may want to bookmark your cPanel page so that you may easily return to it later.

Once on the login screen for cPanel, enter your username and password and click the Log In button. Following that, you’ll be taken to your website’s control panel, where you’ll find all of the options.

To Install wordpress theme via the cpanel, you follow these steps:

Step 1: Navigate to the File Manager

Locate the file manager. Depending on your web hosting business, you may be confused by the lack of a consistent cPanel appearance.


Don’t worry, some organizations may have a unique cPanel design template. You may not see the exact file manager, but you will surely locate it.

Step 2: Find the Root Directory (Public html folder)

The public html directory contains all of your website’s files and folders. If you see the home directory, open the public html from the left-hand sidebar.

You can easily see the wp-content folder, which contains all of your site’s content; open it.

Step 3: Locate “Themes” in wp-content Folder

The wp-content folder is where you’ll find your media files, themes, and plugins. Select the “Themes” folder.

Step 4: Upload Theme’s ZIP File

You can see all of the active and inactive WordPress themes that are currently  on your site. To install a new theme, you must first upload the ZIP file that you received after purchasing the theme from a third-party company.

Click the Upload link from the cPanel navigation menu.

Step 5: Select Theme File From Your Computer

A new tab appears, with a button to select the file from your computer. Select the file to upload by clicking on Select File.

The process takes time, depending on the size of the theme and your internet speed. Return to the previous directory.

Step 6: Extract Theme Files

You can see the ZIP file if you refresh the page. Select the Extract option from the context menu by right-clicking.


A popup window appears, displaying the path to the directory where you will extract the file. If you uploaded the theme elsewhere, you can use the public_html/wp-content/themes path to send the theme name folder here.

You should now see another popup displaying the extraction process; click close.

Step 7: Refresh the Page

When you refresh the page, you should see a folder with the theme’s name.

Congratulations, you have successfully installed a WordPress theme through cPanel. You must use the admin panel to activate.

Last Step: Activate Theme Via WordPress Admin Dashboard

Finally, navigate to Appearance > Themes on your WordPress website dashboard. You’ll find your newly uploaded theme, waiting for you to activate and use on your website. Simply position your cursor over the theme and click the activate button.


In Conclusion

You’ll need to know how to install a WordPress theme if you’re going to use WordPress as your Content Management System. And chances are, you’ll go through a few WordPress themes until you find one that you like and meets all of your requirements.

Fortunately for you, there are not only several methods for installing WordPress themes to choose from, but they are all relatively simple, even for inexperienced website owners:

  • You can install a theme directly from WordPress by going to Appearance > Themes > Add New.
  • A theme can be installed by uploading it as a zip file using the Upload Theme feature.
  • Using an FTP client, you can install a theme.
  • Using the Cpanel File Manager, you can also install the theme

So, do some digging and find the ideal WordPress theme for your blog, online business, or ecommerce store. Then, install it on your WordPress site to begin creating a one-of-a-kind website that represents your brand.

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