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How to Correctly Change a WordPress Theme

WordPress is an excellent place for you to launch your website, but as time changes and different trends arise, your website will not only need to be up and running but also keep up with modern trends. Naturally, with time you will most likely find yourself wanting to change your WordPress theme and visually alter your website. 

 While there is nothing wrong with doing that, if you are not careful you might find yourself losing data and your current design.

This is why a guide like this is key in helping you ensure that you will complete every step correctly, allowing you to change your WordPress theme without the worries of anything going wrong.

Will You Lose Content if You Change Your WordPress Theme?

Normally all of the content that you have created on your WordPress website should remain available even if you change the theme. This includes your media, pages, posts, comments, and even menus.

While you should be able to access all of your content through the dashboard, you might find that not all the content is visible on your website if you have not yet customized your new theme.

This can easily be fixed as you customize your website with the new theme. As all of your data and content are going to be on the dashboard, you will not need to worry about potentially losing out on any content or having to reupload it during this process.

Things to do Before Changing the Theme

Changing a theme is a relatively easy process and technically speaking, there should be nothing but a few clicks between you and your new feed.

However, there are a few steps you can take if you want to truly be safe when changing themes. This will help ensure that you won’t accidentally lose any of your content or data in this process.

Check Compatibility Between the New Theme and Third-Party Page/Theme Builder

If you are using a third-party page or theme builder, the absolute first step you will need to complete before you even start considering switching themes is compatibility.

Normally the builder you are using is going to have a list of themes that it is compatible with. If you find that the new theme you want to use is not on that list, then you are better off not proceeding with the switch.

If you do end up proceeding, you could lose access to important tools and data that you are used to having when running your website.

Backup Your Site

Having a full backup of your website is not only important when you switch themes, but also whenever you make a big change to your website. A backup of all of your posts, media, plugins, and databases could save you a lot of time if something ever goes wrong.

Depending on the type of website you are running, you might need to backup up your website every day. 

If you are unsure about how to make a backup of your WordPress website, the most common way is through a WordPress backup plugin like Updraftplus. These plugins can be ideal for backing everything without you having to go through individual posts and media.

UpdraftPlus Backup List

Use Maintenance Mode

You will need to put your website in maintenance mode. By activating the maintenance mode, visitors will not be able to see the changes you are making to your website until you deactivate it.

CMP Under maintenance plugin

Usually, to put your WordPress site in maintenance mode, you will also need to install a maintenance plugin. Some popular maintenance plugins include LightStart, SeedProd, and CMP.

How to Change a WordPress Theme

Now, you are ready to change the theme.  The process starts with installing the WordPress theme.

Step 1: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance > Themes.

Change a WordPress Theme Log into your dashboard

Step 2: Click on Add New.

Click on Add New

Step 3: If you bought and downloaded the new theme you want to use, click on Upload Theme > Choose File and upload the theme by following the seller’s instructions.

Click on Upload Theme and Choose File

Step 4: However, if the new theme you want to use is on WordPress, skip Step 3. Instead, search for your theme in the search bar.

Search for a New Theme in the WordPress Official Repertory

Step 5: Hover over your mouse on the theme and click Install.

Install and Change a WordPress Theme

Step 6: Before activating the theme, click on Live Preview. The Live Preview feature shows you what your website will look like after you change the theme. 

Click on Live Preview to preview design with new WordPress Theme

You can always uninstall a WordPress theme if you don’t like it anymore.

Step 7: If you are happy with the theme, click on Activate in order to change the live version of your website to the new WordPress theme you have selected.

Click on Activate to change a WordPress theme

And there you go! You have successfully changed your WordPress theme. Normally, all your pages, posts, images, videos, and menus should be available and working correctly. 

But there are still things you can do after changing your WordPress theme.

Things to do After Changing Your WordPress Theme

There are also a few things to do after changing your WordPress theme.

Test Your Website on Various Devices

Once you install your theme, one of the most crucial things to do is to check if the website is running on different browsers and devices. Use as many different ways as you can to look through your website and ensure that it is running properly. When testing your website, you will want to check:

1. The Loading Times

Slow loading times could affect your website’s SEO. It might also mean that users using specific types of devices will give up and not want to enter your website because it’s too slow.

2. Your Menus

If you have menus or subcategories and tags associated with your different media and posts, you should check if they are working correctly in your new theme. In general, you will want to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible for the user, which is why all of this testing is key.

3. Cross Browser Compatibility

Different browsers will usually show your website differently. If you want to have the upper hand and know that your website looks awesome regardless of the visitor’s browser, you will need to check how your website looks when accessed through different web browsers.

This can be a relatively easy process as for the most part you will just need to check the very popular browsers.

Turn Off Maintenance Mode

Finally, once you’re done testing everything, you can turn off the maintenance mode. Depending on the plugin you are using, the process for changing back to non-maintenance mode might differ.

With CMP (CMP – Coming Soon & Maintenance Plugin by NiteoThemes), you just have to click on “off” and voilà, your website is now accessible to everyone.

Turn off Coming Soon Mode in WordPress

Always Change a WordPress Theme Safely

WordPress themes are relatively easy to change especially if you know what you are doing. Before you ever proceed with changing the theme, some important safety steps can help guarantee that your website will continue being active and that you will not lose any data.

The process to change your WordPress theme can be done by anyone regardless of their experience.

Finally, when you have made the switch, take the additional steps to test your website and ensure that it’s correctly shown to visitors. 

Piaff Dibota

Piaff brings a unique blend of creativity and expertise to the blogging world. Having worked as a content writer for multiple companies in different niches, he shares his blogging expertise through professional and engaging blog posts. 

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