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How to Install a WordPress Theme: Step-by-step Guide!

If you are going to create a WordPress website for the first time, you’ve probably heard that you need to install a WordPress theme.

And chances are you know what theme to use and you are now ready to install it.

Now, whether you get your theme from the WordPress Themes Directory or a theme marketplace, it’s crucial to know how to install it.

So the question is: how to install a WordPress theme.

In this post, I will show you two easy methods to do it.

Let’s get started!

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How to Install A WordPress Theme From The Theme Directory

If you visit the WordPress theme directory, you will find a vast list of themes you can install for free, absolutely free.

So, the first way to install a WordPress theme is by using the theme directory.

But how do you do it?

Well, it’s pretty easy.

The first thing to do is log in to your WordPress admin area. Then follow the instructions below.

1. First, click on Appearance > Themes. Then click on the Add New button.

WordPress Dashboard showing how to install a WordPress theme

It will take you to a page full of themes.

You can scroll to find the one that interests you or simply search for the theme you want.

Use the search bar at the top right corner and type the name of your theme.

In this example, I searched for OceanWP, a popular WordPress theme.

2. Then, click Install.

how to install a WordPress theme

3. Finally, click Activate.

Click Activate to Install and Activate a WordPress Theme

And voilà! You’ve installed a new WordPress theme.

Your new theme replaces the old one but doesn’t delete it. So you can always revert to it in the future or delete it.

You can now start creating a beautiful blog or website that will help you share your message to the world and impact more lives.

How to Install A WordPress Theme Using a Zip File

If you don’t want to use these free themes, you can always buy yours from the theme’s main website or a marketplace like Themeforest.

So if this is how you are going to buy a theme, the seller will most likely give you a zip file.

However, you should note that the seller will tell you if you need to use the whole zip file or extract a specific file from the zip file in question.

Thus you need to carefully read their instructions.

This section of the article is also for you if you are wondering how to import or upload a theme in WordPress.

Using a zip file or importing/uploading a theme is basically the same thing.

Now, whether you’ll use the whole zip or a specific file, here is how to install the WordPress theme in question.

Again, as explained in the previous section, you will have to click on Appearance > Themes > Add New.

WordPress Dashboard showing how to install a WordPress theme

2. This time, click Upload Theme and Choose File

Click Upload Them and Choose File to Install a WordPress Theme

3. After choosing the file from your computer, click Install Now.

Click Install Now to Install a WordPress Theme

And there you go!

You were able to install a WordPress theme using a file.

Quite simple, isn’t it?

You will certainly want to install plugins as well. Check out my beginner’s guide on how to install a WordPress plugin

It’s a step-by-step guide like this one.

What Are The Best WordPress Themes?

Given that 10,000+ themes exist, it can be pretty hard to choose one. And to be honest, it’s even harder to select one and say it’s the best among them.

And while it might be the best for me, it might not be the case for other website owners because it doesn’t meet their needs.

That’s why I will only mention three of the best ones you could consider. Check out my article on the best WordPress themes to get a more extensive list and comparison.


Divi is a popular WordPress theme that offers a wide range of features to create a beautiful website or blog.

It’s beginner-friendly and has a Visual Editor, meaning that you can create your website while instantly seeing every single change you make.

With Divi, you also get access to 250+ prebuilt websites.


Avada is another popular WordPress theme. It also has a Visual Editor and provides a great number of amazing features.

Another advantage with Avada is you only pay once, a one-time payment.

Yet, you still receive lifetime updates, 80+ pre-built websites, 200+ tutorial videos, and more.


Astra is used by 1.6 million websites. This number alone shows just how popular and good this theme is.

Like Divi and Avada, Astra is fast and beginner-friendly.

You don’t need to code because the most difficult things were already done for you.

It also provides full and seamless integration with popular website builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder.

Without a doubt, these three themes are some of the best you can find.

WordPress Themes FAQ

Here are answers to a few questions beginners ask about WordPress themes.

What is a theme?

A theme is a group of files that work together to create a website. Simply put, it is a tool that helps you change the layout or design of your website.

How can I install a theme?

You can install a theme by searching and selecting one from the WordPress theme directory or installing a ZIP file.

How many themes can I install?

You can install many themes but can only 'activate' one. It means that only one theme can work at a time.

Where can I get a theme?

There are 9000+ themes in the WordPress theme directory that you can use for free. You can also buy a theme on marketplaces like Themeforest.

Should I use a free or paid theme?

It's up to you. Some free themes are fantastic and are compatible with website builders like Elementor. On the other hand, some premium themes also offer a wider range of extra features. There is no right or wrong answer.

Does the theme have to be updated?

Yes, you will often have to update your theme. The theme developers release news updates to offer new features, strengthen security, fix bugs, and more. Updating your theme will provide you with the best experience possible.

Can I change my theme later?

Yes, you can change your theme whenever you want. However, you first need to check if the plugins you are currently using are compatible with the theme you want to use. Also, keep in mind that your website design might be affected. So, backup your website and use a "Coming Soon" plugin to test the new theme.

Tell Us Your Thoughts

There you are!

You’ve learned two easy ways to install a WordPress theme.

The method you use depends on where you get the theme.

I know that selecting a theme can sometimes be a headache. Many themes are praised and offer great features and hundreds of pre-built websites.

I went through this same pain as well. And I recommend creating a list of three to five themes.

Watch tutorial videos online and see how website developers are using the themes. Then select the one that fits your skills and has the features you want.

After selecting your theme, installing it becomes a piece of cake.

But, now it’s your turn.

What themes are on your list? Or have you selected one already? 

Let me know your choice down in the comments below.

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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