How to Install a WordPress Theme

Installing a theme in WordPress is simple. Here are the steps.

In this tutorial, I’m installing Genesis* which uses a child theme (the recommended way to build themes), however, the basic steps are similar for any theme.

how to install a wordpress theme

1. Download the zip file(s)

Themes generally come packaged in a zip file.  For Genesis, download the zip files of both Genesis and your desired child theme.

The zipped file is what you will need for the following step, so if your computer automatically unzips zipped files, locate the zipped version on your computer before moving on.

2. Upload the Genesis Theme Framework to your site

Because we are working with a 2-part system, you’ll need to upload both the Genesis Theme Framework and the child theme of your choice. If you try to upload your child theme and you do not have the Genesis Framework installed, it will not work.

I recommend you upload the Genesis Theme Framework first using this process:

Login to WordPress. From your Dashboard:

  1. Go to Appearance –> Themes.
  2. Click the Install Themes tab.
  3. Click the Upload link at the top of the screen.
  4. Choose the zipped file you downloaded in the previous step.
  5. Click Install Now.

how to install a theme

3. Upload your child theme

Use the same steps above to upload your child theme.

(If your theme does not use a child theme, you’ll skip this step.)

4. Activate your child theme to make it show up

After your child theme is uploaded, you should see an “Activate” link. You can click that. Alternatively, you can go to Dashboard –> Appearance –> Themes and click the Activate link underneath your child theme (not Genesis).

(If your theme does not use a child theme, you will simply activate the main theme.)

*There are affiliate links in this post.

Do you get The Useletter?