How To Change The Theme for Your WordPress Website

how to change the theme for your wordpress

Are you planning to change the theme for your WordPress website?

When you first install it, WordPress comes with a default theme that is great for showcasing the various platform features. However, from a functionality and aesthetics perspective, the default theme is not a fan's favorite.

Fortunately, you can change the theme of a WordPress website anytime. However, it would help if you were mindful of several important factors that can affect your website's performance and functionality.

In this article, we'll look at how to change the theme for your WordPress website.

Let's get started!

Table of Content

What Is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme controls the appearance of a WordPress website. It manages design elements, image placement, and related visual elements. In addition, the theme also plays a role in the functionality of this website. All themes have HTML and CSS code, PHP and JavaScripts files, and images (mostly placeholders). All these elements combine together to influence how blog posts and pages are rendered.

WordPress has a huge repository of free and paid themes. You can get free themes from the WordPress Theme Repository. If you need better design features, templates, and more importantly support, you need to buy premium themes. If you have the required technical skills, you can create a custom theme that fits your requirements.

What Happens to the Content if You Change WordPress Themes?

Websites invest a lot in content because it is essential to achieving higher SERP positions. That's why many website owners are very concerned about the fate of the content when they plan on changing the theme.

The good news is that changing the theme has no significant impact on content. The content of your pages and posts, core settings, and plugins remain unchanged. Only the theme-related functionality such as shortcodes, custom image placement, and widgets would be affected by the theme change.

Now that we have answered that burning question, let’s move on to the things you need to consider before changing your WordPress theme.

Things To Consider Before You Change the WordPress Theme

Changing the theme is an important step for a WordPress website.

If you have a popular blog, a corporate website, or a WooCommerce store, you can streamline the process by keeping a few things in view. These steps simplify the process and ensure that most of the functionality that you’re used to is preserved and available in the new theme.

1. Customization in Theme’s Code

If you have a custom-built theme or a premium theme, most of the customizations on your website result from code snippets added directly to the theme’s functions.php file. Therefore, if you want to save these customizations, we recommend you make a copy of the functions.php and related files.

2. Test Load Time

Website speed is essential for a great user experience (UX). When shortlisting themes for your website, always check the load speed with GTmetrix or similar tools. The idea is to find the fastest loading themes so that they’d perform at their peak under live conditions.

3. Transfer Google Analytics Tracking To a Plugin

If you’re using Google Analytics to track website traffic, you should check how Google Analytics is integrated with your website. If the code is directly included in the files, you could lose the tracking capabilities when you switch themes.

We recommend you use a plugin to connect your website with Google Analytics. This is a surefire way of ensuring you can use Google Analytics with your new theme.

Note: We recommend Analytify, a user-friendly WordPress Google Analytics dashboard plugin that brings all essential Google Analytics stats to your WordPress Dashboard.

4. Check the New Theme’s Sidebar and Widget Areas

If your current theme uses the sidebars and widget areas to deliver content and functionalities such as user login, you should ensure the new theme supports these areas. This simple check will ease the transition for you. Your users will also have a great time because they’ll find most functionalities unchanged.

5. Back up the Website

We highly recommend you take a full site backup before initiating the theme change. This critical step results in an archive that contains everything from the content to the theme and plugin files.

You can use the backup archive to restore your website if anything goes wrong.

How to Change the Theme for Your WordPress Website

Now that you've finalized a theme, the next step is changing your current theme on your WordPress website.

We'll cover the three popular ways you can install a new theme on your site.

Method 1: Change the Theme From the Dashboard

The easiest way of changing the theme is to use the Themes option in the Dashboard.

WordPress offers two types of themes, free and premium themes. The free theme can be found in the WordPress theme directory and on various theme development agencies' websites. On the other hand, premium themes are often available exclusively on the development agency's website.

While the major steps of replacing your current theme with both types are similar, you might find some minor differences.

Replace With A Free Theme

To install a free theme as a replacement for your current theme, log into your WordPress admin account. Go to the left side of the WordPress Dashboard, click Appearance, and select Themes.

WordPress Appearance Themes

Here you can see Featured, Popular, Latest, and Favorite themes. If yo have a specific theme in mind, use the search box to look it up. Once you select the theme, simply click Install.

free wordpress themes

Once the theme is installed, activate it. Now, you can start customizing the theme exactly the way you want.

activate wordpress theme

Replace With A Premium Theme

To replace your current theme with a premium one, you first need to purchase the theme. Usually, you get a couple of files in the package, including the main theme archive.

Next, log into the admin account on your website.

Go to the Dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Themes. Next, click Add New button. Look at the upper left-hand side of the main screen for the Upload Theme button and click it.

Use the Choose File button to select the theme archive file. Upload the zip file and click Install Now.

upload wordpress theme

Once the theme is installed, activate it. Now, you can start customizing the theme exactly the way you want.

Method 2: Manually Upload the Theme

You can also manually upload the theme to your WordPress website. All you need to do is to download the theme of your choice from external sources as a .zip file.

Note: The following steps assume that you already have downloaded the theme from external sources as a .zip file.

First off, go to Appearance from the left side of your WordPress Dashboard. Click Appearance > Themes. On the screen, click Add New.

On the next screen, click Upload Theme. Next, click Choose File.

manual upload wordpress theme

Locate the new theme’s .zip file. Open it and click Install Now. Wait for a while for the uploading process to complete.

You can see a Live Preview of what your website might look like once the theme is activated. If you are satisfied, simply click Activate to use the theme immediately.

Method 3. Upload the Theme via FTP

You can change the theme of your WordPress website by connecting via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). To use this method, you need an FTP client such as FileZilla.

Note: We assume that you are connected to your WordPress website via the FTP client of your choice.

First off, locate and access the wp-content folder in your WordPress directory.

access  wp-content folder through ftp

Navigate to the themes folder. Inside the folder, you will see all the installed WordPress themes.

navigate to theme folder

Now go to your computer and unzip the theme archive. Make sure the folder has the same name as the new theme.

upload and unzip theme archive

Next, select the theme folder on your local machine, and drag-and-drop it into the themes folder. The new theme will appear in the WordPress themes.

drag it in theme folder

Go to your WordPress Dashboard. Navigate to Appearance and choose themes. Look for the new theme in the installed themes.

Navigate to the new theme. You can see the live preview of your site by clicking Live Preview. Activate the theme and enjoy the new appearance.

Conclusion: How to Change the Theme

Installing a new theme is always an important decision. First, you have to carefully evaluate each theme to ensure it fits all your requirements. Once you have finalized a theme, you can install it using one of the three methods described in this article.

We hope you will now understand how to change the theme for your WordPress. We recommend you back up your current site before changing the theme to get back on your feet quickly if anything goes wrong.

Let us know in the comments how your experience was when you changed the theme on your WordPress website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are WordPress themes customizable?
Yes, WordPress themes are customizable. You can make them look exactly the way you want.
Can I get WordPress themes for free?
WordPress offers a collection of free themes for your site. You can search for the the design best suits your niche.

That's all! You can also check out How to Add Social Login Plugin to WordPress Website (Easy Guide) and How to Customize the WordPress Login Page (Easy Guide).

Not using LoginPress yet? What are you waiting for?

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