WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

If you’re reading this, chances are your website is part of the 40.9 percent using WordPress — which is a great thing, by the way.

Now you have your WordPress up and running and the next thing should be customization.

This guide will walk you through vamping your website by installing and setting up a new theme from your WordPress dashboard.

Let’s dive in.

Installing a New Theme from WordPress Theme Directory

WordPress offers a directory of over 6,000 free themes (and plugins) to users from its directory. Using these themes requires little to zero knowledge of coding. 

With a few clicks, you can switch up your site’s aesthetics using free themes or installing a premium one.

These themes go through a strict review process to make sure they’re not only compatible with the different versions of WordPress but with all the free plugins found there too. Actually we’ll teach you how to install a (free) new theme from your WordPress directory right now.

You just need to follow these steps :

  1. If you haven’t already, log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
  2. Click on Appearance > Themes 

WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

  1. Right on the top, hit the Add New button.

WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

  1. The next page will reveal a variety of themes to choose from. Take your time and scroll through the catalog. 

You can also streamline what you’re looking for by searching through these categories — Featured, Popular, Latest, and Favorites.

WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

  1. Use the Feature Filter settings to set parameters and get the best theme features for your website. Filter your options by – Layout, Features, and Subject. 

WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

  1. Hit Apply Filter when you’ve chosen the features you need.

WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

  1. Click Details and Preview when you find the theme of your choice to see more information about the theme. Preview lets you see how a theme plays out live on your dashboard before installing.
  2. Then, click Install.
  3. Complete the installation process by hitting the Activate button.

That’s it. Now you can play around with different customization effects and choose what works best for you.

Installing a New Theme via Uploads from the WordPress Dashboard

To install a new theme on WordPress via uploads, you must first purchase a premium theme from a non-WordPress developer.

Use the following instructions to learn how to upload and install a new theme on WordPress :

  1. First, download a premium theme from a theme marketplace — Themeforest, StudioPress, and MOJO Marketplace are great places to start. 

Downloaded themes are always in .zip files but don’t worryyou won’t need to unzip them before uploading.

  1. Head over to your dashboard and select Appearance > Themes.
  2. Click the Add New button at the top.
  3. On the new page that appears, click Upload Theme. This uploads the zip file from your computer to the WordPress dashboard.

WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

  1. Select Choose file to choose from the files on your computer. Then, click Install Now to complete the installation process.

WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

The remaining steps are similar to what we discussed above. To check the theme out, hit the Live Preview button and then Activate it to seal the process.

How to Setup your New WordPress Theme on your Dashboard

There are many ways to set up your WordPress theme after installation. If you’re not sure where to begin, use the theme’s documentation. 

Usually, you’ll find it embedded in the theme or on the developer’s website. If that doesn’t bring up favorable results, then just search it up on the internet.

For this post, we’ll look at three basic things you can do to extend your website’s functionality and design.

Install Necessary Plugins

Plugins give your site’s functionality an extra oomph when you install them. Most themes require plugins to perform well. 

To know the right plugins to install, check the theme’s documentation, or look for a notice on your dashboard immediately after installation.

Chances are, if you get a notice on your dashboard, you’ll go through the plugin installation process automatically. Use the bulk select tool to install and activate multiple plugins at once.

If you get the details from the theme’s documentation, you must manually install the required plugins.

Using Theme Options or Customizer

Sometimes, your theme might have a theme options page, though some of its functionality has been moved to the customizer to show you a live preview after activation. You can access the theme options page under Appearance > Theme options or as a standalone menu on your dashboard.

Here’s what you can do on the theme options page :

  • Set up your general homepage
  • Choose and customize color schemes.
  • Work on the site’s layout.
  • Add social media links.

However, with the customizer, you can do more than this — like fix header and background images and change basic site information. This also means that your theme might not support every customizer functionality.

To use the customizer, head to Appearance > Customize. The following page will have two panels — the left for testing out functionalities and the right for seeing a live preview.

You can now change your site title or upload a background image (if applicable).

Add Menus

The menu editor lets you set up navigation blocks for users. You’ll find the menu editor under Appearance > Menus. 

WordPress — How to Install a New Theme from the WordPress Dashboard

As with the customizer, you’ll see a two side panel. This time, you can fiddle with items on the left side and see the structure on the right. You may also give your menu a name that reflects the section you want to be displayed.

You can do everything from using custom links to fix up what’s missing to indenting menu items to show as sub-menus. 

Play around with the drag and drop feature to arrange the menu items, and click View All to see how everything turned out.

What Next?

Now you’ve changed up your website’s style, look, and feel, the final thing you should keep in mind is to keep your plugins and themes updated.

Of course, if you use a Managed WordPress, we’ll notify you of outdated plugins. Along with this, we keep your site running at 100 %.

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Working in the web hosting industry for over 13 years, Rado has inevitably got some insight into the industry. A digital marketer by education, Rado is always putting himself in the client's shoes, trying to see what's best for THEM first. A man of the fine detail, you can often find him spending 10+ minutes wondering over a missing comma or slightly skewed design.