How to Install a Custom Theme in WordPress

Watch below to see I install a custom downloaded theme that I purchased through Themeforest (Avada Theme) through my FTP Server.

Besides the themes you can install through WordPress, whether it be premium paid themes or free WordPress.org themes, there are thousands of other independently developed themes that you can purchase and install on your own such as through Themeforest.

Themeforest has thousands of themes made by independent third party developers. These themes are more robust in nature and have many more features than the free themes that you can get through WordPress. When I am choosing a theme through Themeforest, I make sure that the developer’s rating and popularity is high. I also scroll through their comments section just to gauge how fast their response time to user questions are. This makes me feel more at ease if I am about to spend $50 – $60 dollars with them especially if I am designing something for a client.

In Themeforest, go to the search bar and type in something that relates to what type of website you want to build. It could be “Architecture or Landscaping”, Usually, developed now build themes that have multiple uses within the demos, so you will find that one theme can make alot of different types of websites. Keep in mind that this is all smoke screen. All themes are built with the same skeleton. They have a header, a navigation, a side widget bar, the main body copy, and a blog roll. Everything else is just dress up, which is your images and how you put everything together. I could take a landscaping theme and make it into a healthcare theme website just by switching up images. Some themes do have specific functions relating to that profession, such as real estate listing widgets etc, so just keep these in mind when searching for a theme.

There are 2 ways to install a WordPress theme:

  1. WordPress Dashboard
    a) Free/Premium themes through the WordPress Dashboard
    b) Downloaded third party theme zip files through WordPress
  2. FTP

Installing a free/premium themes through the WordPress Dashboard

  1. Go to Appearance / Themes.
  2. Click Add New.
  3. You will be presented with thousands of themes and you can sort by Feature filter tab.
  4. When you have chosen one, click “Install”.

Installing a purchased theme developed by a third party through the WordPress Dashboard

  1. Go to a third party theme site and download a theme to your liking. Usually these themes will need to be purchased. I love themeforest.net. Make sure the theme that you buy is designed for WordPress and that the reviews are good. They generally will come at the $50-$60 price range.
  2. After you have purchased the theme, download the zipped file to your computer and unzip it. You will see licence files, other folders etc. Locate your theme folder (usually this is the name of the theme itself). This may or may not be zipped. If it is not zipped, make sure that the theme folder is zipped.
  3. Go to your WordPress Dashboard / Appearance / Themes.
  4. Click Add New.
  5. Click Upload.
  6. Upload the theme folder zipped file.
  7. Go back to your Themes page and activate it.

Installing a purchased theme developed by a third party through FTP

  1. If you haven’t done so, watch my video How to Access your hosting server via FTP.
  2. Go to a third party theme site like themeforest.net and download a theme to your liking. Make sure the theme that you buy is designed for WordPress and that the reviews are good. They generally will come at the $50-$60 price range.
  3. After you have purchased the theme, download the zipped file to your computer and unzip it. You will see licence files, other folders etc.
  4. Locate the theme folder (usually it is the name of the theme itself). If it is zipped, unzip this as well.
  5. Upload the unzipped theme folder into your FTP in the location: public_html/wp-content/themes.
  6. Go back to your WordPress Dashboard / Appearance / Themes, and activate your theme.

Child theme is for more advanced users. It’s when you want to customize the theme without affecting the parent theme’s settings and functions. So this comes in handy if there is ever an update to the theme, you can update the theme without affecting the main theme.

As a quick recap, there are 2 ways in which you can install WordPress themes. 1. is through the WordPress dashboard. You can install free themes and premium themes. 2. is through your FTP server. Here, you can install custom purchased themes. Another way to upload these custom themes is also through the WordPress dashboard theme upload method.

To recap on how to select a theme, make sure the developer is highly rated, that the overall function and design is what you need and also quickly glance over the theme comments section to look for known issues and to see if the developer has a high response rate. This means that they are active in continuing to support the theme that they designed.