How to Install a WordPress Theme

Learn how to install a WordPress Theme

There are thousands of free and commercial themes available to customize the look of your WordPress site. In this tutorial, we will show you how to find and install a WordPress Theme from within the Admin Dashboard and also how to manually install a Theme you have downloaded.

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There are many approved WordPress themes available directly in the Dashboard. You can find them using the built-in search tool, then easily install them. In this section, we’ll show you how.

  1. Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Click Appearance, then click Themes.
    Changing Theme in WordPress
  3. Click the Add New Theme button.
    Clicking the Add New Theme button
  4. You will then see the “Featured” Themes displayed. Roll your mouse over the Theme and click Preview to test it out:
    Testing a new Theme

    You can search for additional Themes in the available box:
    Finding Themes in the WordPress Dashboard

    Click the links on top to view “Popular,” “Latest,” or “Favorite” Themes:
    How to View Popular WordPress Themes

    Also, clicking the Feature Filter allows you to view Themes by Colors, Layout, Features, or Subject:
    Searching for WordPress Themes

  5. When you find the Theme you want to use; roll your mouse over it, and click the Install button.
    Installing a Theme from the WordPress Dashboard
  6. Once you see the “Successfully installed” message, click the Activate button to use the Theme.
    Activating a new Theme

Install a WordPress Theme You Downloaded

When you purchase a theme, it is often provided to you as a downloaded .zip (compressed) file. In this case, you will have to upload the theme before it can be installed. Here are the steps to manually install a WordPress theme.

  1. Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Click Appearance then Themes in the navigation menu.
  3. Click the Add New button.
  4. Click the Upload Theme button.
    Upload and Install a WordPress Theme
  5. Click the Choose File button, then select and open your downloaded theme file. It should be in a “.zip” format.
  6. Click the Install Now button.
    Upload and Install a WordPress Theme
  7. The theme will then be installed. Click the Activate button to enable this theme. You can also see check out our full guide on How to Change a WordPress Theme.
    Activate and Install a WordPress Theme

Congratulations, now you know how to install a WordPress Theme from the using search, or using a downloaded file! Check out our WordPress Education Channel for many more helpful guides.

Learn more about the power of WordPress Themes and how they can simplify your website building and maintenance.

John-Paul Briones Content Writer II

John-Paul is an Electronics Engineer that spent most of his career in IT. He has been a Technical Writer for InMotion since 2013.

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8 thoughts on “How to Install a WordPress Theme

  1. I want to design my own theme with and I use I have watched tutorials and the process of installing the themes is the same as in this article but I’m wondering if there is any difference between using inmotion hosting or other?

  2. Hi- I’m a first timer!

    checking into wp themes.  Question: Can you change a theme as many times as you want?

    Thanks, S

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for that vid!

    I’m a complete Noob! And, I’m signing on with a Pro-Pack. I got the Premium Package from and was wondering. 

    Instructions to install one of their multi-sites within a site theme could be found here:

    But at the bottom of the instruction it says “Our themes work only for self-hosted users since the doesn’t work with premium themes.”

    Will that make a difference in how I install on your hosting? Is there any heads up that I should know before I go ahead and attempt anything.

    This is literally my first time! Kind a fun though. Any advice or directions would be greatly appreciated!

    Warm regards,


    1. only works with hosting such as ours. users host with so you should be fine to follow the instructions. Let us know if you run into any issues and we’ll gladly help you out.

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