How to Install a Third-Party Theme in WordPress

February 22, 2021 / WordPress

In this tutorial, we’ll explain how to install a third-party WordPress theme to your website. If you need instructions to install a repository theme, read our knowledgebase article: How to Install a Theme from the WordPress Repository

Websites require a theme or template to create the way the site looks. They provide the layout, style, and colour scheme of the site, as well as offer a range of other features and customisations.  WordPress comes with a default theme already installed, but most users prefer to choose a new one that is more appropriate for their website. While there are thousands of free themes available in the WordPress repository, many website owners choose third-party themes, some of which are bespoke or customised for them.

Installation instructions

To install a third-party WordPress theme, follow these steps:

1. Before you can begin the installation, you will first need to purchase a third-party theme from a developer or theme store and download it to your computer.

2. The folder you download will be compressed to make the contents smaller and should have an file format (e.g. You do not need to unzip the file on your computer.

3. For backup and restoration purposes, you should save a copy of your theme on your computer or another storage solution in case you need to reinstall it in the future.

4. Once you have the .zip file, log in to your WordPress admin panel.

5. Scroll down to Appearance > Themes.

6. When the theme page opens, click on the Add New button at the top of the page.

7. When the next screen opens, click the Upload Theme button at the top of the page.

8. When the upload screen appears, click the Choose File button. This opens a dialog box from where you can locate and select the theme’s .zip file on your computer. 

9. Select the file and click Open.

10. Once you have clicked open, click on the Install Now button.

11. Your theme will now be installed on your website.

 12. To activate the theme, navigate back to Appearance > Themes where the theme will be displayed in the list of installed themes. Find the theme and click Activate.

13. Once activated, the appearance of your website will change to that of the new theme. Differences between the way the new and old themes display content may mean you need to make adjustments to your site using the Appearance > Customise or Appearance > Theme Options.

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