How to Install a WordPress Theme

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If you’ve gone and installed a WordPress blog, the first thing you are going to need to do is get a theme. A WordPress theme can be described as “skin” for your website, changing the way it looks. However, the benefits of these skins go way beyond pure aesthetics, allowing you to control the look, presentation and function of your blog, and giving you a completely unique website.

Installing the Default WordPress Theme

When you first install WordPress, you will notice that it comes with a default theme called Twenty Twelve and an alternative previous default theme called Twenty Eleven.

The Twenty Twelve theme is a really good skin to start with and lets you get to grips with how WordPress works. The great news with this particular theme is that you do not have to install it; WordPress have already taken care of that for you. Should you wish to switch to the Twenty Eleven theme, you can use the Dashboard installation method.

Installing WordPress Themes from the Dashboard

WordPress Themes Dashboard

In WordPress, the Dashboard is the user control panel – the hub of your site activity and the place where you will do everything from publishing posts to activating widgets. Installing themes from the Dashboard (including the Twenty Eleven theme) is a breeze and there are literally thousands to choose from.

The WordPress Directory is home to WP endorsed free themes and it is possible to search for new specific themes directly from your Dashboard.

To find and install themes in this way, go to Appearances > Themes > Install Themes (in the tab at the top of the page).

Once here, you can select the “Search” option to find new themes, “Featured” for moderator-selected themes, “Newest” and “Recently Updated”. Once you have found a theme that takes your fancy, simply click on the “Install Now” button below the thumbnail. Each theme will offer you the chance for a preview, which can be useful in seeing how the skin looks before committing to it.

In the themes menu, you will also notice an “Upload” option, giving you the chance to install a non-WordPress theme from your local machine.

Installing Your Own Theme

If there is one downside to the themes in the WordPress Directory it is that they are incredibly popular, with over 66 million downloads to date. If you are looking for something a little more unique for your site, you may consider looking at one of the many third-party developer themes out there. There are dozens of websites offering free and premium themes for instant download – a simple search on Google will help you find them. One we like a lot is ThemeForest, which offers a number of Premium WordPress Themes at affordable prices.

Downloading third-party themes will involve installing them on your hard drive. To then upload them to your WordPress website, you can simply follow the instructions for Dashboard installation; however, this time you should select the “Upload” option.

From here, you can choose your zip file from your computer and click on “Install Now.”

When a theme has been successfully installed on your Dashboard, you are given the option to Activate your new skin. If you ever feel the need to switch to another installed theme, simply go to Appearances > Themes and click “Activate” on any look that you prefer.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. WordPress has a habit of making everything easy for users and themes are no different.

Now that you know how to install themes, you can experiment with the look of your site and find a skin that really complements the content of your blog.

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