WordPress websites need to be designed. The design is vital to brand or business success. The fact is that most businesses will fail without having a digital presence. The design is usually best accomplished by implementing a WordPress theme.
WordPress is unmatched when it comes to creating websites. With the simplicity of the interface, ease of use, ability to customize, and shallow learning curve, WordPress sets the bar high for creating a website. To create powerful sites, WordPress relies on themes being installed to aid in the overall design.
Best Overall WordPress Theme
A multi-purpose theme with lots of bells and whistles. Well-suited for those who don't want overload a site with plugins.
Best WordPress Theme for Blogs
A lightweight and accomplished theme that supports a myriad of designs for newsworthy sites and blogs.
Fastest WordPress Theme
Tested for speed and extremely well-suited for any type of website need. Ships with lots of options and works with most builders.
Best WordPress Theme for Online Stores
A well-designed and structured theme to support all types of eCommerce requirements and storefront types.
This article reviews some of the best WordPress themes available for businesses. It also highlights features to look for when deciding on a theme for your website.
What is a WordPress Theme?
WordPress themes are essentially a series of pre-designed files applied to customize the appearance of a website by changing visual elements within the layout, typography, color palette, and other areas in order to present the desired aesthetic.
Difference between themes and templates
WordPress templates are different from themes in the sense that templates only pertain to specific pages on a website, and not the entire website.
In other words, a template is a single-page layout within a WordPress theme – that usually comes in multiple variations. A good example of this is a template for blog posts that can either be a full-width version or a narrow-width version; all packaged within the main theme.
The Best WordPress Themes Available Right Now
Themes bear quite a bit of responsibility as it applies to the appearance of a website. A bad theme will simply set you up for headache after headache with customizations and the need to make adjustments with every change or new idea. The best themes don't come with these issues.
Here are the best WordPress themes on the market right now. These were chosen based on the number of sales, ratings, and reviews, and our experience implementing them across multiple websites.
Astra – Best Overall WordPress Theme
Astra is regarded as one of the most popular WordPress themes. When picking a theme to work with, you should consider the flexibility with which you can customize a theme, and Astra provides more than most users may need.
Astra has amazing features and numerous customization options right out of the box. The theme integrates seamlessly with basically every other plugin, which shows it has been developed thoroughly. Elementor, WooCommerce, and Yoast are just a few of the tools compatible with Astra.
Performance & Speed
The wonderful thing about this multipurpose theme is that whatever unique need or purpose you have for your website, Astra has multiple page templates for the job. No matter what business you run, you will find something suitable within Astra templates.
The Astra theme comes with templates and multiple layouts available for use. WordPress beginners can create pages that have a fully widgetized homepage layout using this multipurpose theme and its features.
Integrating Astra with a drag-and-drop builder like Elementor or other builder plugins will allow you to customize the Astra theme and templates.
Colors & Typography: Good for setting colors and fonts that integrate well with your brand. With this feature, you can easily manage the colors and typography of the entire website and any landing pages.
Page Header: This allows you to add custom page headers and set display rules to show them on specific landing pages and posts of your website.
Sticky Header: Sticky headers are so named because they stick on top of the template pages when the user scrolls. This sticky navigation menu allows quick access to the menu no matter what part of the page is being browsed.
Mobile Responsive Header: Customize and adjust header breakpoints, and set a custom logo, menu styles, colors, and overall look for mobile devices.
Mega Menu: Create beautiful templates with your favorite drag-and-drop page builder or drop in shortcode to include a layout within a mega menu on your website.
Boxed: Distinguish your primary content from others seen on the page by displaying it in a boxed layout.
Full Width: Astra comes with a default full-width layout and other notable features that lets you use the entire width of the primary content on your website or landing pages with just a few clicks.
Padded: Give your content a padded look by inserting specific margins on the edges. Astra’s padded layout lets you do this easily.
Fluid Layout: With Astra, you get the option to choose the fluid layout that lets you stretch the entire website to the edge of the screen.
Spacing Control: Astra’s spacing add-on lets you manage the margins and paddings around all elements and overrides the default space settings.
Colors and Background
Above Header: Manage the colors and background on your above header too by setting different colors and backgrounds for a mobile device.
Below Header: Want to change the color and background in your below header? Astra allows you to change the colors of everything within that header.
Content: This gives you an easy interface for managing the colors of different types of content. From a single place, you can control colors for heading tags and more.
Sticky Header: This gives you a series of options to control the colors and background within the sticky header on your website.
Blog Structure Control: You can manage how individual posts are shown on a blog page. Control the structure by placing the feature image, title, and meta text in order.
Date Box: Astra allows you to display a trendy date box for every post element that you add to your blog page. Display the published date in style!
Excerpt Count: Excerpts summarise the post. You can fetch respective excerpts to be displayed with every post on the blog page.
Grid Layout: Showcase all your blog posts in a grid layout on your blog page using the blog layouts provided on the theme options page.
Highlight First Post: Do you want users to make sure they have read your first post? With Astra, you get to highlight the first post on your list.
Infinite Loading: You can select the infinite loading option that keeps loading blog posts on the same blog page as the user continues scrolling below.
Masonry Layout: Display your blog posts in a trendy masonry layout.
Post Pagination: Add stylish pagination to distribute your blog posts within several pages which can be accessed through the buttons below.
Global Design Options
Above Header Content: Add all types of content within your website’s above header. Want to add HTML code, widgets, shortcodes, or just plain text? You can do that!
Above Header Layout: Astra’s easy-to-use layouts allow you to manage and control the layout of your above header together with the content on it.
Below Header Content: Add different widgets, HTML content, shortcodes, and more to manage the content within your website’s Below header.
Below Header Layout: Change the layout of the below header on your website along with its content.
Flexible Footer Layout: A variety of options that help you select a flexible footer layout to contain different types of content such as widgets, text, HTML code, shortcodes, etc.
Mobile Header Design: Add breakpoints and display flyouts, the hamburger menu, and more according to the needs of your website.
Dropdown Cart: When using Astra with WooCommerce, you can show a dropdown cart that lets users see the products that have been added to the cart or add one through it.
Gallery Options: Display all your products in a product gallery on your eCommerce website. You can set the layout as a grid or list and customize it further.
Grid Settings: Astra’s WooCommerce module allows you to display your products in a grid layout that you can customize as per your needs.
Infinite Scroll: Do you wish to load all the products on a single page? You can do so by choosing infinite loading which loads products when the users scroll down.
Off-Canvas Sidebar: Astra lets you add an off-canvas sidebar on the Shop page. This sidebar remains out of the screen initially and can be triggered through a button or link.
Quick View: Astra allows you to enable the quick view option that lets users take a closer look at the product without opening it on a new page.
Sales Bubble Style: You can display trendy and attractive sales bubbles on your products that encourage quick purchases and boost sales.
LearnDash: Astra integrates seamlessly with LearnDash to help you build a user-friendly and attractive website to offer online courses.
LifterLMS: Astra integrates seamlessly with LifterLMS to help you build an attractive and distraction-free online course website.
Custom 404 Page: With Astra, you can design an attractive custom 404 page with content of your choice that looks far better than the default 404 page.
Display Conditions: You can choose to display a custom layout across the entire website or select specific pages you wish to show them up on.
Custom Footer: Astra lets you build custom footers with your favorite page builder and use them on the entire website or particular pages you wish to show it on.
Custom Header: You can create custom headers using your favorite page builder. Build your own custom header and enable it on the entire website or specific pages.
Custom Layout – Hooks: With hooks, you can inject custom code and content anywhere you wish to add them. Astra offers various action hooks you can choose from.
Custom Layouts Inside Gutenberg Pages: You can design a custom section with your favorite page builder and display it at a specific location on selected Gutenberg pages/posts.
Astra offers annual and lifetime plans in three bundles; Astra Pro, Essential Bundle, and Growth Bundle.
Annual package pricing: Astra Pro [$49], Essential Bundle [$169], Growth Bundle [$249]
Lifetime bundle pricing: Astra Pro [$239], Essential Bundle [$499], Growth Bundle [$699]
Astra offers a free version to get you started and you can download it from the website or install it from the WordPress dashboard.
Best Alternative to Astra – Neve
There are a few themes that can serve as alternatives to Astra. One theme that stands out is the Neve theme. Neve shares many characteristics with Astra. If you want an alternative that’s just as fast and lightweight, Neve is an excellent choice.
- Options for page layouts
- Compatibility with drag-and-drop page builders
- Custom header and footer design
- Easy to set up
- Reverse changes with one-click rollback
- Access to Pro add-ons such as the WooCommerce or Blog Boosters
Free version: Download from the WordPress admin
Paid version: $59 (available at ThemeIsle)
Newspaper – Best Theme for Blogs
With over 110,000 customers and 6,800 website owners sticking their necks out for this theme, Newspaper is widely regarded as the most popular WordPress theme for blogging and news-related content. If you own a blog or news portal and want to give it an edge over the competition, this is likely the theme to use.
A versatile, simple, and easy-to-use theme, the popular multipurpose WordPress theme is packed with features that make it easy to get your website up and running in no time.
No coding skills required: Even if you’re inexperienced in website coding, you’ll still find the Newspaper theme easy to work with. You don’t need to have coding experience to be able to set up your blog or online news portal using this theme.
Uses SEO best practices: For people who understand search engine optimization, we can all agree there are SEO practices that boost rankings on search engines. The Newspaper theme is optimized using SEO best practices.
Translation panel with 90+ languages: With over 90 language translations, the built-in translation panel in Newspaper is one of the best features of this theme. With this feature, you can translate your website into versions that cater to specific audiences in different languages.
Built-in translation support: With the Newspaper theme, you have a form with all the strings from the theme and their corresponding translations.
Responsive ads support: This feature is great for ad networks that allow multiple ad spots on the same div. The feature is also great if you want your ads to be shown on different devices.
Free premium widgets: This theme includes premium widgets such as Exchange, Newsletter, Social Counter, Shop, and Weather.
Easy to monetize a blog: It’s safe to say the aim of most bloggers is to be able to monetize their content, and this theme makes it easy to do so with its support for responsive Google Ads, AdSense, and banner ads.
Auto Dailymotion, Vimeo, and YouTube thumb downloader: Want a thumbnail for a video you intend to post? Just paste the YouTube URL and automatically download the largest image available from the clip. The image can then be set as a featured image.
Filtering options for Flex Block shortcodes: The Flex blocks enable you to highlight important bits of content on your news website by displaying the content within categories and single posts.
Compatibility with the popular plugins: Newspaper integrates with many popular WordPress plugins and drag-and-drop page builder tools as well as the WordPress Gutenberg editor.
Free version: Download from the WordPress admin
Paid version: $59 (available in the Envato Marketplace)
Best Alternative to Newspaper – Ashe
This minimal and elegant WordPress theme has proven to be the perfect choice for blog-oriented web projects. Whatever brand you’re developing online; whether it be a personal diary or business-related endeavor – Ashe theme will meet your needs with its responsive, lightweight sturdy design.
This is a minimalist-driven responsive WordPress theme that has WooCommerce support. Also, its documentation is done so well that it is very easy to use, even for beginner WordPress users.
- Translation and RTL (right to left language) ready
- SEO ready
- Instagram slider widget support
- Footer menu support
- GDPR compatibility plugins support
Free version: Download from the WordPress admin
Paid version: $59 (available at WP Royal)
Ashe is a free multipurpose WordPress theme. You can find it in the themes section of the WordPress admin interface.
Also, you can preview the theme via this demo.
Zakra – Fastest WordPress Theme
Zakra is a lightweight WordPress theme designed to make your website as functional and beautiful as possible. Equipped with a customizer and a host of individual page settings, making changes on your website is extremely easy.
This is one of the most popular WordPress themes for e-commerce, its seamless WooCommerce integration makes customizing your pages and setting up your online store a breeze.
AMP Ready: Zakra is AMP ready – ensuring that your website loads with blazing speed on mobile devices. It’s the fastest theme, don’t forget!
SEO Friendly: Everybody loves to have a site ranking high in search results and with Zakra’s SEO readiness, that is exactly what you’ll get. This is one of the best WordPress themes known to support all major SEO plugins.
Page Builder Compatible: Love using page builders? Well, you don’t have to worry about losing out on personalized customizations as Zakra is compatible with all major page builders.
RTL Ready: Concerned about not being able to reach users comfortable with right-to-left [RTL] text languages? Worry no more as the Zakra theme is designed to accommodate languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Urdu among others.
WPML/Polylang & Translation Ready: Launch the site in any indigenous language as well as make it accessible to site visitors regardless of their linguistic needs.
Gutenberg Blocks Plugin: BlockArt is an additional free plugin that works with Zakra and the WordPress Gutenberg editor to provide templates and advanced Gutenberg blocks that work within the theme builder.
GDPR Compliant: Zakra is GDPR and privacy compliant out of the box. This is important if you have any clients or users from the European Union.
Custom Widget Areas: Zakra offers 7 areas within the theme builder to add custom widgets. This helps create a lot of flexibility when building a site.
Zakra offers annual and lifetime plans in four pricing tiers; Personal, Personal Plus, Professional, and Developer.
Annual plan pricing: Personal [$48.30], Personal Plus [$62.30], Professional [$202.30], Developer [$209.30].
Lifetime bundle pricing: Personal [$139.30], Personal Plus [$209.30], Professional [$454.30], Developer [$489.30].
Zakra has a free version to get you started as well. Zakra also offers a no-risk 14-day money-back guarantee.
Flatsome – Best for Online Stores
Flatsome is considered the most popular WordPress theme for e-commerce. It is rated #1 in the Envato marketplace. It comes with a studio that contains an impressive library of pre-defined layouts and sections that can be inserted into your site. It also comes right out of the box with WooCommerce support.
Flatsome eCommerce Features
Code-Free Customizations: You can easily use the live WordPress theme customizer to change an unlimited number of options to make your site stand out and unique from others who use the theme.
Rock-Solid Security: Flatsome provides a solid infrastructure, a secure framework on which to build, and a minimal layout when needed. The theme regularly gets updates and features added as well as any security patches.
Optimized For Mobile Sales: Almost 50% of all eCommerce sales now come via mobile devices. Flatsome utilizes a responsive framework that allows for specific configuration options for mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
Conversion Ready Checkout: Data from 41 studies calculated that the average cart abandonment rate sits just below 70%. The benefit of using Flatsome is that it gives you the tools to cut your cart abandonment rate. It does that by offering a customizable, conversion-optimized checkout process.
Drag and Drop Page Builder: Flatsome created its own state-of-the-art builder tool to allow for complete customization. Create sliders, grids, and other elements within a page without the need for extra plugins.
SEO Optimized: Flatsome uses an SEO-optimized codebase to ensure your website performs as best as it can from a search engine's point of view.
Flatsome Elements: Flatsome comes with numerous elements that add additional functionality and features to your website and eliminate the need to add additional plugins that would otherwise be needed to enable these features.
Take control and build a unique store with Flatsome and the WordPress Customizer. There are lots of templates to choose from and numerous demo stores that can install much of what you need in a single click.
Flatsome is available in the Envato Marketplace for $59. There is the option of extending support from 6 months to 12 months for an additional $17.63.
Best Alternative to Flatsome – Woostify
Designed to improve the conversion rate of your online store, Woostify is a free WooCommerce theme that is coded according to WordPress standards and – just like Flatsome– is optimized to load quickly by using as few resources as possible.
Lightweight: This theme is designed to function at the smallest size to guarantee the fastest loading time even without applying any additional optimization.
WooCommerce Support: Woostify comes with WooCommerce integration which removes the conflict between theme & plugin.
Better SEO: Built with an SEO-ready structure, Woostify comes with clean & optimized source code.
RTL & Translate Ready: With Woostify, you can create multilingual websites as well as translate the Woostify setup into your own language using .po & .mo files.
Compatible with multiple vendors: Woostify is fully tested and has proven its compatibility with vendor plugins like Dokan and WCFM Marketplace.
Full Support for Product Swatches: Both the free and pro versions of Woostify support product swatches – converting the standard product attribute dropdowns into beautiful swatches.
Easy Customization: It is easy to set up your website and begin customizing individual elements to create the design look you want to go for.
Secure and Stable: The Pro version of this theme was developed using the latest WordPress coding standards – ensuring that Woostify Pro is safe and secure.
Annual plan pricing – Woostify Personal [$49], Woostify Professional [$79], and Woostify Agency [$129]
Lifetime bundle pricing – Woostify Personal [$99], Woostify Professional [$159], and Woostify Agency [$299]
Cost & Seller Reputation
Most WordPress themes are priced starting as low as $19. It is important to consider certain factors when purchasing a theme beyond price. These include the reputation of the theme provider, the reviews of the theme, and the theme support.
Below, are 5 of the most reputable marketplaces we recommend for purchasing WordPress themes.
Regarded as home to some of the best WordPress themes, this is the world’s most popular marketplace – pairing some of the best WordPress theme developers with eager buyers. Their quality control standards are high, which ensures their themes live up to expectations and receive regular updates.
With a wide selection of WordPress themes, Template Monster is a marketplace whose themes have higher price points than other options but offer good value. The marketplace has a solid reputation among buyers and is popular with both buyers and developers.
Theme Grill may not be as big as Themeforest and Template Monster, however, it’s a marketplace whose developers design some really robust themes that receive regular updates so websites designed with these themes stay current and supported.
This is the only marketplace so far that highlights the genuineness of its return policy offering a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you cherish regular updates, 24/7 support, and well-documented products, then, Theme Isle is where you want to shop for a value-for-money WP theme.
With over 3,500 premium WordPress themes in its arsenal, this marketplace is one of the best platforms to secure minimalist WordPress themes.
Although it is popular with web designers, it is more known as a resource marketplace for design elements such as graphic templates.
Characteristics of a Good WordPress Theme
When choosing a theme to build your website, there are certain characteristics you need to look for. Both premium and free WordPress themes should include the following features.
A responsive theme makes your site easy to use across all devices. Over 70% of Internet surfers visit websites on mobile devices. This means that if your site is not responsive or optimized for mobile devices, website visitors will not have an optimal experience – impacting your traffic and potentially your organic rankings.
Responsive themes include features such as fluid site grids and flexible images that can translate to devices effectively and without disruption to the user experience.
Do you enjoy waiting in lines? There’s nothing more irritating than visiting a website that is slow to load when you need to access information quickly.
Whether you have an online store or just a brochureware website, you should be careful to not opt in for a theme that is bloated with features or code that is bound to slow down your site.
Site security cannot be overemphasized. It is important to choose a theme that is secure and has no open vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. Premium themes tend to be better supported in this area than free WordPress themes.
A theme can look great while still being poorly coded – affecting your site’s performance in major search engines. The theme you choose plays a vital role in your site’s SEO. You should only use themes that are built soundly to support SEO best practices.
You may be creating a WordPress website in English, however, have you considered the possibility that some visitors to your site may not be native English speakers? It is important that your theme supports multilingual WordPress plugins and is translation ready even if you don't intend to immediately offer multiple languages.
It’s important to keep in mind that your site’s visitors will be using different browsers. With that comes the possibility that while your theme may look perfect on the browser you’re using, it may look broken in other browsers.
Browser compatibility is important in web design and that is why the best WordPress theme developers use sophisticated tools to rigorously test their themes’ compatibility within various browsers.
Documentation and Support
For people who use free versions of WP themes, one thing they can all attest to is that there is no guaranteed support. Of course, some developers provide support for their free theme but many do not. WordPress tutorials are abundant but might not be specific to your theme.
It’s important that you choose a WordPress theme with good documentation as well as support regardless of whether it is a free or a premium theme. Premium themes guarantee detailed documentation and 1 year's worth of email-based support at a minimum.
Reviews and Rating
If it’s good then people will testify to that. A solid indicator of a theme’s quality is the ratings and reviews its users give it. A theme that has done right by its users will likely have multiple positive (or 5-star) ratings.
This may sound insignificant to some but supporting Google fonts and other free font sources is incredibly important. Having to use premium fonts is extremely expensive and the base fonts that the web supports are limited. Google fonts have the most robust library and can integrate with the best WordPress themes.
Why Purchase the Pro Version of a WordPress Theme?
While it is perfectly fine to start with a free WordPress theme that meets your needs, it is advisable that you purchase the premium version. Why? Premium WordPress themes offer pro features you won’t get with the free versions or a free theme.
Below are some benefits of purchasing paid versions of the most popular WordPress themes.
Full Functionality: With paid themes, you get a fully functional website in terms of support, frequent updates, as well as the freedom to customize your site with the various options available. Often a single WordPress theme reduces the need for installing multiple plugins on your website or within your online store.
Guaranteed Security: This can not be overstated. Premium themes are much more secure compared to free themes as the developers are being paid to continue keeping the theme fully functional. This means there is less of a threat of the theme being exploited in some way.
Uniqueness: With lots of people wanting to use free themes with limited customization options, it is common to come across different websites that look the same. With your premium WordPress theme, you’re able to customize it to your liking – giving your website a unique look to complement the business. A stylish WordPress theme is worth the money.
Compliant with Prevailing Standards: As noted earlier, premium themes receive regular updates, so you’re assured they will work with the latest versions of CSS, HTML, PHP, and WordPress.
Browser Compatible: Avoid the embarrassment of having a site that looks great on Chrome, okay on Firefox, and terrible or broken on Safari or Opera. Premium themes are rigorously tested so they are compatible across desktop and mobile versions of browsers.
Responsive: With Google making mobile responsiveness a factor for organic rankings, you don’t want to stand the risk of losing out on rank potential because your theme lacks best-practice technical markup.
Customizable: In order for a WordPress website to look unique, its theme should be highly customizable. Premium themes are highly customizable and typically allow you to use the WordPress customizer to make your changes. Additionally, many supply premium templates, page layouts, and demo data to get you started, unlike their free counterparts.
Compatible with Important Plugins: One frustration you are likely to deal with when using a free theme is the inability to install certain WordPress plugins due to the fact that they are incompatible with your theme.
How to Install WordPress Themes
There are lots of free and premium themes designed by both WordPress and third-party theme providers available to be used for your website. All you have to do is download, install, and customize a theme to your preferred look.
There are several ways to install a WP theme. We've outlined the process below.
How to install via the theme directory
This is the traditional theme installation method and also the easiest as everything is done right within your website’s dashboard with no need for external uploads. This is for themes already in the WordPress database.
The theme directory on WordPress is where you go to search for and install the free themes following these steps.
- To begin, log in to your WordPress account
- Within the dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Themes from the left menu
Hover your mouse over Appearance on the menu located on the left side of the dashboard and select Themes within that option box.
- Select Add New, which is located at the top of the Themes page
- After clicking on the Add New button, you now will choose from the categories presented on the themes menu; these are featured themes, popular themes, or latest themes.
You can even take it a step further by narrowing down your search and going after specific features like full-width templates or sticky posts, layouts [either grid layouts or two-column layouts], and niche-designed themes for blogs, e-commerce, or photography, among others.
- Install the theme by clicking Install to begin the process.
- Optional: After settling on the appropriate theme for your website, hover your mouse pointer over the theme’s preview image. Here, you’ll get the option to preview and learn more about the theme.
- Click Activate to take your theme live.
After downloading, your theme will take a few minutes to install. Once that process is complete, you'll receive a message that the installation was a success.
However, the theme won't be live on your website just yet! So you have to publish it by clicking the Activate button to make the theme your website’s default.
Congratulations! You’ve now installed a theme via the WordPress theme directory.
BonusStep: Add plugins to your WordPress websites
The next step after activating your WP theme is to add plugins to bring some functionality to your website.
There are thousands of plugins available on WordPress that perform various functions – from security, to SEO, custom widgets, and even social media integration – in order to get the best out of your site and give visitors an easy and enjoyable experience.
Bonus Step: Customize the theme using the WordPress customizer.
With your theme live on the website, it is now time to customize it to achieve that unique look you have in mind.
Modify the colors, logo, icons, and fonts – if the theme accommodates that. There is much you can add to the theme to make your website unique from others that have also employed the theme.
How to Install a WordPress theme via the upload method
Assuming you don’t really fancy any of the themes in the WP theme directory and want to use a custom-designed or premium theme from a third party; how do you get that theme onto your WordPress powered site?
This is the method used for installing custom-made and third-party designed themes on your website and here are the steps through which you install your preferred theme:
- Get the .zip file of the theme you want to design your website with.
Note: The first step is to download the .zip file of the theme you bought in the marketplace or from your preferred theme provider.
- Navigate to Appearance > Themes
Then, log in to your WordPress account and go to Appearance in the menu on the left of the dashboard, and select Themes.
- Select Add New at the top of the themes page.
- Click the Upload Theme button after clicking on ‘Add New’.
- Upload and install the file.
- After selecting Upload Theme, click Choose File. Select the .zip folder of the theme you've downloaded and then click Install Now.
- Once that’s complete, click Activate
After clicking on Install, a message will appear indicating the successful installation of the theme. Click Activate to make the theme live on your website.
How to Install a WordPress Theme via File-Transfer Protocol (FTP)
This third method is one that needs a little bit of experience or tech-savviness to pull off without issues.
If the theme you’ve chosen for your site is a complex and robust one with large files, a manual upload as done in the second method above might prove to be a little difficult.
In a situation like that, uploading via FTP is the better option, and below are the six steps to installing a WP theme via the FTP method.
- Download an FTP (file transfer protocol) Client to your computer and install the software.Some options are:
For this method to work, you have to start off by downloading software referred to as an FTP Client to your computer. What this software does is allow you to connect to, access, add, or delete files on a remote web server.
- Create an FTP account through your web hosting provider. This is typically done via a control panel or by contacting the hosting company.
After downloading the FTP client, your next step is to create an FTP account where you host your website. The account will help you gain access to the hosting provider via the FTP Client. Setting up an FTP user account within your hosting dashboard is a process that varies for every hosting provider.
Your hosting service provider will provide you with a username and password with which you’ll create your FTP Client account.
- Download your theme and unzip the file.
The next step is to download your theme if you haven’t done so already and unzip the downloaded file. The reason to unzip it first is that some theme developers provide more in the zip file than you’ll need to upload into WordPress. This might be a text file of instructions or accompanying fonts, add-ons, or copyright info.
After unzipping the file and inspecting it to make sure it’s the important theme files only, compress it back into a zip file and prepare to install.
- Install by uploading the theme folder to WordPress.
Find the root of your WordPress installs from within the FTP Client. Next, select Themes from the wp-content folder and upload the entire folder you unzipped there.
- Activate the theme from your dashboard in WordPress
Now, navigate back to the themes section of your WordPress dashboard after you've uploaded the theme folder using the FTP Client. From there, your new theme should be visible as an option under your downloaded themes.
- Select the new theme and click Activate to make it live on your website.
Just like every other technical thing, successfully installing a WP theme is a big deal and there are questions associated with the process in general. Below are some commonly asked questions regarding WP theme installations.
Can I use multiple themes in WordPress?
No. Although you can install multiple themes into your site’s database, you can only activate one theme at any particular time.
As soon as a WP theme is activated, it automatically deactivates the theme that was previously active – much like pinning a new tweet replaces the previous one pinned.
I’ve heard about child themes in WordPress. What are they?
In WordPress, child themes are sub-themes that inherit the functionality, features, and style of their parent theme. A child theme will allow you to make changes to styles and functions without compromising the main theme. This allows for theme updates from the developer to be installed without breaking your customizations.
You need to have both the child and parent themes installed on your website in order to activate and use the child theme.
Can I build my own WordPress theme?
Yes. You can create your own custom theme for WordPress and you can even build, design, and publish your own theme without having to write any code. We would advise against this unless you have significant coding experience.
The best WordPress themes are fully customizable and so spending the time to build your own isn't really necessary.
How do I know which theme is the best for my website?
Most of the many WordPress themes out there are great-looking and are professionally designed. With this, it can be confusing to pick the proper theme as the options are overwhelming.
That is why simplicity is typically the best approach to take in this scenario. Opt for a theme that best represents the design you have in mind – while paying close attention to its responsiveness and speed. Listing requirements to better understand what is necessary and what is optional is a good starting point.
Should I go for a premium theme or the free theme?
We recommend always purchasing a premium theme if you've properly vetted it and decided it is the one you want. You can certainly start with downloading a free version to kick the tires but for the reasons of security and support alone, a premium theme is best.
With the cost of most premium themes being minimal, it is one of the best investments you can make in building a successful website.
Can I use the same theme as one I have seen on another WordPress site?
Yes, but it depends. You can find and use a theme you’ve seen on another website for your own project so long as it is not a custom-designed WordPress theme. Keep in mind, without some form of customization, your website is bound to look like others that have used the theme.
You can use the live WordPress theme customizer to make it more unique or simply use custom widgets and a few adjustments to make it stand out.
What are WordPress theme frameworks?
WordPress theme frameworks are highly optimized themes designed to be used as parent themes.
This is not intended for beginners – instead, advanced users and developers use these frameworks to create themes. These contain several code and speed optimizations.
Where can I Download WordPress Themes?
WordPress themes are available across the internet in both a free capacity and paid model. Below is a list of some of the most reputable sites for obtaining WordPress themes.
WordPress Theme Library
Best Themes for Business Websites Wrap Up
An important thing to know about websites is that the best WordPress theme that has cohesion with your overall offline brand can go a long way in determining if your online visitors will stay long enough to engage with your content or make a purchase.
It is a good idea to identify the multipurpose themes by acquainting yourself with the theme framework so you can get the most out of it. WordPress multipurpose themes reduce the need to install a lot of plugins keeping your website fast and secure.
So it doesn’t really matter whether your site was designed with a free version of a theme you found in the WordPress directory or whether it’s a premium, custom-designed theme. Your future online success is dependent on how you set the site up using the right WordPress theme to attract visitors and convert prospects.
Last Updated March 8, 2023
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