how to upload a WordPress theme to your blog

In my post, I show you step by step how to install WordPress themes. You can upload WordPress themes manually from a zip file directly to WordPress, you can also use an FTP client, such as Filezilla.

When I started blogging, it felt there was so much to learn about WordPress. The learning curve is tough in the beginning, but once you start, it becomes easier.

By the end of my post, you will be able to install WordPress themes without having to look at another tutorial.

Let’s get started.

Download your WordPress theme file

As an example, I am going to upload the OceanWP theme to my blog. To get the zip file, I head over to the theme’s homepage and download the file.

Here is the download page for the OceanWP theme.

OceanWP theme download

To get the zip file for this theme, click on the ‘Free Download’ link.

Once you have entered your details, the theme download link is emailed to you.

Download link

Go to your email, download the theme using the link in the email message.

Download OceanWP

The theme is a zip file.

Theme zip file

How to install themes from zip files

On your WordPress admin, hover your mouse over “Appearance’, then select ‘Themes’ from the menu.

Select themes from your WordPress dashboard

On the next page, click on the ‘Add New’ link.

Select add new

Then select ‘Upload Themes’.

Upload theme

Next, select browse to search for your downloaded theme file.

To upload directly to WordPress the file must be in zip format. Once you select your theme zip file, the file name will appear on the upload page.

Theme zip file name

To install the theme, click on the ‘Install Now’ link. Once your theme has uploaded, you get this confirmation message.

Theme installed successfully

From here you have three options, you can live preview the theme without activating the theme, you can activate the theme and make it live, or you can return to your installed themes page.

When I go back to my installed WordPress themes page, the OceanWP theme is on my list.

WordPress theme installed

To delete unused themes, check out my ‘How to delete WordPress themes completely‘post.

Here is a video tutorial of uploading a theme zip file to WordPress.

How to install WordPress themes from zip files video tutorial

How to upload WordPress themes to your blog using Filezilla

Filezilla is an FTP client if you would like to download Filezilla, check out my ‘How to download and install Filezilla’ post.

To get started you need to log in to your website using the ‘Site Manager’ from the ‘File’ tab. Once you have logged in, you will see your website files and folders on the right and your computer files and folders on the left.

On the right, open the ‘public_html’ folder.

Filezilla FTP client

Next, open ‘WP-Content’ and then ‘themes’. In this folder are the themes currently installed on your WordPress blog.

Installed themes folder

When you upload your themes through the WordPress admin, the file needs to be a zip format file. With an FTP, it has to be a normal file. Therefore, we need to extract our downloaded theme first before we can upload it using Filezilla.

How to extract WordPress theme zip files

Find your downloaded theme zip file on your computer, right-click to extract the files. Once completed, you will have one zip folder and one extracted folder.

Extracted theme file

Next, return to Filezilla and open the folder you saved your theme too. I saved OceanWP to my downloads folder.

Find your downloaded theme folder

To upload OceanWP, right-click on the theme folder and select ‘Upload’. Using Filezilla to upload themes is much slower than using WordPress.

After you click on ‘Upload’, the file transfer starts. The process of the upload is shown at the bottom of Filezilla.

Progress of theme upload

In the progress window, 529 files are queued to transfer with 12 already successfully transferred. Each folder and file is individually transferred, this takes time.

Transfer status

Once the transfer has completed, return to installed WordPress themes in your WordPress admin dashboard. The OceanWP theme is ready to use.

The theme is now installed on WordPress

How to upload a theme to WordPress using Filezilla video tutorial

Premium WordPress themes

If you are looking for a premium WordPress theme to make your blog stand out. Envato have an excellent selection of themes, they also have many premium themes on sale, to check out the latest offers, head over to (*Paid link)

Premium WordPress theme on sale


With my tutorial, you can upload themes to WordPress. I recommend using WordPress to upload, it is easier and faster than using an FTP client.

I also recommend you only have your current live theme plus the WordPress default theme installed on your blog. Unused themes take valuable space on your hosting account.

Removing unused WordPress themes can be done with just a couple of clicks. For a tutorial on how to delete unused WordPress themes, check out my step by step guide on how to delete themes.

Before you return to your WordPress blog to upload a theme, would you kindly spare one minute to leave me a comment?

Let me know if my post helped you, or drop me a comment to ask a question. I look forward to reading your comments.

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