how to upload a WordPress theme to your blog

How do I manually install a WordPress theme?

How do I manually install a WordPress theme? To upload a theme from your WordPress admin you go into ‘Appearances’ and then ‘Themes’ from your WordPress Admin menu. On the theme page click on ‘Add New’ and then ‘Upload Theme’. Click on ‘Browse’ to find your theme file and click install. After a few seconds, your new theme will be ready to use. You can also upload themes via an FTP client. Log into your FTP client and find the root directory of your website. Open the ‘Content’ folder and then open the ‘Themes’ folder and upload your files to this folder. Your new theme is now ready to use.

Let’s get started on uploading your new theme to your WordPress blog.

Download your WordPress theme

To get started, you need the files of your WordPress theme. I am going to download a very popular free WordPress theme. This theme is OceanWP.

Here is the download page for the OceanWP theme.

OceanWP download page

To get the files for this theme I just need to click on the blue ‘Free Download’ link. They ask you for your name and email address to get this theme.

Once you have entered those details the theme will be emailed to the email address you entered.

How to download the OceanWP theme

Go to your email and you will find the download link to the theme files in the email message.

Download link for OceanWP WordPress theme

After you click on the download link you can download the theme files. Click on ‘OK’.

The file you download is a zip file. Only zip files can be uploaded to your WordPress admin.

How to upload a WordPress theme to your WordPress blog in your WordPress admin

We have our theme file saved to our computer. Now we go to our WordPress admin dashboard and find ‘Appearance’ in our main menu on the left. Hover your mouse over ‘Appearance’ and select ‘Themes’ from the popup menu.

Like this.

How to upload a WordPress theme to your blog

Once you are on the theme page. Click on the ‘Add New’ link on the top.

How to upload a WordPress theme to your blog

On the next page. Click on the ‘Upload Themes’ link on the top.

How to upload a WordPress theme to your blog

After you click on ‘Upload Themes’. You get this message.

Uploading a theme to WordPress

The theme you upload must be in a zip format. Otherwise, you can’t upload your theme. The OceanWP file I downloaded is a zip format theme file.

To upload your file, click on the ‘Browse’ link, find your file and click on ‘open’.

Once you have uploaded your file. The file name will appear next to ‘Browse’.

Like this.

Uploading a zip file to WordPress

From here, click on the ‘Install Now’ link.

When your upload has completed you will see this message.

Zip file successfully uploaded message

From here you have three options to choose from. You can view a live preview of this theme on your blog, you can activate the theme and make it live, or you can return to your installed theme page.

When I go back to my installed WordPress themes page you can see my new theme ready to use.

Installed WordPress themes on your blog

If you have too many installed themes and want to delete some. Check out my post on ‘How to delete WordPress themes completely‘.

How to upload a theme to WordPress video tutorial

How to upload WordPress themes to your blog using an FTP client

I use Filezilla as my FTP client. Therefore, my screenshots will show the process of using Filezilla.

If you would like to download Filezilla, here is Filezilla’s download page. Filezilla is free to use.

Filezilla download page

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.

I have my downloaded folder open on the left. On the right, we need to open the ‘Public_HTML’ folder.

How to upload a WordPress theme to your blog using Filezilla

Once you open ‘Public_HTML’ you then open ‘WP-Content’ and then ‘themes’. My themes folder looks like this.

As you can see I don’t have the OceanWP theme uploaded yet on this website.

When you upload your themes through WordPress the file needs to be a zip format file. With FTP it has to be a normal file.

Therefore, we need to extract our downloaded theme first before we can upload it here.

How to extract your WordPress theme zip file

Find your theme zip file. I have mine in my download folder. Once you find your folder, right-click on the folder and select ‘Extract.’

Now I have a zip folder and a normal folder of OceanWP.

Zip format folder and extracted folder

When I go back to my FTP client and click on the download folder. I will see both formats in the window on the left.

Like this.

How to upload a WordPress theme to your blog using Filezilla

Uploading your theme files using Filezilla

To upload OceanWP to my website I right click on the theme folder and select ‘Upload’.

Uploading a theme using an FTP client is slow. The better way to do it is through your WordPress admin dashboard.

After you click on ‘Upload’ the file transfer will start. You can monitor the progress through the bottom window.

Monitoring file transfer in Filezilla

You can see in the bottom window that 329 files are queued to transfer with 12 already successfully transferred.

Once the transfer has completed, go back to your installed WordPress themes in your WordPress admin dashboard.

Now I have OceanWP ready to use in my theme library.

How to upload a theme to WordPress using Filezilla video tutorial

Premium WordPress themes on sale

If you are looking for a premium WordPress theme to make your blog stand out. Then there are some great premium themes from Envato that are currently on sale. (This an affiliate link.)

You will find some very good premium themes with large discounts.

Discounted premium themes from Envato


Changing your theme in WordPress is super easy. I have shown you two ways you can upload one to WordPress.

The best and quickest way to upload a WordPress theme to your blog is using the upload feature in your WordPress theme library. You just have to make sure the file is a zip format file. If it isn’t, you can’t upload it to WordPress.

You can use an FTP client, like Filezilla, to upload WordPress themes to your blog. This method is much slower than using the upload feature in WordPress.

I would suggest that you only have a couple of installed themes available to use. Each unused theme you have saved will take up precious space on your server.


What method do you use to upload theme to your WordPress blog?

Do you just use the free themes in your WordPress library or do you buy premium themes?

Have you ever used an FTP client to upload a WordPress theme to your blog?

I look forward to reading your comments.

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