There are 3 main ways to install your theme.


1. Browse Inbuilt Free Themes within WordPress

Go the themes section in Appearance > Themes

Dashboard - Themes

Click on Add New

Add Theme

Browse the list of themes in the WordPress depository. Click install to get the theme.

Add Theme 2

Remember to activate the theme to use it.


2. Upload Your Theme via WordPress (works for both Free and Premium themes)

When you purchase your premium theme outside of WordPress (e.g. Themeforest), the theme will be provided to you as a zip file for download.

Before you get excited about uploading the theme, first upzip the zip file. Often (not always), the premium theme provides a zip file that consists of several other files. The below shows my unzipped downloaded zip file.

Make sure you choose the correct zip file in my case.

Installing Theme 1

Go to Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload Theme

Choose the zip file and click Install Now

Installing Theme 4

Remember to activate the theme to use it.


3. Upload Your Theme Manually

In the event the theme file size is too large (as was in my case), uploading of the plugin within WordPress might fail. This last option is a little out of the way, as it requires you to log into your webhost’s site, but once you’ve done it once, you’ll get the hang of it.

I’m using Bluehost for my webhosting needs, and after logging in to the control panel, I clicked on File Manager.


Installing Theme 6


I navigated to the correct folder – public_html > wp-content > themes.

I then uploaded the theme zip file.

Installing Theme 7

Once the zip file is uploaded correctly, I extracted the contents.

Installing Theme 8

Remember to activate the installed theme in the WordPress admin.


Once your theme is installed and activated, it’s time to customize the look and feel of your website and its contents.

That’s it!

If you’re looking to set up your WordPress website or blog in the first place, you can follow these detailed steps here.

If you also want to check out some of my favorite WordPress themes for recommendations, it’s also on this huge post.