Upload and Activate the WordPress Theme

I will explain to you in this short article how to install a WordPress theme. It’s really easy and shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.

STEP #1:

When you are looking for a new WordPress theme, you have two options: Free and Premium WordPress themes. I am for the Premium theme because it came with a lot of benefits (cool features, good support), but if you’re out of budget, or simply don’t want to invest money in your WordPress site, you can choose a free theme.

For the premium themes, you can take a look at ThemeForest.

What is ThemeForest in WordPress?

ThemeForest is a marketplace for independent WordPress themes. This online marketplace is popular among designers, developers, and entrepreneurs because it contains thousands of original themes. They have literally a ton of quality WordPress themes, so you just have to make sure you’ll choose the right one for your website niche. Whether you want to build a blog, an e-commerce store, or just a personal website, Themeforest has something for you.

Where can I get WordPress themes for free?

For the free WordPress themes, just search on Google for free WordPress themes or similar phrases and look for a template that will fit your needs. Once you find a WordPress template that you like, preview it (check its live demo) to see if all is OK.

Imagine what it shall look like on your website (blog). Then click the download button or link and you should be downloading a .zip file.

You can also search from inside the new website, by following this path: Appearance -> Themes -> Press on “Add new” -> Use the search bar.

STEP #2:

Extract the .zip file on your PC and read the ReadMe document that is included within the template’s files (if any) for your reference and to know the license. The premium templates offer the benefit of DEMO import, so you can recreate sites like in the DEMO website of the theme.



Upload the archive.zip or the complete folder of your template to your WordPress installation – into the following folder: yourwebsite.com/wp-content/themes/

In short, you have 3 ways to do this:

  1. Login into the admin dashboard (yoursite.com/wp-admin/) and go to the menu in the left side -> Appearance -> Themes -> Press on “Add new” -> Press on “Upload theme” -> Choose file (you can also just drag & drop the archive.zip here) -> Install Now.
  2. Import via Files Manager from cPanel. To do it, follow this path: Login to cPanel -> File Manager -> Public HTML -> WP Content -> Themes. Don’t forget: After you upload the archive.zip, extract the folder into that path, but in a specific folder.
  3. Upload the files via FTP using an FTP client. Uploading files via a file manager would take a too long time and would be quite difficult as you would have to upload the files file by file. So if your web hosting provider supports FTP, it’s worth using it.

Note: Point 1 is the safest way. Use 2 or 3 only if you know what to do. If you delete something from there, you will crash the site.
Hint: Did you know that you can access cPanel directly, without login into the hosting panel? Just use this: yoursite.com:2083 (insert “:2083” just after the URL). Insert the login credentials and that’s it: You are into the cPanel.


STEP #4:

Now that the files are uploaded, you just need to activate the template. To activate it simply login to your WordPress installation on yourwebsite.com/wp-login.php and go to Appearance > Themes and just select the new theme. Click “Activate”. Now when you refresh your website, it should load with the new WordPress theme.

Because point 1 from the Step 3 is safer, I will re-explain in detail, using the step 3 point 1 method.


The screenshots used in this tutorial were taken from WordPress version 5.8.2. WordPress is constantly releasing new versions of its software, but the core functionality and look and feel of WordPress do not change much over time.

This tutorial is still extremely accurate and effective for most other versions of WordPress, but you might notice small differences in layout and configurations or that our screenshots do not match yours exactly. This is not a problem. The vast majority of the core functionality is the same, and you should be able to follow along just fine even if the screenshots occasionally look slightly different.

Once you log in, here’s what your Admin Dashboard should look like:

wp dash 1
wp dash 1

There are lots of settings and it might look daunting at first. But if you follow the step-by-step process we’re about to walk through, you should be very comfortable with WordPress by the end. After you’ve gained some confidence, you can probably go in and make some other miscellaneous tweaks on your own.

activate theme
activate theme

– Important Note –

Always remember, if you’re not confident in what you’re doing, don’t touch anything. It is better to leave something alone or ask someone knowledgeable for help than risk crashing your site or breaking something! I highly recommend setting up a separate website just for testing unfamiliar functionality such as code tweaks or new plugins or themes. Use a domain name you don’t care about and be ready to Un-install and then Re-install WordPress if something goes wrong.

The first step to activating our custom theme is to navigate to the ‘Themes’ page. On the left-hand navigation bar, click on ‘Appearance’, and then click on ‘Themes’. You should see the two themes that came pre-installed with WordPress, plus the custom theme you uploaded with the File Manager.

At the time of this writing, the custom theme we provided should be labeled The Voux. Keep in mind, the custom theme we provided to you previously in the section describing Upload a WordPress Theme has been customized and optimized for this tutorial.

– Important Note –

For the rest of this tutorial, we’ll assume you are using the customized version of The Voux theme. The Voux theme is easy to work with and is a good introduction to working with themes.

Please note that you are by no means limited to only using The Voux Theme. Our customized version of this theme has been tried and tested and has been customized for use with this tutorial – in particular, making it super-easy to install your Amazon Affiliate code – but you can certainly use any one of the thousands of free WordPress themes available on the Internet.

Keep in mind, many of the themes available for free on the web are old or buggy, or kludgy. This is why we have provided our customized version of the Voux theme which has been tried and tested and will enable you to get up and running in the fastest and most efficient way possible.

We encourage you to work your way through this entire tutorial before exploring other themes. In particular, you should make sure and get through our chapter titled ‘Working With Other Themes’ to see what your other theme options are before exploring other themes. But you are certainly free to explore other themes if you would like to further customize the layout of your site. If, after completing this tutorial, you would still like to look for other themes, then the best place for you to search is at:


Once you download any new themes, just follow the same instructions that we provided previously to install our custom version of the Voux theme. i.e. download the ZIP files, upload and unzip them to your WordPress themes folder, and then activate them in your WordPress administration control panel. Keep in mind, the downside is that you’ll likely need to do some customization to make the new WordPress themes work for you, and if you’re not technical, that might be difficult.

Click ‘Activate’ to activate the Voux theme. Refresh the homepage, and you should see a new layout that looks something like this. If you want to play around a little bit, you can try activating any other themes you may have installed to see what they look like. Make sure you come back to the Voux theme though before proceeding any further since that is the theme we’re going to work on within the remainder of this tutorial.

The Voux theme is simple, powerful, and fast. If your site looks like the above, then Congratulations! You’ve followed the directions well and are almost to the promised land of domain development. We have a few more steps, but we’re almost there.

Finally, if you need some customization for your theme, you can hire a WordPress designer to either edit a WordPress theme for you or make a completely new custom WordPress themes design for your needs.


This site will teach you how to build a WordPress website for beginners. We will cover everything from installing WordPress to adding pages, posts, and images to your site. You will learn how to customize your site with themes and plugins, as well as how to market your site online.

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