There are a couple of different ways that you can add a new theme to your WordPress site. One is through the Themes tab in the WordPress dashboard, where you can search through a large selection of theme options, and simply click on one to install it.
Another way to apply a theme in WordPress is to find and/or purchase one from a third party, then download that theme to your computer and upload it to your site. Our guide below is going to focus on this section option and show you how to apply a downloaded theme in WordPress.
How to Install a Downloaded Theme in WordPress
The steps in this article were performed on a self-hosted WordPress site (not one using WordPress.com) in the 5.1 version of WordPress. This guide assumes that you have already downloaded the theme that you want to apply.
Note that this upload process requires you to have the theme in the zip file that it was downloaded in. Additionally, if you are applying the theme to an existing site, then it’s important to note that there are going to be some quirks in this transition.
Different themes have different layouts, use different widgets, have different menu names and locations, etc. You are going to need to do a fair amount of editing after making this theme change, so don’t be shocked when you open your site after installing the new theme and things look very different.
Step 1: Sign into the admin section of your WordPress site. This can be found at (your domain name).com/wp-admin.
Step 2: Hover over the Appearance section in the left column, then choose the Themes option.
Step 3: Click the Add New button at the top of the window.
Step 4: Click the Upload Theme button.
Step 5: Click the Choose File button, browse to the zip file and select it, then click the Open button.
Step 6: Click the Install Now button.
Step 7: Select the Activate option after the theme has installed, assuming that you are ready to switch to the new theme.
If you aren’t ready to make the switch, you can always return to the Themes page when you are ready, then hover over the installed theme and choose the Activate option.