How to Install WordPress theme? 12 best free and premium WordPressthemes

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Installing the WordPress theme is a great idea for improving the appearance of your WordPress website.  

By installing a new theme on your WordPress website, a lot of changes could be made on various design elements of your pages or blog posts.

if you are not familiar with WordPress, you can read WordPress tutorial for beginners article.

1. What are the themes in WordPress?

WordPress theme is a β€œZIP folder” containing a group of files written by β€œPHP language” including 

  • Page templates 
  • Images 
  • CSS style sheets
  • Java scripts

These files work together to change the layout, color, font, and other elements related to the appearance of all pages and posts in your website. 

So, if you want to create an astonishing and impressive website, choosing and installing a professional WordPress theme that suits your requirements is a crucial task.  

As finding and installing a new theme on WordPress websites could be confusing for beginners who decide to build their WordPress website on their own, we provide a complete guide to help you do your task like an expert. 

So, let’s put first things first and start by finding a new effective theme for your website. 

2. Which is the best theme for WordPress?

Considering the fact that you must install just one theme for your website, choosing the best WordPress theme among more than 10,000 available options is really frustrating. 

Actually, it does not make sense to introduce simply one theme as the best one for WordPress websites. The best way to find and install the most useful and appropriate theme that suits your needs is considering the following points:

  • What is the main color you want to use for branding and marketing?
  • Which layout is most useful for your website?
  • Do you prefer Free or Premium themes? 
  • Which page builder are you using in your website and is it compatible with the theme you choose?
  • What are your expectations about the functionality of a WordPress theme?

Despite these important questions that you have to find their answer before installing a theme on your website, the most important concern about choosing an appropriate theme is the purpose of your website for example business, blog or ecommerce. So, it is better to get familiar with the most popular themes available for each purpose.

3.What is the best WordPress theme for business, Blog, online shop? 

There are some famous and productive themes which are so popular among others. If you have no idea about what is the best theme for your website, you can choose one of them according to the specifications we are going to share with you.

1. Astra

β€œAstra” is one of the most powerful themes for business websites with a lot of amazing features such as:

Astra WordPress theme demo page
  • Providing default layout and starter options for customization 
  • Being compatible with β€œWordPress drag and drop builders”
  • Free to use the most useful features with the ability to pay for a premium version
  • Easy to install directly from β€œWordPress directory”

2. Divi

β€œDivi” is another WordPress theme with more than 100 templates to design pages of the business websites.

Divi WordPress theme demo page

The most popular advantages of installing β€œDivi theme” are:

  • Easy customization of colors, contents, layout, etc.
  • Various elements such as sign up, adding Email, …
  • Full customization from fronted without having knowledge about codes.
  • Direct installation from β€œWordPress theme directory”

3. OceanWP

β€œOceanWP” is a good option when you are building a modern business website. The below advantages made this theme so popular:

OceanWP theme demo page
  • Offering different types of templates
  • Providing a powerful addon of demo content importer
  • Supporting all essential features for designing a business website
  • Free installation without any need to pay for premium version

4. Ultra

β€œUltra” is the most useful WordPress theme for large companies that need a professional and flexible website.

Ultra WordPress theme demo page

It can improve the appearance of your website by offering the following features:

  • Several kinds of ready to use templates
  • Various types of widgets and sidebars
  • Different models of navigation menus
  • A powerful page builder
  • Simple installation

5. Avada

“Avada” is the best seller and multi-purpose theme of WordPress with a lot of advantages that makes it ideal for building any website specially business ones, including:

Avada WordPress theme demo page
  • Ready make templates 
  • Different kinds of sliders such as Revolution slider or FlexSlider2
  • Compatible with almost all of WordPress plugins such as Woocommerce, Elementor, Contact Form 7

6. The7

The7 is another famous multi-purpose theme of WordPress which is completely responsive. There are some of the most important features of this theme:

the7 theme demo page
  • Various Header, Homepage layout and Skins 
  • Compatible with WordPress page builder such as Visual Composer
  • Full support from the developer team (Dream-Theme) after installation

The best free WordPress themes for blogs

1. Neve

β€œNeve” is a practical theme for all kinds of WordPress websites. However, the following features makes it more popular for building a blog:

Neve theme demo page
  • Optimizer for all screens such as mobiles
  • Working with all popular page builders
  • A lot of suitable layouts and structures for designing your blog pages and posts

2. Poseidon

β€œPoseidon” is a perfect WordPress theme for blogs especially when they need to use the below features on their contents:

Install WordPress theme, Neve from WordPress repository
  • Crisp and captivating visuals
  • Full screen image carousel
  • Offset by plenty of negative space
  • Mixed-content including posts and pictures together

3. Hemingway

β€œHemingway” is the simplest theme for WordPress blogs as it has a clean two-column design with a simple but attractive layout offering the below advantages:

Install WordPress theme Hemingway from WordPress repository
  • Full-width header image with scrolling effect
  • Customization options for designing complex contents in posts
  • Installation of the β€œFree version” with full support and no need for purchasing premium version

4. Olsen Light

 β€œOlsen Light” is a great WordPress theme for your blog because it can offer you the most useful customization options required for designing an impressive website such as:

Olsen light WordPress theme
  • Integrating with numerous widgets
  • Providing a lot of customization features
  • Offering astonishing ready to use templates for post pages
  • Regular updates for best performance after installation on WordPress websitesΒ 

5. Blogger Diary

Blogger Diary demo page

The Blogger Diary is a charming WordPress theme designed for those who are passionate about blogging and expressing their stories to their readers in an ideal environment.

  • Offers various visually appealing canvases for you to express your stories, creative thoughts, and adventures.
  • Provides optimal reading experience for your users
  • Allows users to easily personalize their web-diary to meet their expectations.
  •  Can be integrated with plugins and page builders

When you finally decide which WordPress theme is the best for the purpose of your website, it’s time to install it.

Best Free WordPress Themes for eCommerce websites

1. Sydney

Sydney theme demo page

“Sydney” is an excellent WordPress theme with an impressive design if you need to integrate your website with ecommerce plugins such as β€œWooCommerce” to build an online store.

By installing this theme on your eCommerce website, you are able to:

  • Use different page builders such as Elementor to design your website
  • Create your Web pages and product pages by various types of default layouts and one click import demos
  • Make a user-friendly store and help your customers enjoy purchasing from your online shopping website

2. Leto

β€œLeto” is a free and modern WordPress theme with a lot of amazing tools for improving the performance and appearance of an ecommerce website.

Leto WordPress theme demo page

The key features of this astonishing theme include:

  • Large header image to show off promotions for customers
  • Full compatibility with β€œWooCommerce” and other plugins essential for an online stores
  • Providing so many options for designing web pages by changing colors, fonts, layouts, …
  • A lot of different widget options for customizing header and footer
  • Providing a built-in translation tool 

3. TheShop

β€œTheShop” is another stylish WordPress theme for eCommerce websites which is helpful for creating the most trustable online stores with a lot of features such as:

Theshop theme demo page
  • Image sliders and product carousel
  • A customer friendly navigation menu including product categories
  • Customization options for changing the color and font of elements
  • Integration tools for showing blog posts and products at the home page

4. Flatsome

Flatsome as a multipurpose and responsive WordPress theme can provide you the most essential tools for improving the appearance and functionality of your eCommerce website such as:

Flatsome theme demo page
  • Different premade home pages
  • Safety and reliability
  • Built in page builder called UX page with a lot of amazing tools


Xstore is now installed on more than 6000 eCommerce websites created based on WordPress. Such popularity is due to:

Xstore theme demo page
  • Offering Free items for designing web pages
  • Providing a lot of responsive templates compatible with Mobile, Tablet or Desktop
  • Fully compatible with Woocommerce and other essential plugins 

How to install your desired WordPress theme?

Installing themes just as installation of the plugins is possible either directly from β€œWordPress theme directory” or via β€œUpload” method.

Choosing the best method for installing WordPress themes depends on how you search or find it. If you look for a theme in β€œWordPress directory”, the installation process is as easy as drinking a cup of tea. 

However, if you find it from a β€œMarketplace” or download it from a β€œDeveloper website”, you need to install the β€œZIP file” via β€œUpload” method.

How to Install a WordPress Theme from WordPress Theme Directory?

To install a WordPress theme from β€œWordPress Theme Directory”, you have to find your preferred theme first.

To do this, you can navigate to β€œWordPress theme repository” and search your theme.

Although this is a simple and easy way for finding and installing a new WordPress theme, you have just access to the free themes in this directory.

So, if you prefer to use a premium theme with special features, it’s recommended to find them in a β€œMarketplace or developer website”.

If you could find a theme with special features that suit your needs in the β€œWordPress Theme Repository”, you can install it by following guide:

  • Login to your β€œWordPress Admin Panel”
  • Go to WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes 
  • Click on β€œAdd New” button
install WordPress theme from Add new theme menu in WordPress
  • Choose one of the options: featured themes, popular themes, or latest themes or search a theme according to some features such as colors, layout, etc.
Search theme by feature filter
  • Type a name in the β€œSearch box” to see a list of relevant themes
  • Find your preferred theme among the displayed list by reviewing the β€œPreview image or More info”.
  • Click on β€œDownload” button of your preferred theme
Install WordPress theme from WP dashboard
  • Wait a few minutes for WordPress to load the theme on your website
  • Click on β€œActivate” button under the successful installation massage 

How to Install a WordPress Theme manually from a ZIP File?

There is no difference between installation of a β€œZIP file” of free or premium WordPress theme downloaded from other websites, you need to install them via β€œUpload” method as below:

  • Download the β€œZIP file” of WordPress theme and save it on your device
  • It is recommended to keep a back up of your website before going further
  • Log in to β€œWordPress Admin Panel”
  • Navigate to WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes
  • Click on β€œAdd New” button
  • Press on β€œUpload Theme” button
upload theme ZIP file from WordPress dashboard
  • Select the β€œzip file” from your device by clicking on β€œChoose File”
  • Press β€œInstall Now”
  • Wait for WordPress to upload the theme on your website.
  • Press β€œActivate” to run the theme on WordPress website
activate theme after upload theme

How to Update Your WordPress Theme?

The methods for updating your WordPress theme same as installing a new one depends on how you have access to the update file.

Themes with automatic updates 

Updating all themes downloaded from β€œWordPress repository” or those designed by developers with automatic update is simply possible via β€œWordPress Dashboard”.

Actually, if there is an update available for your theme, a notification will display on WordPress as shown below:

Notification bar when theme need update

And your theme will be updated by going to β€œUpdates” page and following the below steps to easily install the latest version of WordPress theme on your website:

  • Login to your β€œWordPress Dashboard” of Admin Area
  • Open β€œUpdates” page
  • Mark the theme you need to update
  • Click on β€œUpdate Themes” button
update themes from wordpress dashboard

Update theme from a ZIP file

To update those themes without automatic update that you have purchased or downloaded their β€œZIP file” from other β€œMarketplaces or developer websites”, you need to follow more steps which can make it more complicated.

We recommend you to put your website on β€œMaintenance mode” by using a “Maintenance mode plugin” before starting updating a theme manually to prevent visitors from seeing your website if anything goes wrong after updating your theme.

It is also a good idea if you keep a backup of your website just in case.

After activating the maintenance mode, you need to:

  • Login to β€œWordPress Admin area” 
  • Go to WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes 
  • β€œActivate” the latest WordPress default theme
  • Click on the theme that you want to upload 
  • Press β€œDelete” button and confirm it
  • Purchase the latest version of your theme from β€œMarketplace or developer website”
  • Download β€œZIP file” and install the latest version of WordPress theme as we mentioned on β€œHow to Install a WordPress Theme manually from a ZIP File” before.
  • Check if everything looks good then deactivate the maintenance mode

How to use Custom Theme Options Panel to Configure Theme?

After installation of a new WordPress theme, you are able to customize it according to your taste. Customization of a theme is possible from the β€œThemes Options” or β€œCustomize” section under the β€œAppearance” tab of β€œWordPress Dashboard”.

Advanced theme options

Theme options panel

In the theme option panel, you can customize:

  • Layouts and the relevant options
  • Colors, fonts, custom logo, etc.
  • General setup for your homepage
  • Social media links such as Twitter or Facebook 
  • Change some settings 

These options can differ from one theme to another, so the best way to discover configuration options is to try some of them and observe how they can change the appearance of your website.

Customize panel

Most of the WordPress themes will add a lot of customization options to the β€œCustomize” panel to allow you to configure the appearance and functionality of them as you wish.

WordPress theme customizer

In this new panel, you have access to some configuration options such as β€œHeaders, Menus, Widgets, Color, Fonts” and so on. There is no limitation for themes to add extra options to this customization panel. However, it depends on the theme developer to decide about the items displayed to you for editing the configuration of your WordPress theme.

There are also some other methods for customization of a WordPress theme after installation including:

  • Using a framework or one of the available child themes 
  • Editing the code of a third-party theme by creating a child theme
  • Editing the theme code directly
  • Using page editors 
  • Using CSS for making small changes in the style, colors or fonts

What to do when WordPress theme updates go wrong?

Installing a new version of your theme or updating can put your website at risk and cause some problems with the appearance or functionality of your website. That’s why we recommend you to do the below actions before installing a new theme or updating the old version:

  • Keep a backup of your website 
  • Put your website on maintenance mode

In this way, you can update your theme safely and go back to the previous version if the new theme causes any conflicts on your website.

However, most of the times you can solve the problem by using one of the below recommendations:

Deactivate the problematic plugins

Sometimes there is a conflict between one or more plugins and the new theme you have installed or updated. The best way to solve the problem is to deactivate that plugin and find an alternative to be replaced. 

If you don’t know which plugins have conflict with your updated theme, you need to deactivate them one by one to find the problem.

Wordpress plugin page

Contact with a Support team 

If there are a lot of problems after updating your WordPress theme, you can contact the support team and ask them to fix it for your website. To contact the support team, the below suggestion may work:

  • Ask a question in WordPress Support Forum if you have downloaded the theme from β€œWordPress respiratory”.
  • Refer to the third-party website that you have downloaded your theme from there and send a ticket to their support team.
  • Send an email to the developer support team if you purchased a premium theme.

Hire a professional web designer 

Hiring a professional web designer could be a good idea to fix all of your problems after updating a WordPress theme. However, it may cost you a bit more. 

We suggest you look for a freelancer who can fix the problem of your website with the best price. It is not difficult to find some of them by searching on google.

It is also important to check their experiences and make sure that they are really professional in doing their tasks.


Installing a WordPress theme is essential when you want to create a website. There are plenty of themes including free or premium ones which have different layout, functionality and customization options available for you to improve the appearance of your website by choosing one of them.

As installing a new theme can change every element displayed on your website and play a crucial role in attracting visitors or customers for your website, we provide you a complete guide to help you find and install the most appropriate for your website.

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