How to Buy and Install a WordPress Theme: step by step tutorial

Want to buy and install a good WordPress theme? And you need a high-quality design to build a good blog or website? So, keep reading, I’ll show you how to find a good theme and install it for WordPress.

Installing WordPress themes is not a hard job if you follow my step-by-step tutorial. But first, we all know that only premium themes can make your site load faster, and help search engines to crawl your pages and index them better.

When beginners want to create their own blogs, they choose WordPress as the best blogging and CMS. However, installing WordPress and the theme is not their preferred task if they’re not familiar with terms like PHP, Database, ZIP files, and FTP.

So, I’ll make things easy to understand, and you will be able to learn how to buy a good theme for your WordPress site, and, most importantly, how to install that theme the right way without errors. Later, I’ll give you more tips, and things to do to optimize your blog and make loads faster than the others.

Buying your WordPress theme

It’s not easy to find the perfect theme that will follow your niche and make your site load quickly. And, of course, it’s better if you find a theme with more features, that’s cheap, or at least with a price in your budget.

By default, WordPress offers free themes to install and use, and that’s just to have a blog that works and to show you how you can blog and so on.

However, these free themes include basic elements, and you will find lots of problems with customizations, search engine optimizations, and much more. So, buying a premium WordPress theme is the only way to create a professional blog or website that makes people want to visit it again and bookmark it.

When you want a high-quality theme, you should think about the company and the designer behind it. That’s why you need a trusted source with thousands, if not, millions, of customers. That way, you make sure that the company that sells the theme is secure and trusted.

That means you will get lifetime updates with exclusive customer support, and even, the forum helps in the majority of cases, with lots of video tutorials and detailed help.

I’ve used the majority of the well-known companies that sell WordPress themes, but I only recommend the ones below, simply because I’ve got the greatest products from them. Furthermore, they have real and fast customer support you need.

1. StudioPress

This is the largest premium WordPress themes company that built Genesis child themes that are known for their speed, SEO optimization, cleanest code, and premium design quality. You can browse all their other themes. Their themes come with the Genesis framework and a child theme, the total theme price is $99 on average.

2. Template Monster

It’s not a secret that this is the oldest and most trusted place to find quality themes and templates. The marketplace sells everything you need for any type of software or application.

They offer optimized themes for WordPress sites, and you will get super fast layouts. There are thousands of theme reviews with every product you see here, so you get the feedback that you need.

3. ThemeForest

This is the largest theme, plugins, templates, and web design marketplace, with over 2 million registered members and thousands of designers and companies. It’s like the heaven of themes, especially for WordPress users. The theme prices range from $25 to $60, and even more, for other special licenses.

4. MyThemeShop

This is a company owned by WordPress coders and experts. They are building the best themes, and I’ve never seen a company that takes the site loading time as a priority like what they are doing. Their themes come professional, clean, and load fast.

These are my personal recommended places to find a high-quality theme for your WordPress site.

What do you need to buy a WordPress theme?

You need some money, of course, and a payment method. The majority of the companies and marketplaces accept credit cards and PayPal. If you don’t have one of these options, you can contact the company’s customer support for alternative options, they will assist you with that.

I’ve created a step-by-step tutorial to install a WordPress theme, and you can take a look. However, I’ll add the manual installation in this post, and I’ll show you a quick video installation also with cPanel, and FTP to make things easy to understand for you.

WordPress theme installation from the dashboard

I will start the guide with the easiest method that you can use from your WordPress dashboard. Newbies ask all the time how to install a WordPress theme from zip files, and you need to understand that you can only upload that file type from your admin area.

So, if you have a RAR file, for example, extract it on your desktop, then compress it again to a ZIP file using your best software. I recommend ”WinRar” simply because it’s the most popular and the greatest one for Windows. For Mac computers, use “RAR extractor free”.

I will show you how to install a WordPress theme from ThemeForest. It’s a popular marketplace, and their themes come with lots of files and documentation. So, you need to use the exact theme file and not the others. Take a look at the below example of the Sahifa theme, which is a popular product.

When you buy the theme, you will get your copy in an RAR file, but luckily, in that parent folder, you will find the ZIP file that you need to upload.

How to Buy and Install a WordPress Theme

You need to upload that file to your WordPress theme directory. To do that, log into your admin area, click on “Appearance”, then, “Themes”, and click on “add new”. The theme will take a few seconds to upload, then, you need to click the “activate” link when the theme completes the upload, as the following video demonstrates.

That’s the way to upload a new theme to WordPress and install it in a zip file. If you have a large file size, then, this won’t work for you, and you will get error messages such as “WordPress theme install failed” or “WordPress theme. Are you sure you want to do this? Please try again”.

These errors are a result of the maximum file upload size in the WordPress dashboard. Or the maximum PHP execution time that can exceed the limit of 30 or 60 seconds for the majority of web hosting services. The solution is to upload the theme using FTP, and activate it from your dashboard; let’s start.

Installing a WordPress theme manually using FTP

This is the case where you have a large theme file size, or you can’t install your theme from the dashboard for any other reason. I’ll take an example of the Modernize WordPress theme from ThemeForest, the total file size is 35 MB, and it’s an RAR file.

So, we need to upload the exact theme folder only, after compressing it in a ZIP format. By default, this theme doesn’t have a zipped file, you can upload the extracted files, with Filezilla, but that will take lots of time.

Luckily, the cPanel offers a file manager, which is a good management tool for your Blog files. It forwards your uploaded files to their FTP, so, no matter if the file size is small or large, it will be uploaded anyway.

Before uploading your theme from cPanel, you need to create a zip version. Just extract the parent folder, look for the theme that you want, and exclude the other files, such as the PSD, documentation, and others.

Manually Install WordPress Theme

When you have the extracted files, you can select them. Then, right-click and select “Add to Archive”, you will get options, just check “zip” and click “OK”, as the next screenshot for beginners who have never compressed files before.

Installing WordPress theme from ZIP file

The theme file compression will begin, and you will get your file ready in a few seconds. The file will end with “.ZIP,” and that’s what you need.

Now that you have the WordPress theme file, you can upload it to your WordPress directory and extract it there. So, log in to your cPanel and click the “file manager” icon. Next, open the directory “wp-content”, and open the sub-folder called “themes”.

Now, you can click the “upload” button at the top left of the page, and a new window will be opened. Select the file from your computer, and the upload will begin. Wait some minutes if you have a slow connection, then, refresh the page, and you will see your file added there.

It’s just a zip file, and you need to extract it by selecting the file and clicking the “extract” button at the top right of the page. When the file was extracted, come back to your WordPress dashboard, click “Themes” under “Appearance”, and you will see your theme installed, but not active yet.

What you have to do is just to click the”activate” button, and that’s it. You have just manually uploaded your WordPress theme through the File Manager and with an FTP connection.

Watch the following video that will show you how to install a WordPress theme from cPanel, after uploading it through FTP.

Don’t forget to come back to the WordPress dashboard to activate your manually installed theme. You will find it among the other themes, and you can just hover over that theme. Then, you will see the activation button there, click on it, and it’s done.

How to install a WordPress child theme

The WordPress child theme installation is exactly the same as any other theme. The only difference is that you need to install the framework or the parent theme before installing the child. In StudioPress themes, for example, you get the Genesis theme framework and the child theme with it.

So, you need to install Genesis first, exactly as in the above examples. Then, install the child theme and activate it.

If you install the child theme first, WordPress will ask you to add the parent theme in order to activate your theme. That is it with WordPress theme installation, no hard things to do. It’s all about some patience with this tutorial if you’ve just started with WordPress and blogging.

If you can’t use the cPanel, you can use a regular FTP client such as Filezilla. It’s the same steps, but you can’t upload compressed files if you’re not an advanced user of Filezilla. So, if you should use Filezilla or any other software, make sure to upload regular files after extracting them.

Follow the above steps and just use your FTP client instead of the cPanel.

I hope you get a clear idea of buying and installing WordPress themes. If you have a question or can’t install your theme for any reason, you can add your comment, or contact me directly, and I’ll be happy to help.

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About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

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