One of the nicest new features in WordPress 2.7 for self-hosted sites is the ability to install WordPress plugins directly from within the admin console – no more having to FTP files around (note that this only works with plugins that are listed in the WordPress plugins list – for others that aren’t in the list you still have to use the old method).
No such luck with WordPress Themes however; for self-hosted sites you still have to manually upload the files to your hosting account before you can activate them, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see this change in a future release – watch this space.
In this tutorial I’ll walk you through the steps to find and install a new Theme using the cPanel File Manager:
- Find a new Theme
- Download the Theme to your computer
- Upload the Theme to your hosting account
- Unzip the Theme
- Activate the Theme
One of the many great things about WordPress is the vast array of free and premium themes that are available to style your site how you like – particularly if you’re graphically challenged like me! The obvious place to start your search for a new theme is the WordPress Theme Directory; if you don’t find anything to your liking, there are also plenty of other options available. For instance the other day I came across the BuckMaker site which has some eyecatching free themes.
Most places will allow you to preview what different themes look like to help you decide if they’re right for your site; it’s worth checking these out before you continue or you could find yourself uploading multiple different themes to your hosting account before you settle on one.
Once you’ve found a theme you like, simply click the download link and save it to your computer – all the theme files should come bundled in a single zip file. Simple.
The next step is to upload the zip file to your hosting account. You could use a program like FileZilla to FTP the files, but for the sake of this tutorial I’ll be using the cPanel File Manager. So you’ll need to log into your cPanel account, then open the File Manager by clicking on the icon (pictured). The resulting window resembles your operating system file manager: a list of folders on the left, with the selected folder’s files displayed on the right.
- navigate to your
/wp-content/themesfolder (as shown)
- click the Upload button, then navigate to the zip file you downloaded in the previous step. After a brief pause (depending on the speed of your internet connection), a copy of the file should show up in your File Manager.
Still in the File Manager window, select the zip file you’ve just uploaded, then click the Extract button. This unpacks all the theme’s files from the zip file onto the file system, ready to use.
The final step is to go to the Appearance > Themes section of your WordPress admin console – you should now see the new Theme available for selection alongside any others that were there to start with. Selecting the theme gives you the opportunity to preview it showing your own content, but without affecting the way visitors see your site. At this point you can either Activate the new theme (top right-hand corner) or back out (top left-hand corner).
And that’s it. It’s a slightly long-winded process, but taking into account that you most likely won’t be changing your theme very often, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not too arduous!