How to install a free WordPress theme
How to install a free WordPress theme

When you’re creating a new website, you often have to try out different themes to see which one works best for you. A theme that is geared towards displaying an online shop may have different features than a theme that is geared for news sites.

If you pay for a theme, then you feel committed to using that theme. But if you decide to go with free, you can try out as many themes as you like until you find a good fit.

The first step is to installing a free WordPress theme is to go to the Themes area, under the Appearances section (in WP’s admin area, of course).

If your site is new, you’ll see that there are a couple of default themes already installed – perhaps the Twenty Fourteen or Twenty Fifteen – this changes over time. At the top of this page, you’ll see a button saying ‘Add New’.

MSW blog choosing new theme
Installing a free WordPress theme allows for more flexibility, which can be handy if you are just starting out and working with a strict budget.

Now you’ll see many themes to choose from. If you click or hover over each one you’ll see there’s a ‘Details & Preview’ option, so you can check out the theme’s features before committing to installing it. Even after you install the theme, nothing will have changed on your website. You’ll see the option to ‘Live Preview’ the site, and if you’re happy with it, you can hit the Activate button.

Additional steps to installing a WordPress theme

A few additional steps will now need to be done. The menu may need to be reset, if you’ve created a new menu (under Appearances). And your widgets may need to be added to the widget area again.

And finally, there’s a good chance that this new theme’s logo area will be different to your previous theme’s, so you may have to modify your logo to fit.

Here are a couple of examples of websites I created using free themes and custom CSS:

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How to install a free WordPress theme