Your Dedicated Partner for All Things WordPress

How to update WordPress themes

Table of Contents

In this section, we will tell you about how to update WordPress themes. The new updates are essential since they have fewer bugs. On the other hand, they are needed to establish better work with newer versions of WordPress. You should not be afraid of data loss, but creating a backup is still advised. Also, you can deactivate the theme you are planning to update.

Automatic upgrade

What updates WordPress makes by default

WordPress currently automates the minor update releases. Those releases contain mostly security or maintenance reasons. By default, automatic updates for plugins and themes happen only in special cases. Those cases are defined by the WordPress API response that is controlled by the WordPress security team.

If you want more than security or maintenance updates to be available, you need to add this snippet into the plugin:

add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ );

Note that this snippet will work with themes added through the repository.

Installing a plugin for the automated theme update

There is also a possibility to install the Companion Auto Update plugin to automate WordPress theme updates. This plugin enables you to turn on or off automatic updates for the core (minor and/or major updates), plugins, and themes. In the settings of the plugin, you can configure all automated updates for your WordPress theme. Or turn them off altogether. It is also possible to allow the updates for particular themes only.

How to Update a WordPress Theme Manually

Manual update is of course much harder than automatic since you are doing it by yourself. There are multiple possibilities of how to update it manually.

How to Update a WordPress Theme from the Repository

This will work only with the themes that were installed through the repository.

There are few benefits to using WordPress themes from the repository is that you never have to leave your dashboard to find one, install it, and, later, update it. So, when an update comes into WordPress that says it’s time to update your WordPress theme, you can do so from one of two places.

One of the places is under Dashboard – Updates. Your themes will appear on the list, you can update the theme from there.

Another place is under Appearance – Themes. If your theme has an update waiting, there will be a notice about it.

How to Update a WordPress Theme from ThemeForest

There are thousands of reasons why you would purchase a premium WordPress theme from outside the WordPress repository. Just keep in mind that WordPress will not show you when there is an update for these themes. You will have to monitor it by yourself.

Theme developer or marketplace can notify you by email about an available theme update or not. This is how you will handle the manual installation of it.

Log in to the theme developer’s website or the marketplace and download a copy of the files

To update themes from ThemeForest go to the website, find your theme, and download the renewed file. If your theme is available only on the developers’ website, then go there and download the renewed file directly from there.

Remove or rename the previous version

To install a theme update manually, you have to delete or deactivate the older version first. That’s because the old and new version has the same name and WordPress won’t allow the same-named files to be installed.

There are a few ways to fix this:

  1. Rename the theme files from the themes folder. That way, if you fail during the update, you still have the older version installed which will make it easier to restore.
  2. Delete the theme files from the wp-content/themes/ folder via FTP or file manager.

Upload new file

There are two places where you can upload the updated theme file for your website.

The first is inside WordPress, under Appearance – Themes – Add New.

The second possibility is if you’re already logged into the control panel to deal with the renaming or deleting of the theme files, though, you might as well take the other option and upload them there.

After the theme update has been uploaded, check your WordPress site if everything is working fine. If you installed the update on your test server first, there shouldn’t be any problems, but it’s still important to check.

Log into WordPress and verify that you’re not seeing the white screen of death. Then, visit the website itself and make sure everything appears as it should.

Delete the old file

After the successful update, you can permanently delete the old theme file.

To sum it up

As you can see there are few possibilities of how to update your WordPress themes. It all depends on what kind of theme or themes you are using. Also, the important part is where you got this theme. Is it a WordPress theme provided through Depository or a custom theme bought from the marketplace or directly from the developer. If you are not sure that you can handle it by yourself, try to find someone to maintain your website.

How to get started?

Learn more

WordPress Maintenance

Save 33% with our Annual pricing plan.

Get Started

Coupon Code Applied!

Take your time and continue browsing our services.

Alexey Seryapin
Founder of WPServices