Installing and updating WordPress themes is simple but there are many problems that arise.
In this topic, we will learn many ways to install & update WP themes, as well as how to handle common problems!
- Mechanism of installing the theme
- A. METHODS OF INSTALLING THEME
- B. METHODS OF UPDATING THEME
Mechanism of installing the theme
Basically, way of installing a theme is uploading all the code theme, it will be uploaded to wp-content / themes and is located in the ten_theme directory (for example, twenty-nineteen).
As the picture below:
In general, there are 2 types of Theme installation:
Using upload the theme file method (for example, flatsome.zip) to install and update. This type also has 3 ways:
- Upload & install on DashBoard (Themes -> Add New)
- Upload & extract to Themes folder on Hosting via File Manager
- Upload theme directory (extracted) to Themes folder through FTP connection
How to install & update themes directly from the Server that contains the theme’s author. This type also has 2 ways:
- If a free theme is provided on the WP Repository, you will install it directly on the Dashboard through Themes section -> Add New
- And the second common way is that if you buy a theme at ThemeForest, you can create an API Key to use the Envato Market plugin, install and update directly from Servers of the author, you do not need to download the theme and upload it.
A. METHODS OF INSTALLING THEME
We have the installation method as mentioned above: Manually & Automatically!
1. How to manually install the Theme
Manual installation means that we need to have the theme file on the computer, upload files & extract or upload theme folder to wp-content / themes!
A.1.1 Install on Dashboard
In the WP Dashboard: Appearance> Themes -> Add New, we can upload the theme file (.zip) from the computer, the zip file extraction will process automatically.
A.1.2 Install on File Manager
Go to cPanel> File Manager -> Upload the .zip file to the Themes folder (wp-content/themes) and extract:
Then you have to go to Themes on the Dashboard to select Activate theme that is lately uploaded.
A.1.3 Installing via FTP protocol
FTP is a host access protocol via FTP connect software such as FileZilla, WinSCP, etc… This protocol helps us to upload – download – edit files & folders on hosting.
The FTP protocol is not supported compression and decompression, so in order to install the theme, we need to extract the theme file on the computer, then we upload the theme folder to wp-content / themes.
As the picture below:
Similar to above, you must go to the Themes section on the Dashboard to select the Activate theme that lately uploaded.
2. Ways to install the theme automatically
The form of automatic installation is not easy to install, if you want to install it, the author must support the API to connect to the Server that contains the Theme.
Nowadays, There are 2 softwares that support installing themes automatically via API: WP Repository and ThemeFores.
(automatic plugin installation has many forms, we will learn it later).
A.2.1 Install themes automatically from WP Repository
WP Repository is a free themes store on WordPress.org, this is a theme store is contributed by the WP Developers community.
If you want to install a theme in the WP Repository, , you just need to go to Appearance> Themes -> Add New and type the name of the theme into the search box (or if you want to find the suitable type of theme – you use the filter feature):
Select Install then select Activate.
A.2.2 Install the theme automatically from Themeforest
Themeforest is the largest theme market in the world, they provide solutions for Automatic installation & updating with API key (API Token).
When you register an account at ThemeForest or CodeCanyon, you are allowed to create Token APIs to be able to access the Theme / Plugin that purchased from Server of Envato (developers must provide versions of the theme, plugin at here).
Because we can connect to the Server that contains the theme and plugin of Envato, we will install & update the theme, plugin similar to the ways that we have done on WP Repository.
How to use the ThemeForest key Token API (& CodeCanyon)
In order to connect Servers that contain purchased items, we have to do the following steps:
Step 1 – Install & activate Envato Market plugin
Download the Envato Market plugin and manually install Plugins -> Add New & Upload -> Install.
After it is activated, go to Menu Envato Market – Click the link as the picture below to move to the page that creates API Key!
You need to login Envato account first, then you click the link to avoid returning the Sign in page!
Step 2 – Create API Token key
In the API Token section, you create an API Token key with any name (e.g. updates) – you select theme/plugin access rights in here.
If you choose sections like the picture below, you can connect to install/update automatically.
Tick the confirmation (I have read, ..) and Create Token, then we will have an API Key.
The next step is that you confirm the creation of this API key (I confirm ..) and click Woohoo! Got it!
Copy the key to use later, you don’t have to login this page to see it!
Step 3 – Enter the API Token key to connect to Server Envato
In the API Token section, we have 2 options:
The first one is that you access all the themes and plugins that you have purchased
The second one is that you just access any theme or plugin.
Option 1 – access all Theme/Plugin
We enter the API Token key – click Save changes!
Then all the themes, plugins on the account will appear, we install any themes, plugins that we like, when it has an update version, it will notify for us.
In order to update, you can update on this page (often it has errors) or update in Dashboard -> Updates
Option 2 – access a certain theme/plugin
This option is suitable when you want to install for someone a theme/plugin and you do not want that they can access to your entire list of items.
Click Add new and enter the API Token key & ID of the Theme / Plugin which needs to access.
Theme / Plugin ID is the number at the Theme / Plugin link on ThemeForest or CodeCanyon.
Finished! This theme also appears in the Themes tab as a case that access all items.
B. METHODS OF UPDATING THEME
The mechanism of updating the theme is that we replace the old theme folder into the new theme folder.
The alternative may be operated in the following ways:
- Method 1 – Overwrite new files instead of old files
- Method 2 – Rename the new theme and then upload and activate instead of the old theme (the two themes co-exist on the wp-content/themes folder – but we activate the new theme, keep the old theme or delete it if we want)
1. How to Update themes automatically
Mechanism of Auto Update Themes is downloading the theme file directly from the server of the author at a temporary folder (Temp) on hosting, then it extracts to overwrite the old version!
With this form of an update, we can update in 3 areas:
- In the Updates on Dashboard section – Update in this section is the best, it allows us to update all new Themes (if automatic updating are allowed).
- In Themes section on Dashboard
- In the Themes tab, if we use the Envato Market plugin (it is only applied for ThemeForest)
The Updates section is the most convenient area to see notifications of new versions and automatic updating:
Note: According to this update method, you should backup the old version in order that you can avoid the case that the new version causes errors, you will use the old version. You can See details in the B.3 section!
2. How to Update theme manually
Not all themes are supported by automatic updating.
For example, you buy a theme without a key to activate, or the author does not support automatic update mechanism (such as StudioPress, CSSIgniter or Theme-Junkie, WP-ZOOM, etc …).
Manual theme update is more complicated than automatic updates.
As a rule, if you have a theme at the folder ten_theme in the wp-content/themes path, when you upload the file ten_theme.zip through Themes -> Add New -> Upload Files, the extraction will not succeed.
The particular error is “the folder ten_theme has already existed on hosting”.
For this reason, we have 3 methods to manually update as below:
• Via File Manager: upload the theme file (.zip) to the wp-content / themes folder and extract it to overwrite the old version.
• Via FTP: extract the new theme folder on the computer – upload the whole folder to wp-content/themes folder to overwrite the old version.
• Upload the new theme and you keep the old theme
B.2.1 Update keeps the old version
The advantage of this method is that if there is a problem with the new version on the Website, we can still delete the new version and reactivate the old version!
In order to upload a new version of ten_theme (eg dt-the7), we need to rename the directory first into ten_theme_new (dt-the7_new), and then compress it into ten_theme_new.zip.
Then we will do the same as installing a new theme.
After your successful upload and install it, we have both old and new versions of the theme on wp-content / themes the same as two independent themes.
After you activate the new version – if everything is ok, you can delete the old version!
Notes if you have updated and want to keep the old version
Some themes that you rename the theme folder, you will receive notification about the incorrect name- it may cause some features to be conflicted.
According to this case, you should use method 2 – Update to overwrite the old version!
B.2.2 Update overwrites the old version
If you do not rename the theme as above, you can upload the file ten_theme.zip to File Manager and extract it – When it is extracted, it will overwrite the old version.
So we don’t need to delete the old version anymore.
Or if you connect Hosting by FTP protocol, you can extract the theme file on the computer, then upload the ten_theme folder to the wp-content/themes path so that it overwrites the old directory.
Update overwritten will make us not be able to restore the older version.
Note: according to this update method, you should backup the old version in case the new version causes errors, you will use the old version. You can See details in B.3 section!
3. Notes that you Backup before Update Themes
Currently, according to quality themes from reputable authors, new versions are always code updated in accordance with the standard – it means that the code of the new version will be suitable with the data of the old version.
Therefore, overwriting the old version into the new version will not cause any problems.
In fact, there are many cases after they have updated, it will fail some features or broken interface.
And if we accidentally overwrote the old version, we cannot restore it (unless we have already backuped website).
So if you update by overwriting, you must back up the old theme version first.
The backup method is very simple:
- Download the entire ten_theme folder to your computer if you use FTP.
- Or go to File Manager and compress the theme folder to ten_theme.zip and then rename it into ten_theme_old.zip, if it has error, we delete the new version – you extract the old version.
So, except for Update keeps the old version (B.2.1), the automatic update (B.1) or manual updates by overwriting the old version (B.2.2) we must backup the old version to recover safely!
How to manually update the theme & the plugin safely
When you manually update themes and plugins, we have the problem is that we can not upload and unzip the new version because the decompression folder has the same name as the folder that contains the old version.
Fortunately, there are many plugins that help us update manually without deleting the old version – it automatically backs up the old version to recover if the new version causes the error.
Currently, the best rating plugin is: Easy Theme & Plugin Upgrades
You just install and activate it freely from WP Repository (Plugins -> Add new), you can freely upload and install any plugin or theme and you do not need to delete or rename the existing version on the Website.