How to Upgrade WordPress Theme

Updating a WordPress Theme

Themes impact your website’s design, speed, performance, SEO, and user experience. Updating a WordPress theme means installing it to the latest version which could be disruptive WordPress notifies you once there is an update.

Why Should you Update Your WordPress Theme?
Updating your theme improves the security, functionality, performance, and compatibility of your site and as such you want to keep your themes updated at all times.

To keep your WordPress site secure at all times, you need to constantly update your software, themes and plugins as soon as these updates are available. You leave your site vulnerable to security threats if you do not install these theme updates.

When a new version of WordPress is released, theme developers test their themes' compatibility with the new version of the software and release an update. Compatibility issues can be avoided when theme updates are installed.

Feature Upgrades
Installing updates allows you to enjoy new features to the full potential of your theme.

Performance Optimization
Updating your theme will ensure your theme is running at its maximum performance.

Update WordPress Themes Automatically
Outdated themes are a risk to the security, performance, and compatibility of a website, follow the process below to set up auto-updates for your WordPress theme.

  • Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Click Appearances
  • Go to Themes.
  • Click on the active theme you wish to update
  • Click Enable auto-updates

If there are custom codes added to your theme, you might want to avoid auto-updates.

Updating WordPress Themes Manually

Updating your theme is easy if you simply installed and activated your theme without making any customization on your site. You can use any of the options stated below:

  • Login to your WordPress dashboard.
  • You should see a notification displayed in your WordPress Admin Menu when a new version of a theme is available.
  • Click Themes. You will see the following message if your theme is up to date: Your themes are all up to date. However, if any of your themes are not updated, you need to select the theme you wish to update and click the Update Themes button.

Another option to manually update your theme in your WordPress dashboard:

  • Log in to your WordPress dashboard
  • Click Appearance
  • Go to Themes. You’ll see this notification New version available. Update now.
  • Click Update now. WordPress will automatically download and unzip the theme package, and replace the old theme files with new ones.

This will overwrite the old theme files on your website and you will lose any customization made. In order to avoid this loss, you can update your theme using an FTP client installed on your computer.

How To Update A Theme Via Ftp(FileZilla)

You can transfer your files from your computer to your WordPress hosting account using
FTP. Follow the steps below to update your theme via the FTP client.

1. Create a backup of your theme.

  • Log in to your site via FileZilla.
  • Locate the public_html folder.
  • Click wp-content, and go to your themes folder.
  • Click the themes folder in FileZilla to begin the manual theme update process
  • Rename your active theme folder
  • Download the folder to your computer

2. Download the new version of your theme.

  • Go to the theme’s website to download the latest version of your theme to your computer
  • Locate the theme’s zip file and extract.
  • You now have the old and new versions of the theme on your computer.

3. Add the customization to the new theme files.

  • Copy the code from the outdated theme files and paste them into the new ones.
  • Open both your old and new theme folders to spot the custom code added to the old theme folder.
  • Copy the custom code from the old theme file and paste them into the same file in the new theme folder.
  • You now have the updated version of your theme with your previously-made customization. Proceed to upload it to your site.

4. Upload the new theme folder to your site.

  • Log into Filezilla, you can follow this guide on how to use FileZilla
  • Click the public_html folder.
  • Locate the wp-content folder.
  • Go to the themes folder and upload your new theme directory.
  • Locate the themes folder in FileZilla, then click upload to upload an updated version of the theme.

5. Activate the new theme on your site.

  • Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Click Appearance
  • Go to Themes.
  • Activate the new theme.
  • If prompted to overwrite the theme click the Replace current with the uploaded button.

6. Test your site.

Go to your website to test if everything works fine. If your website is not running as it should, you need to revisit the backup of your old theme and make sure you copied everything that there is to copy to the new theme.

To provide the best experience to your users, you need to regularly update your themes