How to Update a WordPress Theme

In this tutorial we are going to learn on how to update a WordPress theme, but first let’s look at what WordPress theme is and why it is important to always keep it up to date.

What is a WordPress Theme?

This is a collection of files such as graphics, stylesheet and code files that control major functionality and general look of your WordPress site. A WordPress theme can layout your website’s page and posts layout as well as items like links, call to action buttons and many more.

It is important to ensure your WordPress theme is always up to date, this is to ensure it receives the latest security updates or patches as well as compatibility with the WordPress version you are running, PHP version and also installed plugins.

To know the current version of WordPress your site is running on kindly check this article How To Check WordPress Version on Your Site

2 Ways on How to update a wordpress theme

We will be looking at two methods on how to update a wordpress theme and this will involve both free and paid or pro theme versions.

Method 1: Updating theme through wordpress dashboard.

First you will go to your wordpress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes and check if there is an update available, if there is you will see a notification as shown below.

Once you have confirmed an update is available. You will need to perform a full backup of your site including both files and database, taking backup of your site is important just in case there is an issue that might rise after the update like a plugin conflict or a page not working you will be able to restore the backup and fix the issue before doing the update.

how to update a wordpress theme page

You can take a backup within your hosting account or you can install plugins like All in One WP Migration or UpdraftPlus

Once you have taken a full backup of your site, simply click on the Update Now link on the theme as shown below.

wordpress theme update link

Note: – The above option is possible with free themes and any paid or pro theme version that has active license on it. Otherwise you will not be able to use this option if your site has a pro theme version that has no license or key.

Method 2: Updating theme using File manager or FTP

This method involves uploading theme files using file manager or FTP, you will need to have access to your hosting account or FTP logins details (hostname, username and password).

First download a zip copy of your theme from theme developers site or wherever you did purchase it from e.g themeforest.

In this example we will be using FileZilla if you don’t have it you can download it from the link below. 

Download FileZilla

After you have downloaded and installed filezilla, open it.

Login to your site by entering below details (you should obtain these from your host provider, if not kindly get in touch with their support and request them)

Hostname, username and password. Port for SFT will be 22 and FTP 21 normally.  

filezilla login screen

Navigate to wp-content/themes/ folder

Delete the old theme file from the server by right clicking and choosing delete

Upload the new theme folder to the themes directory by right clicking and choosing upload.


After theme update, kindly check your site pages, posts, dashboard to make sure all is working as before.

The second method requires someone with a developer skills and it is only an option if updating the theme through WordPress dashboard isn’t working.

Thank you. I hope you find this article to help you on how to update a wordpress theme. If you have any comments or suggestions kindly share in the comments.