Among the CMS (content management systems) available, WordPress is one of the commonly used. One of the reasons its user-friendliness. But also the amount of plugin and themes, most of them are free to use. There are free and paid themes that users can choose from, making this CMS one of the few best platforms to build business websites and blogs.

This article was written after an ex-client asked what he needs to think about if he should change the theme on his WordPress.

It is a straightforward and easy process for the ones who have used WordPress before. However, for new users, it might feel a little cumbersome. A simple mistake can contribute to site malfunction. So this guide is written for a WordPress newbie. But even for experienced WordPress users, this guide may also have some useful information.

Let’s get started.

1. Picking a fresh WordPress theme

WordPress official repository is the place where you get free WordPress themes when looking for a free alternative. For paid themes, Themeforest is an excellent place to fetch one because you will have numerous choices to choose from. Before picking any theme, ensure that it’s compatible with your setup and it features all the functionality you require. Assuming any of these considerations will create avoidable problems.

2. Site backup

This is one of the critical steps that no one should ignore. As a matter of fact, this is a necessity if you have numerous site visitors. Website backup can be done using plugins or manually. When using plugins for backup, paid ones are the best alternative to enhance efficiency. Alternatively, you can contact your hosting support and request them to back up your website on your behalf. Most web host platforms carry out automated backups daily.

3. Website cloning

After back up, you should clone your website for the purpose of testing. This is also known as a staging site where changes are tested prior to applying them on the live server. Every web hosting platform features a specific way to execute this step. Therefore, in case you are uncertain about yours, contact support prior to making any changes.

4. Install and test new WordPress themes on clone website

Prior to installing the WordPress theme on the clone website, make sure logging is turned on. Then after the new theme installation, check the following to ensure that the selected theme functions perfectly with your website setup.

  • WP_DEBUG
  • Plugins
  • Test on various browsers
  • Responsive or mobile check

5. Install new theme on the live website

This is the final step in changing your WordPress theme. There are two ways to execute this. One of them is moving the staging site to live site. However, the second one is the simplest, where you install the new WordPress theme directly on your live website. Always remember to enable maintenance mode in order to avoid affecting user experience. Your web visitors will also be updated about the change ahead of time.
Changing your WordPress theme is simple but there is a need to be careful. This is especially if you own a big website as you cannot afford to take risks. Nonetheless, if you own a small website, these steps are still very critical to avoid site malfunction later. Follow the above steps as they are written and enjoy a seamless WordPress theme change.