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Avoid These Errors When Installing A WordPress Theme

Installing a WordPress theme is supposed to be as easy as pie, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.

What many of us regard as a simple process, is a source of headache for a number of WordPress users.

How To Install A WordPress Theme

The easiest way to install a WordPress theme is through the WordPress admin dashboard.

Under Appearance, select Themes, Click on Add New, Click on Upload ThemeChoose the file from your computer and click Install Now.

If you do this right, you should get an option to Activate or Preview the theme.

Common WordPress Theme Installation Errors

1. Style.css missing

wordpress theme upload error

This error points out your theme’s stylesheet file is missing and most times, this is because you are trying to upload the wrong file.

The way your theme is packaged depends on where you get your theme from. A lot of theme authors always package a PSD file, Sample.xml file, plugins, documentation alongside the actual WordPress theme file.

How To Install A WordPress Theme From Themeforest

In this case, all you need to do is identify, extract and upload the proper theme file and you are good to go.


  • A Computer
  • WinRar/7zip or any compression tool
  • FTP Client/Access to WordPress Admin

How To Identify A WordPress Theme File

Themeforest provides their buyers with two download options,

how to install a wordpress theme
how to install a wordpress theme

If you select the installable WordPress file only, simply upload the zip file and it will upload successfully.

The other option is what I’m trying to explain here, you need to extract the files to your computer, and then upload the theme files to your website either through FTP or the WordPress Admin

Some theme authors would have already packaged the WordPress theme for you in a zip file and all you have to do is simply extract the file to your computer and upload.

If the file is not packaged, you should look for a folder that contains Style.css file in the root, most times, this file is titled “Themename” e,g “Sahifa”.

Once you identify this file, extract it to a location on your computer and upload it through ftp, you can also compress the file yourself by compressing it into a Zip archive and then uploading through your WordPress admin panel.

How To Install A Wordpress Theme Using FTP

If you want to upload the files through FTP, there is no need to compress the folder, if it is already compressed, you need to extract it and upload the theme folder to the Themes folder, under wp-content through your FTP client.

Who is to blame?

As a theme author, you would expect someone installing a WordPress theme to be knowledgeable enough to complete this process but as WordPress gets easier to use, this things also need to be made easier for your theme users.

As a user, you need to appreciate your theme author for providing you with these extra files as it is done to give you more control over the theme.

2. Filesize above limit

Most shared hosting companies set a low upload limit for their customers by default. If your host has an upload limit of 2mb, you would be unable to upload a WordPress theme file that exceeds that size. wpbeginner has a tutorial on how to increase this limit but before you consider doing it yourself, ask your host to do it for you or point you to a resource with instructions on how to do this.

Who is to blame?

Do not blame your theme author, this has nothing to do with the author, this is totally an issue with your web host. If you ever come across this error, please let your theme author catch some sleep, it is your web host that should be on their toes.

Syed Saadullah

I am Saad. I run this blog and work for Syntax Software House. I build Super fast WordPress sites. Do you have a question in mind?connect with me at Twitter

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