How to update your theme

There are a few different ways to manually update your theme depending on your specific situation. We recommend using a child theme if you are going to customize your theme files, as this simplifies updating your parent theme.

It is always a good idea to backup your site before updating, just in case.

Here are two plugins you can use to backup your site;

Uploading the new version

The easiest way to manually update your theme is to upload it via the WP dashboard.

  1. Go to Appearance > Themes > Install Themes > Upload
  2. Click Browse and select the zip file
  3. Click Install Now

You will most likely get the following error:

Installing the theme…
Destination folder already exists.
Theme install failed.

The reason we get this error is because you already have a theme folder on your server with the same name as the folder inside your ZIP file.

You can use Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades plugin OR do one of the following:

1. Rename the folder

You can either rename the theme folder on your server, or rename the folder inside the zip file.

  1. Unzip the file on your computer
  2. Rename the folder (e.g. “canvas-new”). The folder name must not have spaces in it.
  3. Compress the new folder to a ZIP file
  4. Upload it via Appearance > Themes > Install Themes > Upload
  5. Go to Appearance > Themes and activate the new version

2. Delete the theme on your server

If you have done any customizations to your theme files, these customizations will be lost if you use this method. If you have not done customizations to the theme, or you are running a child theme you can:

  1. Go to Appearance > Themes
  2. Activate TwentyEleven (or another theme)
  3. Delete the old theme
  4. Upload new version via Appearance > Themes > Install Themes > Upload
  5. Activate the new version

Re-applying your customizations

If you have made any modifications to your theme files (for example your style.css), you will need to re-apply these to the new version. We recommend using a child theme to avoid this step. If you are an advanced user, you can see the changelog.txt in the theme folder to only update the updated files via FTP.