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How to Update WordPress Theme Safely without Affecting Your Customization

How to Update WordPress Theme Safely without Affecting Your Customization

If a new theme is released, you always replace the older version and desire the new features in haste. However, that may get just the opposite and even have your website crashed should something go wrong. Search for a solution to solve this issue from the following guide, which briefs you on a safe method to update WorPress theme.

Preparations for WordPress Theme Update

Website backup should be taken into the first consideration, which works in case the theme update comes to nothing. That is also a great method to keep all web content and protect it from losing. You can do it via an FTP client or current control panel. A WordPress backup plugin is also worth a shot to simplify matters.

As for the whole site backup is regarded as a troublesome business with a lot of time consumed, it is also possible to backup a single of theme file. Target the active theme folder via cPanel > Files > File Manager > wp-content > themes, and then right click the theme to copy it to another folder as needed. An FTP client is also helpful in that case, which downloads the theme folder on your computer.

Copy Theme Folder

Having website backed up, you should set about updating theme by reference to the following methods, in terms of auto update and manual update.

Auto Theme Update

Auto update is especially suitable for WordPress default themes with a few customizations. Log into WP admin and click Updates via the sidebar. The plugins and themes to be updated are all listed in this WordPress Updates page. Select all themes shown in the Themes mode and then update themes.

Update All Themes

Since your themes are all up to date, check if there is something wrong with each web page on front-end. If the auto update is to no avail, move to the second method that updates your theme in a manual way.

Manual Theme Update

If the current theme is not available for an auto update, you should turn to a manual way for the same purpose. Multiple methods are used to solve this problem in an easy manner and two of them are shown as below with detailed explanations.

Method 1: Access to WordPress.org and search for your active theme via Theme Directory. Download it on your computer and that should be in zip format.

And then, upload this zip file via an FTP client or control panel. The selected method in the following guide is cPanel. Access to cPanel > Files > File Manager and target the current theme via wp-content folder > themes folder. Since the concurrence of folders with the same name is not feasible, rename the current theme so as to differentiate it from the latest one.

Reanme Previous Theme

Click Upload on the top menu and choose the zip file from your computer. It takes a few seconds to upload this file. Once having the file uploaded, go back to /public_html/wp-content/themes and extract this zip file to current folder. Perhaps, it is also fine to unzip this file on the computer before uploading it to your website. Go to WordPress dashboard > Appearance > Themes and activate the newly uploaded theme.

Extract Zip FIle

Method 2: If the current theme of your site comes with full customization, a tool for automatic updates should be your first consideration. The WP Updates is selected in this guide. Go to wp-updates.com and sign up the free version with personal information. That allows you to update themes and plugins in few clicks. Click “Add Theme” and type the name & URL of the theme to update. Add it to queue.

Add Theme WP Updates

Download the theme updater to theme’s folder as required and then insert the given code to your theme’s functions.php file. The theme update is completed since all things you have done.

Add Theme Code


Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.