Want to learn how to change WordPress themes without losing content?
Changing themes on WordPress is a one-click task, but you need to remember certain points before and after switching themes on your websites.
In this article, we’ll guide you on how to safely change a WordPress theme without breaking your site’s appearance and content.
In This Article
- How to Change Your WordPress Theme?
A Checklist Before Changing a WordPress Theme
WordPress provides easy and flexible options for changing your site theme. But making changes on a live site holds some risk factors.
We’ve compiled this checklist and added some important points. We recommend you go through this list before changing your WordPress theme so you can update your site without hampering its content and appearance.
1. Save Your Custom Code Snippets
Many developers and experienced users embed custom codes to enhance the features and functionalities of their themes.
These custom code snippets are theme-dependent and can’t be carried from one theme to another.
So if you’ve added code snippets to the functions.php file of your current theme, make sure to take note of those custom codes. That way, you can re-use those code snippets with your new theme and get the same functionalities and features on your site.
If you don’t want to hassle with all custom snippets, you can use the WPCode plugin.
This dedicated WordPress plugin gives you a flexible way to run code snippets on your site and removes the need to add custom snippets to your theme’s functions.php file.
2. Check Your Website Loading Time
Website loading speed is one of the important factors that affect user experience on your site.
It is essential to check the load time of your website before changing its theme, so you can easily compare how fast your website loads after you make changes.
Note your site loading speed and make sure the new theme loads faster than the old one. You can use any speed test tool for WordPress to check your website loading speed.
Test the loading time of your homepage and some of your inner pages. This will help you to get a better idea of the performance.
Check out our list of the fastest WordPress themes that you can use to speed up your website.
3. Create A Full Backup
Whether changing your site theme or adding a new feature, it’s always a good idea to create a full backup of your website content.
There are many WordPress backup plugins available that you can use to create the backup of your WordPress site.
Make sure to download the backup to your computer, so if in case anything goes wrong, you can recover your website content easily.
4. Save Your Website Sidebar Content
Sidebars of the website are generally used to showcase additional content such as:
- Contact forms
- Subscription forms
- Social media links
If you’ve displayed customized sidebar content or added custom CSS and HTML codes to carry out some specific changes, so make sure to note these changes and copy-paste those custom codes for future reference.
You can use the Widget Importer & Exporter WordPress plugin for backing up your website sidebar content.
5. Enable Maintenance Mode
Changing your site theme is a big task. And if you’re not using a staging site, the better option is to enable the maintenance mode on your website.
We recommend using the SeedProd plugin for this purpose. It’s the best landing page builder for WordPress.
SeedProd lets you create high converting and engaging landing pages without writing a single line of code.
This landing page builder includes both premium and lite versions. Its paid features include pre-built landing page templates, popular email marketing tools’ integration, advanced customization features, and more.
You can enable the maintenance mode feature using SeedProd’s free version. Let’s see a step by step process:
Activate and Install the SeedProd Plugin
First, you need to activate and install the SeedProd plugin. If you face difficulty in the plugin installation process, then check out this guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Set up a Maintenance Mode Page
Once you successfully install the plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard and click SeedProd » Pages.
On the next page, click on the Set up a maintenance mode page option.
Select Maintenance Mode Template
Now you’ll be prompt to the SeedProd’ landing page template library. You can create your custom template or choose from the pre-built maintenance mode templates.
Once you choose your option, you’ll be redirected to the front-end of your website.
Save Your Template
On the front end of your website, you can see the live preview of your maintenance mode template. Here you can add additional blocks and customize your template as per your website preference.
Next, click on the ‘Save’ button at the top right corner to save your template.
Publish the Page
Now we need to change the status of your page from draft to publish. To do that, first, go to the ‘Page Settings’ tab.
And in the page settings page, change the page status from Draft to Publish.
Your page is published. Now we need to activate SeedProd’s maintenance mode feature.
Activate Maintenance Mode
To activate maintenance mode, head back to your dashboard, click SeedProd » Pages, and toggle the maintenance mode to Active.
Awesome! You’ve successfully activated the maintenance on your site.
These are some of the prominent points you need to remember before changing your WordPress theme.
Now let’s see the complete process of changing the theme of your WordPress website.
How to Change Your WordPress Theme?
WordPress provides 2 ways to change your site theme. We’ll see both the process, and you can use the one you prefer.
1. Changing a Theme Directly From WordPress Dashboard
This is the in-built functionality of WordPress. It lets you install, activate and change themes using the dashboard of your site.
Now to change your theme, go to Appearance » Themes.
On the next page, click on the Add new button.
You can use the search bar to find your desired theme.
Once you get your theme, click on the Install button. If you want, you can also preview your theme to see how it’ll look on the live page.
And lastly, click on the Activate button to activate the theme on your website.
Fantastic! New theme is activated on your website.
2. How Do I Manually Change the WordPress Theme?
This process requires a bit of technical knowledge. If you’re a beginner, we suggest you use the direct method (using WordPress dashboard) to change your WordPress theme.
In this method, we’ll see how you can change your site theme using the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client and cPanel. This method would be helpful if you buy a Pro theme that you have to upload yourself.
First, you need to connect your website using an FTP client and then go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder.
In the folder, you’ll see the list of all installed themes on your website. Copy the folder name of the theme that you want to activate on your site.
Next, go to the cPanel of your WordPress hosting account.
On the cPanel page of your hosting account, go to the Databases section and then click on the phpMyAdmin icon.
You’ll see a screen with a list of databases. Select the database that you are using for your WordPress site.
It will open a list of tables. In order to change a theme, you need to select the wp_options table.
Now search for the template and stylesheet settings. Once found, click on the Edit option of the settings.
Next, in the option_value field, add the new theme name that you want to activate.
Once you’re done, click on the Save button and save all the changes.
And this is how you can change your theme using the cPanel of your site hosting.
Things to Do After Changing Your Theme
Now let’s see an after checklist that you need to go through once you change your site theme. You need to check:
- Disable the maintenance mode
- Check your website contents are loading properly
- Check cross-browser compatibility
- Test your website loading speed.