On the floor, altering a theme, might sound innocent. It’s really easy, it’s onerous to think about it will possibly do any hurt. You’ll be able to even do it from inside the dashboard as of late, with none handbook FTP add required. It’s fast, painless and completely secure, proper? Is dependent upon the way you’ve arrange your website.

The factor about WordPress websites is that they typically develop into extra of a puzzle, or jenga tower, over time. You’ve your theme, added plugins and any small (or main) edits you might need achieved. These all come collectively to create a gorgeous practical website that fits your wants.

And that’s why it’s necessary to watch out whenever you change your theme (and even replace WordPress in your website for that matter). In the event you pull out the fallacious piece, the entire construction may collapse. And you then’ll find yourself having to undergo an extended (and with some webhosts, pricey) retrieval course of. Or you could find yourself having to exchange most of the plugins you’ve grown to know and love.

However, there’s a approach you can also make altering the theme a 0% danger endeavor, and fortuitously, it’s coated intimately beneath. Let’s get began!

Step 1. Choose A New WordPress Theme

In the event you haven’t already, discover a new theme you’re keen on. In the event you’re not a developer, attempt to discover a theme that appears kind of the way you need it to. An excellent place to search for premium themes is Themeforest. Right here you’ll discover a lot of WordPress themes which have loads of coloration choices, added options, and even drag & drop web page builders (like our Whole WordPress Theme) to make it simple for even non-coders to customise their WordPress theme.

In fact in case your funds doesn’t permit for a premium theme, take a look at our WPExplorer Free WordPress Themes or at WordPress.org’s huge repository the place new free themes are added on a regular basis.

WordPress.org Theme Directory

When deciding on a brand new theme it’s necessary to guarantee that your new theme helps the plugins you deem mandatory. In the event you’ve constructed a complete retailer with WooCommerce, you’ll in all probability wish to proceed utilizing WooCommerce together with your new theme. So simply double examine plugin compatibility and primary theme options earlier than committing.

In fact, for those who’re a developer you don’t have to fret about discovering the “good” theme. You in all probability have the information to create or customise a theme your self. When you discover a theme that meets your wants, transfer on to step two.

Step 2. Create A Backup Of Your WordPress Website

It’s a good suggestion to backup your WordPress web site earlier than altering your theme, and there are fairly just a few methods to go about it. On this publish we’re going to concentrate on two totally different strategies: utilizing backup plugins, and backing up your WordPress website manually. Each are pretty simple processes (even for brand spanking new customers).

Technique 1: Utilizing A Plugin To Backup WordPress

VaultPress WordPress Backup Plugin

The very best backup plugin (in our opinion) is VaultPress. It’s simple to make use of and takes an entire backup of your web site. Plus it begins at simply $39 per yr (for a JetPack Private plan). A low value contemplating it affords automated backups, 30 day backup archive, and 1-click restoration. However wait… there’s extra! As a result of VaultPress is part of JetPack plans, you’ll even have the choice to allow Akismet and JetPack premium options in your website.

The largest profit of getting a plugin do your backups, is that you simply don’t have to fret about it.

A pair different stable premium choices are WPvivid and BackupBuddy. If you wish to be taught extra about both, checkout our full WPvivid evaluate and BuddyPress evaluate.

And in case your funds is proscribed, a standout free different is Updraft Plus. Updraft not solely backs up your website, however uploads it to a number of places “within the cloud”, all with a single click on. And it additionally lets you to do a easy 1 click on restore if one thing has gone horribly fallacious.

That stated, in case your web site is an enormous a part of the way you make your revenue, or extremely necessary to you in different methods, you’ll do good to make a handbook backup as effectively each every so often. Simply to cowl all of your bases.

Technique 2: Manually Backup WordPress

Whereas backing up your WordPress website manually may appear to be an enormous, sophisticated, even, overwhelming job to a more recent consumer, it’s actually fairly straight ahead.

#1 Log into your webhosts management panel to your website (whether or not that’s cPanel or one thing else).
Most webhosts have the choice to both log into your account, or into the management panel by their web site, so go to your webhosts website and log in.

#2 Discover FTP login info, or create a brand new account.
To do that, click on one of many choices contained in the management panel menu that claims one thing like “FTP customers/accounts” or “FTP entry” or “FTP settings”. In the event you don’t see any customers, otherwise you don’t know the password, you possibly can rapidly create a brand new consumer by clicking “add new consumer”, then creating one.


#Three Login, and replica all related recordsdata from the proper listing.
Now, at this level many individuals would advise you to get an FTP consumer like FileZilla, however you possibly can really entry your website by ftp together with your internet browser, and even good previous Home windows Explorer (or finder/nautilus for those who don’t use Home windows).


To do that, merely sort “”ftp://yoursite.com” into explorer, or the opposite one, and log in with info you discovered, or the consumer you simply created. I like to make use of my file browser as a result of it makes backing up as simple as copying and pasting into the specified location, then making the folder into a zipper archive.


#Four Return to the management panel, and open up phpMyAdmin.
For a lot of management panels this includes a good bit of scrolling downwards (search for the brand pictured beneath).


#5 Select the proper database.
If in case you have numerous WordPress websites operating on the identical internet hosting numerous databases can be in the identical phpMyAdmin. So it’s worthwhile to double examine that you simply’re selecting the best desk to again up. A method of doing that, is solely going into the databases and checking what’s written within the posts beneath the “wp_posts” part.


One other option to discover out, is by checking your wp-config.php file on the related website. You are able to do this both by the WordPress Dashboard, or by opening the backup copy of the file in a textual content editor. (Watch out to not edit it.) Merely seek for ‘db_name’ and also you’ll discover it immediately.

#6 Export the database
Merely click on customized, and choose the proper database when selecting which one to export, scroll previous the opposite customized choices, and click on go. It’s precisely so simple as it sounds. One other piece of excellent information is that it’s simply as simple to import a desk. If one thing goes fallacious… and also you already know do it!


Step 3. Clone Your Web site For Testing

There are two simple methods to clone your web site for testing, both by utilizing a staging website that comes together with your internet hosting plan, or by organising a neighborhood server.

Cloning Your WordPress Web site To A Staging Website

Many WordPress internet hosting plans embody entry to one-click staging equivalent to GoDaddy and WPEngine. These are nice choices since they’re on-line, so you possibly can login to check the theme on varied units (one thing you possibly can’t do together with your localhost because it’s confined to your pc).

In the event you’re utilizing WPEngine this course of is very simple (as it’s with most hosts). All it’s a must to do is log into the WordPress web site you need to duplicate, click on on the WPEngine menu merchandise on the high of your dashboard, click on on the staging tab and the click on the large blue button to “Copy website from LIVE to STAGING.” And that’s it (another excuse why we love WPEngine a lot).


Cloning Your WordPress Web site To A LocalHost

Organising a localhost can be a terrific choice, since a neighborhood model is accessible even with out an web connection (making it further helpful). And identical to backing up your web site, you possibly can both use a plugin to assist or manually clone your web site.

Technique 1: Utilizing A Plugin To Clone Your WordPress Website

Relying in your desktop working system there are just a few choices to setup a localhost server.

#1 Set up native server software program & WordPress.
You’ll be able to select from XAMPP, WAMP, MAMP and others. What this software program does, is recreate the atmosphere of a webserver in your very personal pc. Not solely does this let you check new themes, plugins, and WordPress updates out in your WordPress website. It lets you make utterly ready-to-post drafts in WordPress, whenever you don’t have an web connection.

Keep in mind to activate Apache and mySQL after set up is full. As soon as your localhost is prepared, you’ll additionally have to set up WordPress domestically.

#2 Set up plugin on unique website and export.
For instance, we’re going to be utilizing All-in-one-migrate right here. However you need to use any plugin that you simply desire. Among the many different free plugins, Duplicator appears to be probably the most raved about. Merely add and activate your plugin of alternative, after which export your web site accordingly.


#Three Set up plugin on native hosted WordPress and import.
That is pretty straight ahead. Log into your domestically hosted WordPress website, set up and activate the plugin, then import.


#Four Wait and luxuriate in your new clone.
Wait some time because the plugin imports the copy of your website (this may take a fairly some time, relying on the scale of your website). Then open it up and luxuriate in as soon as it’s completed. It’s that simple.

Technique 2: Manually Cloning Your WordPress Website

Manually copying your reside website simply features a few further steps.

#1 Put together your native server or staging website.
Whether or not you’re utilizing a plugin or not, this step continues to be the identical. You’ll nonetheless must setup your localhost and set up WordPress domestically.

#2 Copy and paste backup copy of WordPress
In the event you plan on creating the native clone manually (and also you’re already midway there) you simply want to repeat the backup copy of the recordsdata you took earlier. Simply paste them into the suitable folder ( ampps/www/ folder if utilizing AMPPS, or the mamp/htdocs for those who’re utilizing MAMP). Ensure to put the recordsdata in a separate folder. That is to keep away from bother with the ‘server simulator’ software program (ought to be positioned in for instance ampps/www/wpclone/ if utilizing AMPPS). In the event you didn’t take a handbook backup copy already, observe the steps laid out above.

#Three Open up phpMyAdmin and import the database.
First open up the native server dashboard. From right here open the phpMyAdmin (for those who’re utilizing AMPPS you may additionally merely enter ‘localhost/phpmyadmin’ into your internet browser as an alternative). Click on import. Then choose the sql backup file you saved earlier, through the handbook backup (once more, for those who didn’t do the handbook backup, observe the steps listed above).


#Four Discover right database consumer/password data and create a consumer in phpMyAdmin.
First, open up your backed up wp-config.php file in a textual content editor, like notepad, and seek for DB_USER and DB_PASSWORD. Then take these values (situated the place I blacked out), and make a brand new consumer with that username and password by going to databases in phpMyAdmin, after which clicking examine privileges subsequent to the proper database,then lastly clicking add consumer.


#5 Change Some Urls
So your new native website doesn’t go loopy considering it’s situated some place else, it’s worthwhile to edit two fields within the database. The siteurl and residential, beneath wp_options (if it’s solely displaying 25 rows per web page, dwelling can be proven on the 2nd web page). Edit them to https://localhost/wp or no matter you selected to call your folder, and your cloned website can be prepared to make use of.


Step 4. Testing & Troubleshooting Your WordPress Theme On Your Clone Website

That is as simple as logging into the admin space in your native clone or staging website. Set up and activate the theme to see what occurs. All of those steps usually are not required. They’re simply a number of the many theme options you may wish to check for those who switched themes.

Allow wp_debug
It is a nice option to check if there are any errors in your theme. To allow wp_debug , open up your wp-config.php file and set wp_debug to true, like so:

outline('WP_DEBUG', true);

This can present your whole php errors and notices on the entrance finish of your WordPress website. Take into account that not each discover displayed will break your website, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a good suggestion to repair them.


Customized Put up Varieties
In case your previous theme used a number of built-in customized publish varieties and your new theme doesn’t have theme it might seem like you misplaced all of your content material. However don’t fear, it’s nonetheless in your database.

You should use a 3rd get together plugin, like Put up Varieties Limitless, to register your previous customized publish varieties in your new theme. In the event you aren’t certain what the names of your customized publish varieties are you possibly can ask the previous theme developer, or search the previous theme for the register_post_type operate and find the names of your previous customized publish varieties.

It’s a good suggestion to look over the widget choices, advert spots, footer columns and the sidebar width along with some other widget prepared areas. This manner there are not any surprises later.

Lacking a will need to have widget? You’ll be able to at all times adda plugin. For instance Social Sweet for social hyperlinks, or the Extra Widgets plugin for adverts, about part, e-newsletter, maps and extra.

Double examine the menu places and codecs in your new theme. Maybe there are extra menu places, or a vertical navigation. Simply look the theme over so you realize the place your whole menus can be whenever you activate the theme in your reside website.

Put up Codecs
Numerous themes use customized fields. So for those who’re utilizing one to outline a particular video/audio/gallery/and so on you might need to change the output of your publish codecs in your new theme. This may be achieved by way of baby theme so you possibly can proceed utilizing the previous meta on previous posts, otherwise you may be capable to use the add_post_meta( )

We talked about earlier than that for those who’re not a developer you need to discover a new theme that’s appropriate with your whole required WordPress plugins. Simply to make sure it’s a good suggestion to check your plugins to ensure they actually do work together with your theme.

In case you are a developer who has created or custom-made a theme, now can be a great time to guarantee that your tweaks haven’t effected plugin compatibility.

Examine Browser Console
Open up your browser to examine for javascript errors. If some issues aren’t working accurately (javascript associated), equivalent to sliders, drop-down menus, carousels, and so on. you possibly can examine the browser console for errors. Simply open your console to see your javascript errors, and hover on them to see precisely the place the error is situated.


Listed below are hyperlinks to the place you’ll discover your console for varied browsers:

Examine Featured Picture Sizes
You might need to add or tweak your featured photographs whenever you change over to your new theme. When you’ve cleaned home, you’ll wish to re-crop your whole photographs with their right dimensions.

Some themes like Whole crop photographs dynamically, so that you don’t must do something. However, for those who theme doesn’t do that for you, use the Regenerate Thumbnails WordPress Plugin to regenerate all of your photographs within the correct sizes.

website positioning Examine
Sadly there are themes with built-in website positioning choices, and in case you are at the moment utilizing them you almost certainly won’t be able to hold them over to your new theme. As a substitute you need to set up an website positioning plugin in your reside website and fill out the choices earlier than updating.

Cellular/Browser Testing
In the event you selected to create an internet staging website by way of your WordPress host then you might have the choice to do some actual cell testing of your individual. Seize your pill and telephone to see how your new theme seems to be. Or, for those who selected to put in your new theme in your native host, you possibly can attempt an internet responsive simulator just like the Responsinator or Cross Browser Testing.

Ensure to go to your posts, pages, and examine that every little thing is in working order. When you’ve confirmed that there are not any points, it’s time to maneuver on to the ultimate step.

Step 5. Set up & Activate Your New WordPress Theme On Your Stay Website

Now that you simply’ve completely examined your new WordPress theme, login to your WordPress dashboard set up it in your reside website. Earlier than you activate the theme simply do a fast double examine utilizing the Stay Preview choice. You should use this to click on by just a few of your pages simply to make certain that every little thing seems to be good.


An elective step can be to put in a coming quickly plugin in your website earlier than activating your new theme. This manner if it’s a must to make any tweaks to your reside website after activating your new theme, your guests will see a fairly beneath development or coming quickly web page. Two plugins we actually like are WP Upkeep Mode and the Coming Quickly Plugin by SeedProd.

When you’re able to go, merely navigate to Look > Themes and click on the button to “Activate” your new WordPress theme.

Wrapping Up

To somebody who hasn’t skilled the nightmare of an internet site practice wreck, this may appear to be overkill. A whole over-complication of one thing that’s presupposed to be easy. Belief me – it’s not. Consider this like having nice medical health insurance on high of maintaining a healthy diet and exercising, however to your WordPress website. Working onerous to troubleshoot your theme domestically minimizes your danger of one thing unhealthy taking place in your reside website.

Did you discover this information useful? Or do you might have something so as to add? Tell us within the feedback part!

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