How to update your WordPress Theme

We have spoken many times of how positive it is to use child themes and external plugins to modify the WordPress template we are using, either to improve the look or add a specific functionality. With this we remain our theme clean and ready for future upgrades, without fear of losing the additions or changes. But, how can you update a WordPress theme?

Automatic vs Manual Update

We can have several cases, whether we are using a free repository theme or a premium theme acquired through some Marketplace like Themeforest or Mojo. In general topics repository themes are updated from the WordPress dashboard and we are notified when a new version is available.

But if it comes to an acquired theme, it is normal not to have connected the updates service, so to update the template we must follow a more manual procedure.

Note: Before making any changes, make a backup copy of your theme and content to avoid losses and future problems. It is always good advice!
To do this, we will need to replace the theme we have installed to a more recent version, so the first thing we will check is whether you can install it as a normal theme following these steps.

If we can install it, we just have to activate the new version. But normally, this is not possible, since we are trying to create a directory in the WordPress theme folder with a name that already exists! (For example: if we are going to update the Christopher theme, we already have a folder /christopher/ and the new version cannot overwrite this folder.)


The message will be this one:
Installing the theme…
The folder already exists. /wp-content/themes/christopher /
Failure to install the theme.

Updating the theme via FTP

Therefore, we need to access via FTP to the WordPress themes folder (wp-content/themes/) and delete the folder of the theme (be sure that you have saved a copy before). Once leaving no trace, we got the new version to the same folder.

But if you are afraid to delete the folder on your server, you can always rename it, for example: /christopher-old/ and you shall be free to upload the folder of the new version of the theme to /themes/christopher / or install it using the natural procedure from the WordPress panel.


The new and old version will appear both in the themes folder, but the renamed one will appear with the name of the folder so we know which is which. Now we just have to activate the new version of the theme and that’s all!

Update your themes and plugins is the best you can do to protect your WordPress

Many of the WordPress vulnerabilities come from plugins and templates out of date. It is a little hard work, but it is always good to be alert and control the plugins and themes that we have installed (whether they are activated and deactivated,) and proceed to update whenever a new version, since in many cases in such upgrades problems or failures of important safety are resolved.

This is one way to keep up and have your WordPress protected, besides being able to enjoy the new updates and features that the creators incorporate. Do not stop updating! 🙂

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