WordPress is an amazing tool and it’s no wonder why it’s so wildly popular. Though sometimes the pros make it look way easier than it is. I was just installing a new WordPress theme on a new site and had an issue with the upload, which prompted me to choose to upload the WordPress theme manually via FTP.

Installing wordpress theme automatically

To begin with, the first step should always be to attempt to install the theme normally. That is, being through the backend of WordPress.

If that does work, you’ll get an error message. Typically, the php.ini file is the issue.

At this point you have two options. You can choose to contact your host and ask them to adjust the php.ini file for you. My experience with hosting support is that generally it is more frustrating that it’s worth. So I always opt for the next option. Manually installing the WordPress theme via FTP.

Installing wordpress theme via FTP

  1. Download an FTP Client on your computer
  2. Create an FTP Account within your hosting account
  3. Download the theme you need to your computer & unzip
  4. Upload the theme folder via FTP to your WordPress install
  5. Activate the theme from your WordPress dashboard



To install your WordPress site with FTP, first you need a FTP client on your computer. ‘FTP Client’ is an abbreviation of the term ‘File Transfer Protocol’ and the technical term for a downloaded software tool that will allow for drag-able access of files from your computer to upload to your website’s directory. It really is a powerful thing and if it isn’t used properly you really can mess your site up once things are up and going. But since this is a fresh installation, we don’t have to worry about that part right now.

My favorite FTP Client for PC is FileZilla

My favorite FTP Client for Mac is Fetch


Now you need to ensure you have access to your hosting from the FTP Client. Typically you have to set up your own FTP user access within your hosting. This is a different process for every hosting company as their backend environments are all different. But the end goal is the same. You need to create an FTP User Account. You will create a username and a password (make it very strong!)

My favorite password generator is :: Password Generator.

The other piece of information you’ll need is the hostname. Once you create the user account generally the hosting company provides you with the hostname upon accepting the newly created user.

Depending on if you’re hosting is set up to create what is called Secure FTP (abbreviated sFTP) you’ll also need the Port Number to be able to access via your FTP Client.


Okay, now that you have downloaded your FTP Client and created FTP user access within your hosting- you’re now ready to test the connection.

Go to your FTP Client on your computer, put in the information you just created- FTP username, password, hostname, and when appropriate (for sFTP connections) your Port Number. Then click connect.

With the help of the Internet Gnomes you should now be able to see everything in your hosting file structure. Which should be pretty much nothing right now since we haven’t installed WordPress yet.

NOTE :: All hosting environments are different and every computer is different with how they handle the FTP Client. It is pretty much expected to run into issues the first few times you do this- especially if all of this technology and terminology is new to you. I’m here for you! Let me know in the comments where you’re running into issues and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!


Most of you will already have the file downloaded to your computer. But for those of you that don’t, go ahead and download it from its source. Some companies put more in the download folder than you need to upload (as in, if you upload it all it won’t work). Theme Forest does this- so be sure you’re only downloaded the .zip file with the theme itself in it.

Then you’ll need to unzip or uncompress that file.


This is where you can mess things up if you’re not careful. Within you FTP Client naviagate to the root of your WordPress install. Then go to the wp-content folder > themes. Upload the folder that you just unzipped here. DO NOT upload individually the contents of the folder. You MUST upload the whole folder here.

Depending on the size of the folder and the speed of your Internet- this may take a while. Now would be a good time to refresh that cup of coffee you have.


You’ve now successfully installed your WordPress theme via FTP!