A theme controls the general look and feel of your site including things like page layout, widget locations, and default font and color choices. WordPress.com has a wide range of themes for you to choose from in the Theme Showcase where each theme has an about page that includes features and instructions. New themes are always being added, so click on the Trending view in the Theme Showcase to see what’s new and popular. You can change your theme as often as you like.
Watch the video below for a quick overview of how to change your theme, and read below for more examples and settings.
Here’s an example of a theme, Edda:
Activate a Theme
To activate a theme, go to My Sites → Themes in any site’s dashboard or the Theme Showcase. Click on the three dots to the right of the theme’s name and then click on Activate.
The active theme is shown at the very top of My Sites → Themes.
Please note that the currently selected theme will not appear in the results when browsing or searching for other themes.
To view all 380 themes available, go to the Theme Showcase or My Sites → Themes menu option in your site’s dashboard.
You can sort themes by clicking the links for Trending, Popular, and Newest at the top of the page, and you can filter those results for Free or Premium.
Additional filters are available in the Theme Showcase for popular types of themes such as photography, food, music, portfolio, business, and more. You can also filter by feature, such as Custom Header or Post Slider, or by layout, color, or price.
Looking for a particular theme or a feature? Enter your keyword in the search box, and you’ll only be shown themes that match.
The search is real time and the count number shows the number of themes that match your search criteria. Note that the search results will be sorted according to your viewing mode, such as Trending.
To preview a theme before activating it, go to My Sites → Themes. Click on the three dots to the right of the theme’s name, and then click on Try & Customize.
This action takes you to the Customizer, which will show you a live preview of the theme with your content. It’s a great way to test drive a theme if you already have content on your site.
You can scroll up and down and even click around in your blog to get an idea of how the new theme will work with your content.
If you like what you see, click the Save & Activate or Purchase button in the top left corner of the Customizer window. Click the X found in the top left corner of the Customizer window to back out and continue browsing through the theme showcase for a better fit.
Another way to preview is to look at the demo site for the theme. You can get to the demo site by going to My Sites → Themes. Click on the three dots to the right of any theme’s name and then click on Details. You’ll be taken to detailed information on that theme. You can try out the theme by clicking on the Demo button that appears on the top right of the details screen. The Theme Showcase also has direct links to each theme’s demo site.
Clicking on a theme’s thumbnail will show you a preview of that theme in the Customizer. If you like this theme, click the Save & Activate or Purchase button in the top left corner of the Customizer window. Click the X found in the top left corner of the Customizer window to back out and continue browsing through themes to find one more suited to your site.
If you already know this is the theme you want, you can go ahead and click on Save & Activate or Purchase. Purchasing a theme will activate it by default.
Sidebar Elements in Older Themes
Some older themes offer a set of sidebar elements. For example, the Nuntius theme offers a search bar and an archives list as default sidebar elements. You will notice that when you go to My Sites → Customize → Widgets these elements will NOT appear among your Current Widgets. To remove these sidebar elements, go to My Sites → Customize → Widgets and add one or more widgets to the widget area. This will replace all sidebar elements with the widget(s) of your choice.
For comprehensive information on WordPress.com widgets, please see our widget documentation.
In addition to our many free themes, we also offer a selection of gorgeous Premium Themes that feature exciting customization options and exclusive support directly from the theme authors. Each theme has been carefully designed to help you present your message to the world.
If you like switching themes often or want unlimited access to the newest premium theme offerings, you might like the Business upgrade.
When you change a theme, nearly everything comes with you. Your posts, pages, media, blogroll and all of your content stay with you.
When you change to a new theme, there are a few things you’ll want to check afterward:
You’ll want to reassign your Custom Menus to the locations you want them in the new theme. Each theme supports different locations, depending on the theme.
You’ll want to place your Widgets in the proper Widget locations. Like Custom Menus, each theme supports different locations, depending on the theme.
The only thing that would not come with you is Custom CSS, because that is theme-specific. You will find your past CSS in the CSS revisions link located at My Sites → Customize → CSS.
Uploading Custom Themes
Instead of uploading a theme, try checking out the current theme collection to see if there’s an option there that will work well for you.
WordPress.com does not offer the option to modify theme files directly, however, you may make changes to a theme by adding CSS if you purchase the WordPress.com Premium or WordPress.com Business plans, both include the Custom Design feature. Custom Design also comes with custom fonts and colors which let you change entire color palettes and font selections for themes with a few clicks, no coding required.
You do not need to know how to code to change fonts or colors using the built in tools, however, you do need to have some CSS knowledge to make changes using the CSS Editor. Our support team can help you get started in the CSS Customization forum. We also provide links to tips, tutorials, and books on our Custom CSS page.
Note that Custom Design does not allow you to edit core PHP or template files. Learn More.
Themes on WordPress.com support the latest two versions of browsers at Browse Happy:
- Internet Explorer (11 only)