Appearance

Themes

Table of Contents

What is a Theme?
View Themes
Search for a Theme
Theme Menu
Previewing a Theme
Activating a Theme
Premium Themes
Video – How to Switch Themes
My Content and Switching Themes
Theme Features
Sidebars and Footers
Page Templates
My Theme Doesn’t Look Like the Demo
Uploading Custom or Third-Party Themes
Browser Support


What is a Theme?

A theme is the overall look and feel of your site. A theme defines where menus and widgets appear on your site, as well as the color scheme and the default layout of pages and posts.

The Theme Gallery
Examples of Themes in our Theme Showcase

 

↑ Table of Contents ↑

View Themes

We have a Theme Showcase full of 290 different designs, layouts, and color schemes to suit your site’s needs.

  1. Click My Site(s).
  2. Scroll down the Menu to the Personalize section.
  3. Click on the Themes button.
Themes - Loading Theme Showcase
How to Access Themes

 

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Search for a Theme

With 290 available themes, you may want to narrow down the theme list to specific features or keywords.

Themes - Search and Filter

Looking for a particular theme or a feature? Enter your keyword in the search box, and you’ll only be shown themes that match.

Click on Free to filter to the themes available to all sites, or click on Premium to filter to themes included in the Premium or higher plan. Premium themes can also be purchased for use on a site that doesn’t have a Premium or higher plan.

You can further narrow down your theme results by feature, layout, columns, subject, and style.

Filtering Themes
  • Feature – theme features like a Fixed Menu, Custom Headers, and Store
  • Layout – fixed, fluid, grid, or responsive layouts
  • Columns – the number of columns in the theme, or if there is a right or left sidebar
  • Subject – examples include Art, Business, Announcement, Photography
  • Style – filter to clean, playful, simple, modern, sophisticated, or other styles

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Theme Menu

Each theme thumbnail has a menu with additional options.

  • Live demo – A specially designed site showcasing all of the features of a particular theme
  • Activate – immediately apply the theme to your live site
  • Try & Customize – view what your site with your content will look like with the new theme
  • Info – learn more about the features of the theme and how to replicate the demo. Instructions on setting up the theme can be found in Info → Overview, or Setup.
  • Support – get in touch with us for more help with the theme
Themes - Theme Menu Gif

 


 

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Previewing a Theme

Previewing a theme gives you a great opportunity to see what a theme will look like on your site with your content.

The Theme Menu
  1. From the My Site menu, click on the Themes button.
  2. Each theme has a menu next to the name of the theme just below the theme thumbnail.
  3. Click the three dots to expand the menu.
  4. Click on Try & Customize.
  5. This action takes you to the Customizer.

The Customizer 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 click around in your blog to get an idea of how the new theme will work with your content.

Themes - Activate and Publish
If you like the theme you’ve tried out, click Activate & Publish.

If you want to try a different theme, 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.


 

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Activating a Theme

Once you activate a theme, it is applied to your live site. None of your content changes, just how it’s laid out.

The Theme Menu
  1. From the My Site menu, click on the Themes button.
  2. Each theme has a menu next to the name of the theme just below the theme thumbnail.
  3. Click the three dots to expand the menu.
  4. Click on Activate to activate the theme.

When you activate a theme it may not look exactly like the theme’s demo. Use the Info option in the Themes Showcase to pull up the instructions for recreating the layout of the demo theme.


↑ Table of Contents ↑

Premium Themes

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.

Sites on the WordPress.com Personal plan can purchase a specific Premium theme to use. Those with the Premium or higher plan have unlimited access to all of the Premium themes.


↑ Table of Contents ↑

Video - How to Switch Themes


 

↑ Table of Contents ↑

My Content and Switching Themes

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:

Custom Menus

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.

Widgets

You’ll want to place your Widgets in the proper Widget locations. Like Custom Menus, each theme supports different locations, depending on the theme.

Custom CSS

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.

Custom CSS is a feature of the WordPress.com Premium plan or higher.

Retired Premium Themes

When you select a Premium theme, that theme is usually available for the lifetime of your site or blog.

Occasionally we retire themes because updates to web technology make old themes outdated both visually and functionally. When a theme is retired, you can continue to use the theme for as long as you like. However, if you switch to another theme, you will not be able to change back to a retired theme.

We’re always happy to help you find a newer and better theme for your site

If you have a retired theme and choose to upgrade to your site to the WordPress.com Business or higher plan with plugins and custom themes, the retired theme’s design may change to a newer theme so as to not cause issues with your plugins.


↑ Table of Contents ↑

Theme Features

Each theme has different features. Some allow you to set up featured content areas on your home page. Others have sidebars on the left or right of the page. Viewing a theme’s demo is a great way to see what features the theme offers.


↑ Table of Contents ↑

Sidebars and Footers can be edited through CustomizeWidgets. Each theme offers different ways of displaying your sidebar and footer widgets.

This allows you to add widgets to your site. For example, if you wanted to add a list of categories, social media icons, or contact information you’d add widgets to your sidebar or footer.

Looking for more on Widgets? We also provide a guide on how to use widgets effectively.


↑ Table of Contents ↑

Page Templates

Some themes come with different page templates. Page templates change the layout of a specific page. For example, the theme Maisha has a specific “Front Page” template.

If the theme you’ve selected has Page Templates, this is how you can apply them:

  1. Edit the page or post you want to apply the template to.
  2. Click the Settings icon on the right to load the Document menu.
  3. Go to Page or Post Attributes.
  4. Select the Template from the drop down.
  5. Click Update to apply the new Page Template.
Page Templates for Themes

↑ Table of Contents ↑

My Theme Doesn't Look Like the Demo

Many themes need additional customization to match what the demo displays. Each theme has an Info section that includes instructions on setting up the theme’s features in the Customizer.

Themes - Info for Current Theme
  1. Go to My Site → Themes
  2. Click on Info in your current theme, or Info on a thumbnail of a theme, or Info/Setup from the theme’s thumbnail menu
  3. Under either Overview, or Setup there will be sections with instructions on how to set up each of the Theme’s features.

Example: The Affinity theme uses a number of Front Page panels and Featured Images.

The Overview or Setup section explains how to properly configure them.

Themes - Affinity Setup Instructions
Themes - Info on Thumbnail
Themes - Setup

 

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Uploading a Custom or Third-Party Theme

Sites with the WordPress.com Business plan can upload third-party or custom themes to their website. To upload a third-party theme with the Business plan:

  1. Go to My Site.
  2. Click on the Themes button.
  3. Click the Upload Theme button located below the theme filters.

 

Themes - Uploading a Custom Theme

For step-by-step instructions on uploading third party themes, check out this helpful link.

Uploading & Setting Up Custom Themes


 

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Browser Support

Themes on WordPress.com support the latest two versions of browsers at Browse Happy:

  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Edge
  • Internet Explorer (11 only)
  • Safari
  • Opera
Still confused?

Contact support.

Not quite what you're looking for?

Get Help