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How To Update A Theme In WordPress In 2024

Are you searching for how to update a theme in WordPress? Here is a complete guide fir you.

One of the most crucial components of any WordPress site is your WordPress theme. It controls how your site appears and how your material is presented and helps it appear contemporary, expert, and consistent with your brand. Because of this, it’s critical to maintain your theme’s functionality and ensure it’s always up to date.

But sometimes, it’s more complex than that. When you update a WordPress theme that you’ve personalized, you run the risk of losing your work. You must choose which code to update and which not to if the plugins on your site are incompatible with a new theme version.

Also, you must verify that this continues to function after the upgrade if you manage a WooCommerce store using a theme that you have customized.

Why Should You Upgrade Your Wordpress Themes?

It’s crucial to keep the code on your WordPress website current. There is a good reason why WordPress, its themes, and plugins are updated. Your website may be at risk if you ignore an update.

Let’s look at the three reasons—security, compatibility, and features—why you should always keep your site updated.

1. First Security:

Security is the primary justification for regularly updating the code on your website.

Most updates to themes, plugins, and the WordPress core are security patches, quick fixes for security flaws.

 Any flaws in WordPress will be openly discussed and fixed as soon as feasible because it is an open-source system with a vibrant community that actively analyzes the software for security risks and other issues.

One advantage of WordPress is that its vibrant community makes it possible to find and resolve issues swiftly.

Nevertheless, there is a drawback: because everything is public, anyone wishing to attack your website will be aware of the issue.

To prevent being a target, you must update WordPress core, themes, and plugins as soon as updates are available.

You won’t have an excuse not to run the update if you install a reliable security plugin because you’ll be informed when a new version of a theme is available. I’ll carefully review how to accomplish it below so your site will continue functioning normally before and after the upgrade.

Yet by this point, you ought to be persuaded: maintaining your website’s updates will increase its security.

2. Consistency:

To guarantee compatibility with the most recent WordPress version, themes are also updated. This will either occur right away after the new WordPress release is released or shortly after that.

A good theme developer will test their theme(s) against new WordPress versions (as well as against the development version while it is being developed) and make any compatibility-related changes as necessary.

 However, as new WordPress versions are introduced, your theme can have compatibility issues. Articles don’t become incompatible as frequently as plugins do, but you must know this. You should always make sure you’re using the most recent WordPress version while changing your theme.

3. Third Features:

Making the most of any new features the developer may have introduced to your theme is the third reason to keep it up to date.

Themes occasionally receive updates that add new features, either as a result of user requests for these features or because the music can use new WordPress capabilities (I’m looking at you, Gutenberg) and add new features that do so.

Why not utilize new features in your theme if they could improve your website?

How To Update A Wordpress Theme Safely?

WordPress has made it incredibly easy for you to update your theme. Choose your theme by going to Dashboard > Updates and clicking the Update Themes button.

WordPress theme updating modernizing a theme but hold on! You may only have to click the Update button to finish. This will refresh your theme, of course. However, it won’t be done safely.

 Making a backup of your website is recommended every time you update any component of a WordPress website (themes, plugins, or WordPress core).

You should also test the new software to ensure everything functions as intended. Do the update on a staging version of WordPress to accomplish this without affecting your live WordPress site.

Backing Up First:

You were taking a Step Back First! Always, always make a backup of your website before doing an upgrade. If the update corrupts it, this will give you a backup copy of your site.

You’ll unlikely have any issues if you follow the following recommendations and always test on a staging server first; after all, you’ve already tried things out. Yet, it is always better to be cautious than sorry.

  • Automatic backups every day
  • Daily automatic backups with Kinsta

You get access to daily automatic backups of your website with Kinsta hosting. However, before updating, you can also make a manual backup. Do this since your website might have changed since the last automatic backup, which may have occurred.

You can restore your backup with only one click if something goes wrong during the upgrade and you must fix your website. Choose the backup by going to the Backups panel in your Kinsta dashboard and clicking the Restore to button.

 You can choose to restore to your live site or your staging site. Because you want to maintain all modifications made to your site after performing the backup, be careful to act fast (such as another user adding content).

You’ll need to utilize a backup plugin if you’re not a Kinsta customer and your hosting company only offers simple site backups. You can perform automated and manual backups with the free UpdraftPlus plugin, and restoring is comparatively easy. 

What Time To Run Updates:

Finding the ideal time to perform an update is essential to do first. Updates should be performed during a time of day (or on a day of the week) when your visitor numbers are at their lowest to minimize any downtime or interruption to your site’s visitors.

Refrain from assuming that this is around the time of day when you’re most likely not using your website; if you receive a lot of visitors from abroad, numbers may increase when you’re sleeping.

To determine the times of day with the fewest visits to your website, use a program like Google Analytics and plan updates appropriately. Once you have this knowledge, you may plan site changes for that period.

1. Updating Content On A Staging Site:

You should always test an update to your theme to ensure that it will work as intended, won’t conflict with any other code on your website, and will keep the site operational after the change.

You’ll need a clone of your website hidden from the public that you can securely breach without causing any unnecessary harm if you want to accomplish this.

A staging site is an ideal location for testing. This is because a staging site is a duplicate of your live site and is hosted on the same server. What functions on your staging site will thus also function on your live site.

Each of your sites comes with a staging environment from Kinsta, and if you need more, you can add up to five extra Premium Staging Environments. You must update your staging site before testing your theme change.

You accomplish this by erasing the current one and making a new one. Alternatively, you can restore your live site to your staging site using the recent backup you made of it.

It would be best to use the URL https://staging-sitename.kinsta.cloud, where sitename is the name of your site, once you have a copy of your live location in staging. You can log in, update, and test on the staging site by doing this.

To return to the staging environment in you’re My Kinsta dashboard, click the Push Staging to Live option once you’ve tested the change on the staging site (more on that in a moment).

Doing this will transfer all the modifications you made to your staging site to your live site. Do final tests on your live site to ensure everything is functioning flawlessly.

2. Trying Out The Upgrade:

Now that your staging site has been established, you’re prepared to deploy the theme update and want to test it. Next, what?

Take These Actions.

Verify that the theme is compatible with the WordPress version you are using. If not, WordPress might need to be updated (which always takes priority). Utilizing your staging site to test the update before releasing it live, follow this testing procedure for that update.

Upgrade the theme from the Themes screen in the WordPress admin by clicking the Update link next to the theme’s name or, if you purchased the music from a third-party vendor, by uploading the latest version.

Verify the functionality of the site’s staging version. Experiment with various content kinds (homepage, individual articles, and pages), test any custom post types or taxonomies, and update archive pages. Verify that widgets and menus are functioning correctly. Test procedures like ordering or submitting forms.

Your site will determine precisely what needs to be tested, but it’s vital to be thorough. If you skim through your site without trying all the content and workflows, you risk having users discover issues before you do, perhaps when checking out or filling out a form.

Check the theme’s support forums to see if there are any known issues if the theme update breaks the website. To view this, open your admin’s Themes screen and click on the theme to get its information.

When you click the link for this version’s details, a button to view the support forum will appear in the right sidebar. See if anyone else has experienced an issue by checking this.

Report a problem to the theme creator if this is the first time anyone else has done so. They can fix it thanks to this.

When they release a later version of the theme, ideally one that includes a patch, you’ll need to go through this step again.

If everything functions as it should, you can confidently push the staging site live, knowing you’ve given it a rigorous test.

Changing A Custom Wordpress Theme:

What if you’ve already modified the theme and want to update it without erasing your work?

As long as you can recall the changes you made, particularly the files you altered, dealing with that is more complex but still manageable.

Avoiding Issues While Upgrading Your Custom Wordpress Theme By Using A Child Theme:

The best way to update a customized WordPress theme is to add your adjustments to a child theme first. You may check your site with our WordPress theme detector tool to see if it uses a child theme if you need clarification.

To accomplish this, you must use the modified theme files to build a child theme. Follow these instructions at your staging site because your live site could be damaged if you don’t get them perfect.

Copy the parent theme to your system as a backup. This implies that you have a copy of the article that has been modified in case you need to correct any mistakes or need to make changes after updating the theme.

For your current theme, make a child theme. Provide the style sheet containing the parent’s details (see above) and a functions file that enqueues the parent’s styles.

Follow These Steps:

  • Describe any modifications you made to the functions file of the parent theme. 
  • Put your new functions into the functions file for the child theme.
  • Describe any modifications you made to the parent theme’s stylesheet. Add this code to the CSS for the child theme. This will override the parent theme’s styling for the same components, classes, or IDs.
  • Include any files you’ve altered or provide any template files. If any files are in subdirectories, use the same file structure when copying them into the child theme.
  • Instead of activating the parent theme, choose the child theme.
  • Test the website. Verify any theme modifications you made, paying particular attention to displayed pages using the template files you altered and copied over.
  • Do a second pass over your files to ensure you have everything you converted.
  • If you didn’t acquire the parent theme from the theme directory, you can update it in your staging site either through the Themes screen or by uploading the piece.
  • Retest the website. Verify that any template files you modified continue to function correctly. If anything is missing, check your backup of the updated parent theme to see if you need to copy it to your child theme.
  • Repeat the test. Push your staging modifications to live once you are confident that your staging site is functioning as expected (making sure you take a backup of your live site first). You can now launch your live site after testing it.

Summary

You now understand the significance of keeping your WordPress theme updated and, most importantly, the best practices. An updated piece will be more secure, compatible with WordPress core, and use any new features.

Therefore, it’s crucial to update correctly. Always create a backup before implementing an update (Kinsta users don’t need to worry about this), test on your staging site before pushing changes live, and only then.

There will be more work if your theme has undergone any alterations. Then, create a child theme and add any modifications you’ve made or require. This will prevent the loss of your changes when you update the parent theme.

we hope that this article has cleared up your mind regarding how to update a theme in WordPress.

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