Choose a WordPress theme
Step 1 of the Build my WordPress site series.
Let's explore what a WordPress theme is, how it affects your site, how to pick one, and some ways you can customize how it looks.
Note: Some of our hosting plans offer premade templates. If you see the option to pick a template the first time you sign in to your WordPress dashboard, this step of the series is not relevant for you, but we recommend reading it anyway because it's good to know if you wish to change to a different theme later.
What's a WordPress theme?
A WordPress theme determines how your site looks and behaves. For example, you can change your site's layout, fonts, and colors by switching to a different theme. Don't worry—a theme change won't remove content (like images, links, and text) you added to your site. It only affects the way that content is displayed.
Who makes themes for WordPress?
Just about anyone can create a WordPress theme. A theme author can choose to offer it for free or charge a fee for you to use it. GoDaddy has created WordPress themes that are pre-installed on some of our hosting and Managed WordPress plans, but you don't have to use these. Find the theme that works best for you, your business, and your site.
What type of theme should I pick?
There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes to choose from. Themes come with a variety of colors, styles, and additional features, which can make selecting the right theme for your site feel overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you select your theme:
- Look at websites from your industry and take note of the features you like and the ones you don't.
- Consider which colors you want to use. Does your brand or logo use a certain color you want on the site, as well?
- Do you want the main navigation along the top or down the left side of your site?
- What type of fonts do you want to use?
Besides the different options that affect the design of the website, there are also differences in your editing experience depending on whether you choose a classic theme with the Theme Customizer or a block theme with the Site Editor. Here you can find out more about block-based themes in WordPress.
How do I find and install a new theme?
After you have an idea of what you want from your theme, here's how to find, install, and activate your new theme.
- Search and install a theme from within your WordPress dashboard. After it's installed, activate the theme to start using it on your site.
Note: You might select a theme that is bundled with a parent theme. This "child theme" works the same way as a regular theme. Advanced users can learn more about child and parent themes.
- Use your preferred search engine to find companies offering free and premium themes. When you find one you like, download the theme .zip file and install it from that file through your WordPress admin dashboard. To make the new theme visible on your site, activate the theme.
How do I customize my theme?
Themes should allow some customization options for the colors, fonts, and other design elements. However, some theme authors may limit theme-specific settings to very basic options or none. Here are a couple ways to see what can be changed with your theme:
- Depending on what's available for your theme, use the theme customizer built into your WordPress dashboard or Site Editor. Often you can change some of your theme's features using these tools. The options vary from theme to theme.
- Look through the official documentation provided by the company that developed the theme.
You can only customize the currently active theme.