• How do I correctly change a WordPress theme for a live website?

  • Sybil Rush: "I have a live WordPress website and I want to change the theme. I'm told that after I do the backup, I just activate the new theme and it all moves over.

    Will I need to go in and fine-tune or will everything move to where I want them? In the new theme, the pages are actually blog posts. Will this cause a problem?"


    Nexus Themes: "it all moves over"? No, nothing "moves".

    You don't state what your goal is with the theme change, so it's difficult to provide advice when not knowing the end result you have in mind. So I'm going to make a number of assumptions here. One is that you want to take advantage of features of the new theme, which are absent in your current one. I assume you don't want to change the theme so it changes the look-and-feel of your site. For instance, a totally different homepage layout and the like.

    If with "it all moves over" you mean your current content, e.g. pages and posts, it totally depends in what way that content was created. There are a number of options.

    1. The content was created with what WordPress offers out of the box. Swapping themes does not have any effect. Your content "moves over".

    2. The content was created with a plugin / website builder tool (Elementor, Beaver Builder WPBakery etc. Changing themes does not impact the content, unless there's some sort of compatibility issue with your new theme and the plugin.

    3. Content was created with the theme soon not to be used anymore. Example of this would be no longer the Divi theme. When the new theme is activated, the content created with the old theme (Divi) is still there, but since the way it was created is (always) incompatible with your new theme, the new theme is unable to show it. It might seem you've "lost" content. Re-activating the old theme will let your content reappear. Exception to this rule is if the new theme is from the same theme supplier and has the same integrated website builder software (and runs the same version as the old theme).

    Make sure to have a working backup in place before swapping themes. Or else you might be here again with a different question related to restoring a broken site.