Updating a WordPress Theme from Themeforest

Quite often I get asked “How do I update my theme?” and for a while I’ve been linking to outside resources, so I thought it’s best if I wrote something up on this.

It goes without saying that you should ensure you’ve backed up your site before updating anything, also if you’ve been modifying theme files (code) directly, ensure you move your modifications to a child theme otherwise you’ll overwrite all your hard work, in future never modify core theme files, always use a child theme.

Option 1: The Beginners Option

Here’s the most simple way of updating your WordPress theme that’s purchased from ThemeForest:

  1. We need an easy way of overwriting the theme files, since WordPress doesn’t support this, we need a plugin, install this plugin: Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades
  2. Go to the downloads page of your ThemeForest account here: http://themeforest.net/downloads
  3. Find the theme you’re updating from the list, click the big green “download” button once, and from the drop down menu choose “installable WordPress file only”installable
  4. Upload the downloaded zip file to your WordPress installation via “appearance” -> “themes” -> “add new”, just like you did when you first installed the theme.
  5. Thanks to the plugin mentioned in step 1, you’ll now get an “upgrade existing” option after uploading your theme, without the plugin you’d just get an error.
  6. Finally, clear your browsers caches and your all set

Option 2: The Automatic Option

Envato offer an automatic update solution for ThemeForest themes by using “Market Plugint”, see the full details of this here: https://envato.com/market-plugin/

Note that this is option 2 as I had noticed a few bugs with this plugin in the past, though some swear by it! Once updated, clear your browsers caches and your all set

Option 3: The FTP Upload (Advanced Users)

Another way to update your theme is via FTP, that is, you connect to your server and manually overwrite the theme folder. To do this grab the theme files mentioned from Option 1, with these in hand, unzip the file you have, you should have a folder just called THEMENAME (being the name of your theme)

Now the next step is simple, connect to your server via FTP (if you don’t know how to do this, use option 1) navigate to /wp-content/themes/, do not just overwrite the theme folder – here’s why. In previous updates to my themes, files have been deleted or relocated, if you just overwrite the folder then these files will remain, this can cause issues (especially with WooCommerce), here’s what you should do instead: Delete the THEMENAME folder that’s on your server, and then re-upload the new THEMENAME folder, this ensures that your new theme is 100% correct.

Once done, clear your browsers caches and your all set


  1. HI,
    I bought your Greenwhich Village template recently and want to change my current theme to this. Is there a way of doing this without having to take my current website down? Ie, to build it and once we’re happy with everything, change it?

  2. In addition, the Envato Market plugin also lets you install and update any of your ThemeForest themes directly from the dashboard. Let’s look into how you can install the Envato Market plugin and easily update your ThemeForest WordPress themes.

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