Do you want to switch your WordPress theme?
But questions like will my site break? What will happen to the content? When should I change my WordPress theme? Are coming to your mind.
You decided to choose a new theme for your site but don’t know what will be the consequences. But you are tempted by so many options.
If this is happening to you then don’t worry. I will guide you throughout the article.
With that said let’s start with how you can change your WordPress theme without any trouble.
How Does Switching Your WordPress Theme Affect Your Site?
How will changing a theme affect your theme depends on a particular theme itself. Why? Because all themes are built differently.
There are simple themes that affect only a few things in the design. Moreover, some themes offer complex design options and affect the design very much.
Changes after switching the themes will be different in both cases. In a nutshell, the more design options a theme offers the more changes you will see after switching it.
Changes you Will See When You Switch a WordPress Theme
Although, the changes vary from theme to theme. Still, there are some most common changes you will see after switching your theme.
WordPress has a navigation system in it. Moreover, the design and location of the menu depend on the theme. Whenever you change your theme the menu and its location will change.
To set up your new menu you need to change the menu settings from the admin dashboard.
WordPress offers a great feature to create and change design from one place, which is the customizer. With the help of a customizer, you can make changes to your site while seeing the changes live.
However, how will it look and how many options it will have depends on the theme you are using.
After switching a theme, you will see different customization options. Although, some options will remain unchanged because they are there by default.
Widgets are a great way to add different elements to a WordPress website. These can be added to sidebars or any other part that the theme supports. Although, the number of widgets and their location depends on the theme itself.
When you change your theme these widgets will go inactive. You can no longer access these widgets.
Header and Footer
Themes are mostly about header and footer. Although, a multipurpose theme can be more than that. But talking about a normal theme specifically, it is about the header and footer design only.
The reason behind this is, you can make any design of your choice with page builders easily.
Many a time the available functionality of the theme isn’t enough. So we need to add code in the function.php file of the theme.
In case you have done something like this, you better keep that code saved elsewhere. Because the functions.php file is related to a particular theme, not WordPress.
So, whenever you change that theme, that added functionality goes away. That’s why it’s better to use a code snippet plugin to avoid this kind of situation.
Theme-specific Featured Posts and Slider
If you are using a slider or featured posts that are related to the theme. Then after switching the theme, this feature will go away.
If you really want to add a slider in your theme then you can add a plugin instead.
How to Switch a WordPress Theme Without Breaking the Site?
Changing a WordPress theme isn’t as simple as you think it to be. If you ever visit the WordPress theme directory, you will see there are thousands of themes available.
Don’t get me wrong it is simple if you just consider downloading and installing it. But it takes hours to find a good fit for your need.
The process becomes even more difficult if you already have data on the site. In general, everybody should use simple themes and customize them accordingly.
The reason behind this is complex themes come with their own functionalities and plugins. If you ever come into a situation where you need to change a complex theme.
You need to think twice before making a change in it. Otherwise, the process will be too lengthy and complex for you.
How to Avoid Breaking the Site While Changing a Theme
How will changing the theme affect your site depends on the theme and how you do it. So, here are the things to keep in mind while switching a theme safely.
Create a Staging Copy of Your Website
The first step while switching the theme is to create a staging environment. You may think what is a staging environment? Think about this as a place where you can do all changes you want to do without breaking anything.
The good thing is even if you break something you can start over. It is cool, isn’t it? These days most hosting providers provide this functionality. This way with just a click, you can preview everything and fix that.
The other option is to set up a local environment and work on it. But this progress is quite lengthy. So, it is better to go with a host which offers staging functionality.
Choose and Download the Theme
Now you can choose the theme you want. The good thing is you don’t even have to download a theme to preview it. From here you can choose the theme which fits your need.
After selecting the theme simply download and activate it.
Now everything is live in front of you on your staging site. Check if all things are working properly. That’s it you are good to go.
Fix Issues and Complete the Design
Now find all the missing elements which were previously available in your theme. This is the most time-taking step of the whole process. Now customize everything you want and make the site as you want.
Make Your Site Live
If everything is error-free, and running smoothly, you can make your site live. If you have followed every step properly then you should not face any problems.
At this moment, you are replacing the data of your site with staging site data so check everything properly. With that said, we have changed our theme without losing anything.
Summarizing Things Up
A theme is one of the most important parts of a website. How will your site look completely depends on which theme you use. It is also essential to grab visitors attention. So choose your theme wisely.
Although, I would not recommend changing a WordPress theme frequently as it can affect the site badly.
However, if you are in a situation where it is important for you to change your theme.
Then you know what you have to do.
If you like this guide then you may also want to see our guide on how you can use WordPress for free.
Have you ever changed a theme when you are on a live website? Do share your experience in the comments with us.