Installing a WordPress theme is among the first things a new WordPress website owner considers. A portion of owners uses third-party themes while the other creates a theme from scratch. Users who are both experienced and aware of who owns WordPress, simply modify themes (and templates) freely. They pick a solid theme as a foundation, customize things to their liking, and get an excellent result in a fraction of the time it would’ve taken them to start from zero. As a final touch, they learn how to change a theme name in WordPress. You can do the same easily, so let’s begin.
Warning. Before you proceed with altering the theme name, know you can no longer automatically update the theme through WordPress Dashboard afterward. You can, however, update the theme manually without issues.
1. Changing WordPress theme folder name via FTP
Before you begin switching the theme name, we strongly recommend you either make a manual backup by copying the theme folder (step 7) or using one of the backup plugins for WordPress. It’s also a good practice to put your WordPress website under Maintenance Mode for the time being. With that acknowledged, follow these steps to change the name of the WordPress theme folder using FTP:
- Access your WordPress Admin Section.
- Expand the menu on the left-hand side. Click on Appearance > Themes.
- Disable the theme you want to alter by clicking on Deactivate below its name.
- Access your WordPress website via FTP.
- Go to your public_html folder. Its name might also be www, root, or yourwebsite.
- Now, go to /wp-content/themes/.
- Inside the themes folder, find the theme folder whose name you want to alter.
- Right-click on it, select Rename, enter a new theme name, then confirm the decision.
2. Change WordPress theme name in name in style.css
Even with a changed name, people can still know which theme your WordPress website uses. That’s because you have yet to change its main stylesheet file. Here’s what to do:
- Choose one of the 2 ways to open the stylesheet:
- Open the public_html/wp-content/themes/new-theme-name/ folder, and open the style.css file.
- In the WordPress Admin Dashboard, click on Appearance > Editor. Select your new theme from the drop-down list, then click on Select.
- Edit the title next to Theme Name: at the top of the page (above Theme URI (parent theme) or Template: (child theme)).
- Click on Update File (method 2) or Save (method 1).
3. Reactivate the theme and clean up traces
All that’s left now is to follow sub-steps 1 and 2 under step 1. Then, click on Activate below the name of the new theme. If everything looks fine, you’ve successfully altered the WordPress theme name. If some things are missing, you might have to:
- Remove credits footer in WordPress
- Edit header in WordPress
- Check your posts and pages for the mentions of the old theme name and remove them.
My theme customizations are gone. What do I do?
Don’t panic. If you made custom widgets or menus or installed a WordPress plugin that affects the theme’s appearance, they won’t appear because WordPress treats your custom theme as a brand-new theme. So, while the files are there, they simply aren’t assigned to it. To fix that, you’ll have to access the WordPress database like this:
- Download a SQL editor software such as MySQL Workbench or NavicatSQL or open your cPanel and go to Databases > phpMyAdmin. It might be slightly different for your cPanel.
- Sign in with SQL hostname or IP address and port, if needed. These details were configured by your web hosting provider.
- Go to the wp_options table.
- Locate the option named theme_mods_old-theme-name.
- Find the corresponding options_value column, and copy the entire value.
- Locate the option called theme_mods_new-theme-name.
- Paste the entire thing under its options_value.
- Clarification. On some themes, there are 2 options named stylesheet, and template. You must copy both option_values and paste them to the respective options_value for the new theme.
- Customizations made before renaming the old theme now apply to the new theme.