A theme is what controls the overall look and feel of your site. This guide explains everything you need to know about themes.

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What is a Theme?

Your theme is the overall look and feel of your site. Themes define where menus and widgets appear on your website. Your site’s theme sets default color schemes, fonts, and other design features.

Themes Examples


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View Themes

We have a Theme Showcase with tons of different designs, layouts, and color schemes to suit your site’s needs.

  1. Click My Site(s).
  2. Scroll down and expand Design.
  3. Click on the Themes button.
Design - Themes
My Site → Design → Themes

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View Theme Details

Each theme thumbnail has a menu with additional options.

Theme menu options



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Preview Themes

The Live demo option in the Theme menu will open a demo site with the theme applied. You can use this option to look through the style of different pages before selecting a theme for your site.

Live Demo option
  1. From the My Site menu, click on Design and then the Themes option.
  2. Each theme has a menu next to the name of the theme just below the theme thumbnail.
  3. Click the three dots to expand the menu.
  4. Click on Live Demo.
Theme Demo Header Menu

In the Live Demo you can test how the theme looks on a Desktop, Tablet, or Mobile Device.

Preview Theme on different devices

You can click on Try & Customize to open the theme in the Customizer with your site’s content loaded.

Using the Try & Customize option will not change your live site until you decide to click on the button Activate & Publish.

The Customizer will show you a live preview of the theme with your content. It’s a great way to test drive a theme if you already have content on your site.

You can scroll up and down and click around in your site to get an idea of how the new theme will work with your content.

Theme Activate & Publish

If you want to try a different theme, click the X found in the top left corner of the Customizer window to back out and continue browsing through the theme showcase for a better fit.

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Activate a Theme

Once you activate a theme, it is applied to your live site. None of your content changes, just how it’s laid out.

Activate Theme
  1. From the My Site menu, go to Design → Themes.
  2. Each theme has a menu next to the name of the theme just below the theme thumbnail.
  3. Click the three dots to expand the menu.
  4. Click on Activate to activate the theme.

When you activate a theme it may not look exactly like the theme’s demo. Use the Info option in the Themes Showcase to pull up the instructions for recreating the layout of the demo theme.


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Search for a Theme

The default themes in the Theme Showcase are designed to work best with the Block Editor, unlocking features like full and wide width blocks. They are also designed to simplify the process of setting up your home page and site.

However, there are many available themes, and you may want a more advanced theme for your site. In My Site → DesignThemes, scroll down the page to Show All Themes.

Show All Themes button
Searching Advanced Themes

Looking for a particular theme or a feature? Enter your keyword in the search box, and you’ll only be shown themes that match.

Click Free to filter to the themes available to all sites, or click Premium to filter to themes included in the Premium or higher plan. Premium themes can also be purchased for use on a site that doesn’t have a Premium or higher plan.

You can further narrow down your theme results by feature, layout, columns, subject, and style.

Filtering Themes
  • Feature – theme features like a Fixed Menu, Custom Headers, and Store
  • Layout – fixed, fluid, grid, or responsive layouts
  • Columns – the number of columns in the theme, or if there is a right or left sidebar
  • Subject – examples include Art, Business, Announcement, Photography
  • Style – filter to clean, playful, simple, modern, sophisticated, or other styles


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Premium Themes

In addition to our many free themes, we also offer a selection of gorgeous Premium Themes that feature exciting customization options and exclusive support directly from the theme authors. Each theme has been carefully designed to help you present your message to the world.

Sites on the Personal plan can purchase a specific Premium theme to use. Those with the Premium or higher plan have unlimited access to all of the Premium themes.

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Video - How to Switch Themes


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My Content and Switching Themes

When you change a theme, nearly everything comes with you. Your posts, pages, media, blogroll and all of your content stay with you.

When you change to a new theme, there are a few things you’ll want to check afterward:

Custom Menus

You’ll want to reassign your Custom Menus to the locations you want them in the new theme. Each theme supports different locations, depending on the theme.


You’ll want to place your Widgets in the proper Widget locations. Like Custom Menus, each theme supports different locations, depending on the theme.

Custom CSS

The only thing that would not come with you is Custom CSS, because that is theme-specific. You will find your past CSS in the CSS revisions link located at My Sites → Design Customize Additional CSS.

Custom CSS is a feature of the Premium plan or higher.

Retired Premium Themes

When you select a Premium theme, that theme is usually available for the lifetime of your site or blog.

Occasionally we retire themes because updates to web technology make old themes outdated both visually and functionally. When a theme is retired, you can continue to use the theme for as long as you like. However, if you switch to another theme, you will not be able to change back to a retired theme.

We’re always happy to help you find a newer and better theme for your site.

If you have a retired theme and choose to upgrade to your site to the Business or higher plan with plugins and custom themes, the retired theme’s design may change to a newer theme so as to not cause issues with your plugins.

P2 has a product called P2. P2 does not allow its theme to be changed.

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Theme Features

Each theme has different features. Some allow you to set up featured content areas on your home page. Others have sidebars on the left or right of the page. Viewing a theme’s demo is a great way to see what features the theme offers.

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Sidebars and Footers can be edited through Design → Customize → Widgets. Each theme offers different ways of displaying your sidebar and footer widgets.

This allows you to add widgets to your site. For example, if you wanted to add a list of categories, social media icons, or contact information you’d add widgets to your sidebar or footer.

Looking for more on Widgets? We also provide a guide on how to use widgets effectively.

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Page Templates

Some themes come with different page templates. Page templates change the layout of a specific page. For example, the theme Maisha has a specific “Front Page” template.

If the theme you’ve selected has Page Templates, this is how you can apply them:

  1. Edit the page or post you want to apply the template to.
  2. Click the Settings icon on the right to load the Document menu.
  3. Go to Page or Post Attributes.
  4. Select the Template from the drop down.
  5. Click Update to apply the new Page Template.
Page Templates for Themes

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My Theme Doesn't Look Like the Demo

Many themes need additional customization to match what the demo displays. Each theme has an Info section that includes instructions on setting up the theme’s features in the Customizer.

Theme - Info Button
  1. Go to My Site → Design Themes
  2. Click Info in your current theme, or Info on a thumbnail of a theme, or Info/Setup from the theme’s thumbnail menu
  3. Under either Overview, or Setup there will be sections with instructions on how to set up each of the Theme’s features.

Example: The Ovation theme uses a number of Front Page panels and Featured Images.

The Overview or Setup section explains how to properly configure them.

Theme Setup Screen
Click on the image to see a larger version.
Click Info on a theme thumbnail to learn more about the theme
Click Setup to access step by step instructions for setting up a theme.


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Uploading a Custom or Third-Party Theme

Sites with the Business plan or higher can upload third-party or custom themes to their website. To upload a third-party theme with the Business plan:

  1. Go to My Site.
  2. Go to Design → Themes.
  3. Click the Install Theme button located below the information about your current theme.


Theme - Install

For step-by-step instructions on uploading third party themes, check out this helpful link.

Uploading & Setting Up Custom Themes


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Browser Support

Themes on support the latest two versions of browsers at Browse Happy:

  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Edge
  • Internet Explorer (11 only)
  • Safari
  • Opera
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