Don’t you hate it when a simple WordPress theme update turns into a major headache! We’ve all been there.  You updated your old theme, and now instead of seeing all the latest, cool theme improvements,  your site really looks messed up!

Your slider is missing slide images and custom text overlays, and all the theme customizations that you spent many hours or days creating are all gone ….. fonts,  colors and formatting are wrong,  and you’re even missing some posts and pages!

Our five minute theme update just turned into a 5 day troubleshoot project!  I wrote this article so we NEVER have to go through that again. To prevent the ‘Theme Update Nightmare’ from ruining your week,  use this checklist every time you update a theme.

How To Update a WordPress Theme

1. Backup Site

  • Updraft Plus and other backup plugins will automate this process.
    Should include copy of wp-content folder, wp-config.php file, .htaccess file in your WordPress installation folder, and WordPress database.
  • Backup Revolution Slider CSS
    If using Revolution Slider and have added custom css, backup the styles because those will be removed when you update.
  • Export all slider data for all sliders
  • Backup Theme Options
    on the Backup tab in Appearance > Theme Options > Backup.

2. Clear All Forms of Cache

This is very important. When you update your theme files, it is possible that browser, can be responsible for loading old files or settings. Clear browser, server or plugins like W3 Total Cache, plugin or server cache

3. Don’t Do This

  • Don’t keep Older Copies of the theme in WP theme folder
  • Don’t rename the theme folder

3. Update Child Theme

If you have copied template files from parent theme to child theme. Please make sure to revert to parent theme first to confirm if the issue exists there too. If it doesn’t, please update the templates copied to child theme with the parent theme.

4. Update Plugins

  • Required & Recommended Plugins Must Be Updated

Choose between updating theme using FTP, WordPress backend, or Auto Update if you are using the Avada theme.

Update Theme using FTP

  • Remove Old Theme Folder
    Remove old theme folder in WP_Content/themes/my_theme. Backup the ‘my_theme’ theme folder by saving it to your computer then delete it, or simply delete it. Content such as pages, options, images and posts will not be lost or erased but any customizations to theme’s core files, such as PHP files will be lost unless using a child theme.
  • Add New Theme Folder
    Add new theme folder by dragging and dropping the new theme folder into WP_Content/themes/

Update Theme using WordPress

  • Deactivate theme
  • Delete theme – Content such as pages, options, images and posts will not be lost or erased by doing this. However, any customizations to the theme’s core files, such as PHP files will be lost unless you’re using a child theme.
  • Upload the new theme zip file
  • Activate New Theme
  • Update any required plugins

Update Theme using Avada Auto Theme Update

1. Register product by Token Registration
How To Generate A Personal Token

      • Step 1 – Login to your ThemeForest account that was used to purchase the Avada theme.
      • Step 2 – Click on the Generate A Personal Token link provided to be directed to the Token Creation page.
      • Step 3 – Enter a name in the ‘Token Name’ field. You can use any name that will be easy to remember and associate, for example: Avada.
      • Step 4 – Under the ‘Permissions Needed’ section, make sure the following checkboxes are checked:Once registered product and an Avada update is released, you will receive an update notification in the WordPress Dashboard > Updates section of your installation and requires user acknowledgement to complete the update.

2. Click the ‘Download’ button and choose to either download the ‘Installable WordPress file only’,  which is just the WordPress installable file,  or choose to download ‘All Files & Documentation’,  which is the full Avada theme package.   After downloading the files,   decide if you want to upload the theme files via FTP or WordPress.

Google Plus Reviews

“Mark Lovett is wonderful to work with! I am a graphic designer with limited web experience, so when I needed a website for my own firm, I turned to Mark for help. He enthusiastically agreed to work with me—he did all the setup and technical work, but at the same time, we sat together and he taught me how to get in the back end and do some things myself. He was patient and had a great sense of humor as I tried to grasp this foreign language!

I would highly recommend Mark for organizations who need him to handle EVERY aspect of their website, as well as for others, like me, who need help, but also want to be able to change things themselves. Thanks to Mark, I now have a website I am extremely proud of. In addition, he made it happen quickly, which to me was imperative. Bravo Mark and many thanks!”

Lena Markley
Dovetail Design Studio