Update a WordPress Theme without Losing Customization

How To Update a WordPress Theme without Losing Customization

Unique thing about WordPress is the ability to customize either plugins or themes to your taste.

You can do this by taking your customization to the next level by the use of CSS styles and code snippets to your WordPress theme.

But issues arises when an update is available for themes, to the extend that if you are not careful you might lose some of the changes you made to your theme.

We will show you how to easily update a WordPress theme,how to properly customize your themes without losing customization,so you are not affected when a new theme update is released.

What Themes Does in WordPress


A WordPress theme is a tool to change the layout and design of your website. Themes customize the appearance of your site, including the layout, typography, color, and other design elements.

Themes take the content and data stored by WordPress and display it in the browser. When you create a WordPress theme, you decide how that content looks and is displayed. There are many options available to you when building your theme. For example:

  • Your theme can have different layouts, such as static or responsive, using one column or two.
  • Your theme can display content anywhere you want it to be displayed.
  • Your theme can specify which devices or actions make your content visible.
  • Your theme can customize its typography and design elements using CSS.
  • Other design elements like images and videos can be included anywhere in your theme.
  • WordPress themes are incredibly powerful. But, as with every web design project, a theme is more than color and layout. Good themes improve engagement with your website’s content in addition to being beautiful.

How Theme Updates Work in WordPress?

WordPress comes with a powerful system to install updates for not just WordPress itself but for plugins and themes as well.

Your WordPress website regularly checks for updates and display them under Dashboard » Updates page.

wordpress theme updates

When a theme update becomes available, you’ll also see a notification on the Appearance » Themes page.
Which are really important for the security and performance of your WordPress website. Aside from security and bug fixes, theme developers can also introduce new features with these updates.

Just click on the update button to install the new version, wordPress will then download the theme package, unzip it, and replace the old files with the newer version.

This will overwrite all old theme files installed on your website. If you manually added custom code to your WordPress theme files, then you’ll lose those changes.

Customization you can lose during WordPress updates

If you have added any code to your theme’s functions.php file, then it will disappear. Any CSS changes that you have added directly to your theme’s stylesheet (style.css) file will also be wiped off.

Popular WordPress themes like Astra, Divi, Beaver Builder, Elementor, etc now come with companion plugins. These plugins are used to add extra features to your theme. Any theme changes made using these companion plugins are also not affected by the theme update.

If you customize your WordPress layout using a WordPress page builder then those changes will also not be impacted.

Any other features that you have added to your website using a plugin are also safe. For example, your WordPress contact forms, Google Analytics, email newsletter popups, and more.

How to restore customization after the theme update.

  • First thing you need to do is connect to your WordPress hosting account using an FTP client OR use Wp File Manager.Once connected, go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder and download your theme folder to your computer.This folder will be the backup of your theme, and we will use it later to copy and paste customizations after updating the theme.
  • Now transfer customizations we have made to the old theme files to the updated version.Simply visit your theme’s website and download the latest version to your computer. Locate the theme’s zip file and extract it.You should now have both, the new version and your old customized theme on your computer.If you remember the changes you made to your theme, then simply copy and paste the code snippets from the old theme to the new version.You can then copy and paste the code from the old theme file to the same file in the new theme.
  • After copying your changes to the new theme, you are now ready to upload the updated version to your website.
  • Simply connect to your website using the FTP client and go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder. Select the new theme folder and update it to your website.Your FTP client will warn you that the files with the same name already exist. You need to choose <strongOverwrite to make sure that your old theme files are replaced by new files.
  • You have successfully updated your WordPress theme. Visit your website to make sure that everything is working as expected.

How to Avoid Losing Changes During Theme Update

If you want to add code snippets or custom styles to your WordPress theme, then there are some best practices that you should follow.

The best solution is to create a child theme and add your custom code to child theme’s files.

We hope we have done justice to this,If you have any issue on this, You can use our comment session or join our delegate on Facebook to solve any issues related to WordPress and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials.

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