Ever since the initial release of WordPress in 2003, blogging has never been the same. I would say it was made pretty much easier, faster, secure and fun. WordPress does combine all these great features and is currently used by millions worldwide.
So many themes get rolled out each day on various stores and several of them are phased out as well. These themes have names and their respective release versions along with other vital information like author name and address. So did you just buy a theme and feel like you need to change its name to something else or rather are you creating your own theme from scratch and feel it deserves that bad-ass name you have been thinking of all along?
Changing the name of a WordPress theme is way simpler than you think but can cause complications as well especially to those that are not so conversant with editing files in WordPress.
I am going to show you the best way you can change the name of your theme without any complications along with some precautions you have to take. I will also air out some of the common issues that may arise and how you can solve them.
What you should know!
When you activate a theme, WordPress saves the theme details in the database hence, in some rare cases especially if your site is running an older version of WordPress, altering the name of an already activated theme might cause issues on the front end. This is because WordPress is not able to relate the name it saved in the database to the new name you just gave your theme.
To be on a safe side, you can roll your site back to the default theme and follow the steps i am about to share below to change the name of your WordPress theme then reactivate the theme again. That way, you will make the changes without an issue.
So how do you alter WordPress theme name?
Now this is where the challenge comes. I assume that you are at least conversant with using a ftp client to download and upload files on your server or rather visiting your website’s control panel manually and editing files.
If your website is running version 4.7 plus of WordPress then your story might be cut short a bit or perhaps made pretty much simpler as you may have to make the changes from your dashboard. It is possible to edit your theme’s stylesheet even in older versions of WordPress but it does have a risk attached to it.
I am going to illustrate two ways you can change the name of a WordPress theme. We simply have to alter the main stylesheet (style.css) of your WordPress template. Please ensure to backup your theme before altering its files.
Change name via WordPress Dashboard
If you are logged in to WordPress back end as an administrator then you should have access to your current theme files.
The only flaw to this is you have to first activate a theme before you can access its files directly through the dashboard. Maybe in future WordPress will patch this up so that users are able to edit files of non-active themes directly through their dashboard. It will definitely save a lot more!
To change name of WordPress theme through WordPress back end, simply navigate to the main menu, hover on “Appearance” and the click on “Editor”.
When you click on “Editor”, the file we are looking to alter (style.css) will appear right away on the next screen that loads.
You should see Theme name, version, description and more right at the top of the stylesheet. Endeavor to first copy the current name of the theme then fill in a different name, save and your changes should reflect right away.
The next step is to check whether your site is running well.
Clear your cache plus cookies and try visiting the front end of your website to check if your site is running well. If you realize your site is broken, deactivate the theme and reactivate it again to overwrite changes in the database.
To confirm your new theme name is active, hover on the “Appearance” tab and click on “Themes”. A new page that lists all your themes will open and you should see the new name.
Change through direct server access
Alternatively, you could decide to access your theme’s stylesheet; style.css directly using a FTP Client or through your web hosting control panel. This file can be found under /wp-content/themes/theme-directory where “theme directory” is the directory of your active theme.
Simply make respective changes to the style.css file as illustrated above, save the file and your theme name should change and reflect right away in your dashboard. Please do this after backing up the file and that way you will have a fresh copy of the file to retrieve in case anything doesn’t go right.
If your website breaks, try deactivating the theme and reactivate it again to overwrite changes in the database.
Wrapping it up
Changing a WordPress theme name is as simple as that. If you want theme detectors to display your new name then you either have to delete the readme.txt file in the root of your WordPress theme folder or alter it to display your new details.
If this tutorial worked for you, do not hesitate to share with your friends. Also, drop me a comment below if you encounter any problem in the procedure.