Checklist for Migrating your WordPress Theme with Ease

Pawan Sahu

Using WordPress means a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing themes and plugins. You can switch themes anytime you want. But, it does come with a process. If you are new to WordPress, you already know how to change themes, and it is super easy. When it comes to WordPress theme migration everything you must be known.

All you need to do is select a new theme and click on “Activate.” However, before you do it, there is some checklist that you should maintain for a bug-free transition.

WordPress Theme Migration

migrating WordPress theme

In this article, we will list the checklist that you need to keep in mind when migrating WordPress theme. Let’s get started.

Checklist Before Loading the New Theme

1.Backup your website

Changing a theme can be the most trivial tasks, but it does come with its own risks. If you have a website with tons of visitors, you want to be sure that the new theme works as intended.

That’s why it is always a good idea to backup your website before making any change. The good news is that backing up the website is easy and can be done through plugins. We recommend using BackupBuddy and UpdraftPlus. These plugins backup your whole website and ensure that you don’t lose anything if something goes wrong.

You can also go for manual backups. For that, we recommend reading a guide on how to manually backup. It doesn’t matter if you are building a blog or any other type of website, backups can really put you in a safe zone, and let you experiment freely.

Also if you are using any of the top WordPress hosting, your website is automatically backed up on daily basis. Furthermore, you can ask support to create a backup before making any changes.

2.Understand what your current theme has to offer

When you install a theme, it comes with essential features and functionality. However, after some time, you add some snippets or widgets to make it more customized to your requirements. These changes are perfectly fine, and almost every other site does it. It can also be related to how a theme looks or how the fonts behave.

Before WordPress theme migration to a new one, always take notes of the important features and functionality that you have added to the theme manually. By doing so, you are safe that you won’t be losing them and can add them back when loading a new theme. Also, take note of the theme’s loading time. You can use any of the online tools such as Pingdom to learn the loading time. This will enable you to compare it with the new theme and optimize it correctly.

3.Tracking and RSS

Tracking is also a key aspect that you should take note of. Not everyone likes to use plugins for enabling tracking. They simply edit their code and foot the tracking code in the header.php. It can also be Adsense code or any other 3rd party tracking. That’s why you should know which tracking you are using and be ready to use it in the new theme.

One more thing that you need to take note of is RSS feeds. RSS feeds via FeedBurner is an easy way to set up. However many themes need to set it up again. So, learn how the FeedBurner is setup on your old them and plan how to make it work again when the new theme is installed.

4.Sidebars and Widgets

Before you change to a new theme, make sure that the new theme supports all the sidebars and widget locations supported by your old theme. This point is important considering that both sidebars and widgets play an important role in the visitor’s experience. So, before you move to a new theme, take note, and ensure that new theme supports what you need.

5.Put a Maintenance mode before making the changes

WordPress theme migration

WordPress theme migration generally doesn’t take a lot of time. However, you don’t want to ruin the experience of your visitors. That’s why always keep a maintenance mode before making a change. Also, tell the visitors an estimated time when the website will be up.

Checklist After Loading the New Theme

6.Check if everything is working fine including plugins

Great job! You loaded a new theme. However, before you can rest, you need to ensure that everything is working as intended including plugins. To do so, add all the custom code into the new theme such as tracking, custom widgets and so on.

After that, check each feature that your website has to offer. Try adding a new post, commenting, replying to a comment, deleting spam, and so on. Widgets also need to be tested if they are functioning correctly.

Similarly, you should also test if the installed plugins are working and not malfunctioning.

7.Check Cross Browser Compatibility

Not all themes are made equally. And, that’s why you need to ensure that your website is working as intended in different browsers. You need to ensure that it opens and functions correctly in major browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and so on.

8.Asking for visitors for help

You have a big website, and it is practically impossible to test everything in a short period. Just like how you care about your site, your visitors also do. That’s why you can ask them to report any bugs that they found. You can do it by putting the message through your Twitter account or better creating a widget message on your website.

9. Getting rid of useless plugins

When you change a theme, you may get many features with it. This means for many features; you don’t need plugins for. One such example would be BreadCrumbs. If your new theme supports breadcrumbs by default, there is no point in keeping a plugin for it.

10.Test loading time

Now, it is the time to test how your website is performing with the new theme. Your site might perform better or worse depending on quality or compatibility of the theme with the installation. If you find any issue, try to figure out the problem and solve it slowly and steadily.

11.Get feedback

Last, but not the least, you should get feedback on the new design. Your visitors might love something, but also hate a specific section or part of the theme. Write it down, and change it if it makes your site better


Correctly setting up your theme can take some time. It requires careful planning and decision making from your side. We hope that you liked the checklist that you need for WordPress theme migration. So what precautions and steps are you going to take? Comment below and let us know.

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Roshan Bajaj information

Roshan Bajaj is a lazy person who loves sleeping but his passion, love, and persistence for his Team, Mentors, WordPress and Digital Marketing, keeps him at work and he finds peace in it. His hobbies include finding the truth and being happy accepting it.

About Pawan Sahu information

Pawan Sahu is the founder of MarkupTrend. He is a Digital Marketer and a blogger geek passionate about writing articles related to WordPress, SEO, Marketing, Web Design, and CMS etc. Follow him on Twitter @impawansahu

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