How to change the themes manually on WordPress

by Ruchira on May 30, 2013


Have you ever got struck with the black white pages while editing something on your theme? If you cant access the wp-admin to change the theme you have 2 solutions to get back up and get your wordpress site to running condition again. One is that you can delete all the theme files from wp-content folder except for the wordpress default theme. I guess that’s the most popular solution.

But what if you just want to change themes manually without going to wp-admin ? I have faced this problem. I have many themes installed on my themes directory and when I go to Appearance >Themes  only the activated theme shows up and it says

You only have one theme installed right now. Live a little! You can choose from over 1,000 free themes in the Theme Directory at any time: just click on the Install Themes tab above.

I wasn’t able to find an answer yet because and earlier it showed up correctly. If you face similar situation like me, here’s how you can change the active theme manually. To do this you need to have access to phpmyadmin because we need to change the database values here.

  • Login to phpMyAdmin and open your database. You will see the tables on the left side and choose “wp_options” table by clicking it. 
  • Now find the template and stylesheet option names and you can see that corresponding option values shows the current theme name.


  • Click the edit button on both of the values and replace the current theme name with your desired theme name and save it.

That’s it. Mentioned theme will be activated on your side and it will show up on the wp-admin control panel.


I'm Ruchira Sahan and all posts on this blog are completely my thoughts and writings. I love DIY and Technology. So feel free to contact me for anything about this blog and don't forget to add a comment if this blog helped you! Thanks
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  • Farzana Neha

    Wooho!! Just what I was looking for. Can you also tell me how to pre-install a plugin?

    • Ruchira

      What do you mean by pre-install a plugin?

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