How to Install Theme on Magento 1.9.x

Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms used by millions. Despite its popularity it’s not very user-friendly. Therefore, if you are just starting with Magento it may be tricky to install/change Magento theme. This tutorial explains what steps should be taken in order to install Magento theme.

What you’ll need

Before you begin this guide you’ll need the following:

Step 1 — Disabling Caching

The first thing you need to do is disable caching. This step is important as it prevents Magento from crashing and displaying theme incorrectly. In order to disable caching, access your Magento dashboard and follow these steps:

  1. Access System -> Cache Management section.
  2. Select all checkboxes by pressing Select All button.
  3. Choose Disable in the Actions drop-down list.
  4. Press Submit button to confirm this action.

disabling caching

Step 2 — Choosing Magento Theme

Once caching is disabled you can proceed with theme download and installation. In order to download the theme you need an account on Magento Connect. It can be easily created here.

  1. Once you are done creating an account head back to Magento administrator dashboard and navigate to System -> Magento Connect -> Magento Connect Manager section.
    theme files
  2. A new login window will open. Enter your Magento administrator dashboard username and password and press Log In button to access Magento Connect Manager.
    Login to Magento connect manager
  3. On a new page press Magento Connect button.
    Magento connect
  4. After pressing this button you will be redirected to Magento Connect website. Browse Themes section and choose desired theme category. On this tutorial we selected Computers & Electronics.
    Magento themes category
  5. Choose the theme you want to install and press on its name.
    Magento select theme
  6. Now make sure the theme is compatible with your Magento version and press Install Now button.
    Magento install button
  7. On a new window choose Magento Connect 2.0, select the checkbox to confirm that you agree to the extension license agreement and press Get Extension Key button.
    Get Extension Key
  8. A code will appear instantly when a button is pressed. Press Select Key button in order to copy the key.
    Select Extension Key

Step 3 – Installing the Theme via Magento Connect Manager

Once you have the code, head back to Magento administrator dashboard and follow these steps:

  1. Access Magento Connect Manager, paste the copied key into the Paste extension key to install field and press Install button.
    Magento install theme
  2. Magento will check dependencies of the package. If you see status Ready to install, press Proceed button (if the status is different, it means theme is not compatible with your Magento version).
    Magento installation console
  3. Theme installation will begin. Once it’s completed press Refresh button and move to the next step.
    Magento Installation Refresh button

Step 4 – Activating the Theme

Now it’s time to activate your new theme. Follow these steps in order to activate Magento theme:

  1. Navigate to Magento Dashboard -> Design section.
    theme files
  2. Once you are on Design section, hit Add Design Change button which is located at the top right corner.
    Magento Theme Install Add Design Change
  3. Press the arrow next to Custom Design dropdown menu to expand all available themes.
  4. Select the theme you have uploaded from the list (newly installed theme should be at the bottom of this list) and press Save button.
    design change

That’s it, you have just successfully installed and activated Magento theme. Now visit your store frontend to make sure theme change was successful and your store is working fine. If everything is functioning as expected enable caching in Cache Management section.


By finishing this tutorial you have learned how to download and install Magento themes. Now you can easily change the look of your online store.

About the author

Edvinas B.

Edvinas mentors and trains every new customer support agent at Hostinger. When he's not teaching new guys the secrets of providing an exceptional service, he likes to travel the world and play basketball.

1 Comment

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  • Hello,

    Simple and Easy, thanks for sharing this tutorial.

    For Magento 2, I have filter a guide which is also useful and can help other others:

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