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Change a WordPress theme with SSH

Updated Apr 30th, 2021 at 15:30 BST

You can change the currently active theme from within SSH. This is a more advanced method but can be more efficient for developers who manage multiple WordPress sites.

Warning: The information in this article is advanced material we make available as a courtesy. Please be advised that you are responsible for properly following the procedures below. Customer Support can't assist with these topics.

You should always back up your site before performing any changes.

Connect to your server or shared hosting account with SSH

Connect to MySQL using the following command:

            mysql -u username -h host database -P port -p

Enter the database information from your database as follows:

username is your database username

host is your database hostname or IP address

database is the database name

port is the port MySQL is running on (by default this is 3306)

When prompted, enter the password for that MySQL user.

Once connected, enter the following command to check your current theme and child theme:

                 select * from wp_options where option_name = 'template' or option_name = 'stylesheet';

To change the template, enter the following command:

            update wp_options set option_value = 'themeName' where option_name = 'template';

Update the command as follows:

themeName is the name of the new theme

To change the stylesheet, enter the following command:

           type update wp_options set option_value = 'themeName2' where option_name = 'stylesheet';

Update the command as follows:

themeName2 is the name of the new theme or child theme

After changing the template and stylesheet, type exit; to close out of SSH.

Warning: If your WordPress database uses custom table prefixes, then you must replace wp_ in each command with the prefix listed in your wp-config.php file.