One of the things we pride ourselves in here at Restored 316 is providing premium support for our themes and our customers. Keeping a website up to date and making sure that everything is working the way that it should be shouldn’t be your problem. You’ve got content to manage and produce, products to sell or social media to keep up with. Making sure that your theme is running isn’t something you have the time to worry with. That’s why we strive to keep our themes updated and running at the highest possible functionality!
However, occasionally, we do have to update the style and the coding of a theme. Which means that if you have made any customizations to your purchased theme (the CSS mainly) you’ll need to update it without losing your changes. No one wants to have to pay a second time for your site to be customized and more often than not, no one wants to have to worry about losing all of their changes and having to start all over from scratch.
Today, we’ll show you how you can update and not lose those changes!
Make sure that you make a backup copy of your existing theme files!
If you’ve made any changes to your theme (your CSS especially) you’ll want to make sure that you go in and copy those. If you know how to get into your file manager through your hosting, you can download your site in its entirety. Otherwise, you’ll just want to open up the text program on your computer and copy and paste your files and then save them.
You can find all of your theme files directly in WordPress by going to APPEARANCE > EDITOR. From there just click on the file you want to view and copy. You can find the changelog for each theme here so you’ll know which files have been changed and adjusted with the update.
The easiest tool that I have found to make these changes is Diff Now. This is a free program that allows you to upload two files and compare them side by side to see the differences.
Here you’ll see that the first file is the original CSS file for the Adorn theme (which is our most recently updated theme) and the second file is the newest CSS file. Once I upload both of those and hit COMPARE I can see the differences between the two themes.
Now that I can see the stylesheets side by side, I can tell what is going to be different in my files.
Hang on…you’re not finished.
Now that you know how to compare your CSS files (and I know you’ve already made a copy of the files you have installed now) you can update your theme. If you’re familiar with how to access your file manager, you can open that up to the theme files for whichever theme you are using and either edit those directly or upload the new ones). If you’re less familiar with the file manager or FTP, you can choose to replace your theme.
First, you’ll want to activate a theme that is currently not active. I tend to just choose to activate the Genesis Framework so that I don’t have to keep a bunch of excess themes in my files. Once you do that, you’ll want to DELETE your existing child theme. Once you do that, you’ll upload the new one. This will allow you to add all of the new updates and theme files at once.
For example, the Darling theme was recently updated and we had to add some extra files and make some changes to the functions file in the theme to make way for the category indexing option. With the Adorn theme, we’ve added the ability to use the WordPress Customizer. So there will definitely be some changes to various aspects of the theme files.
Once you delete the old theme files and upload the new ones, you’ll be ready to put your customizations back into place!
This is where you’ll be able to use the DiffNow site to upload the old files/your copies of the files you had activated and the new files to see what’s different so that you can paste that back in.
Let me stress something…
If you see something that was not in the old theme files do not remove it from your new files. We’ve added some features and functions with these updates so if you remove any new coding that you may see in your updated files, you’ll lose those capabilities and that formatting.
As always feel free to leave us a comment or contact us if you’re having any issues! If this seems a little bit overwhelming to you and you think you’d like to hire us to do that for you, you can also browse our customization options! We’d be happy to help you update your files!
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