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!
Important: As we always tell you in our tutorials, please 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 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 we can see the stylesheets side by side, and tell what is going to be different in my files for the next step.
Install new version
Now that you know how to compare your CSS files and have backed up our files, we can update 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.
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.