WordPress Theme

WO2015 used Ask the Experts™

I have two different wordpress sites.  I want to use the same theme on both. The theme being used I believe is a custom made theme by someone prior to me maintaining the page.  How can I get the same theme from one wordpress to another? I have all the login info:
birminghamsoftball.com - this is the page with the main theme
birminghamjags.com  - this is the page we want to add the same theme too:

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Download the theme via FTP and zip it.  Go to new site and add it as a theme.  If it is a Child theme, you must also install the parent theme.  If you are having an issue, post a screen shot of your wp-content/themes folder content and indicate which theme you want to use.  Also do the same with the new site theme folder.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018
This is more complex than you might imagine.

The only 100% sure way is if you have the actual .zip file used to install the theme on your first site.

Because, almost every theme runs what are called install hooks, which do things like create wp_options table entries + may even create new tables.

If you just copy the theme files from one site to another (FTP, rsync, tarball, whatever method) you'll only copy the files.

Meaning none of the install hooks run.

This almost always ends up with a completely trashed site. If you're lucky, the theme will sense missing wp_options + missing tables, then attempt to repair this situation + most theme coders... sigh... let's see... how to say this...

Very few theme coders have sufficient experience to build this level of sophistication into their themes.

This is highly dependent on how the theme is implemented.

If you have only a Child Theme, like Robert mentions above, you can sometimes copy over the Child Theme files.

This only works if the Parent Theme can be installed via a normal .zip file + also the Child Theme runs no install hooks.

Tip: If you have a custom theme, you have a mess because no one will be updating your theme to handle...

1) PHP changes, so eventually your theme will likely crash your site.

2) WordPress API changes, same as #1.

3) Fixing security issues, so many custom themes become hackable over time.

4) Many custom themes have built in backdoors put their by developers. Just test a few premium themes + you'll be surprised by all the backdoors you find.

Suggestion: Likely good to hire someone who works with recovering sites from custom themes (moving to supported themes) + work through if this is required, then figure out best approach.

A person like this will also be able to look at your custom theme + determine if it can be cloned to a new site or not.

Tip: Sometimes you can just zip up all the theme files + then install the .zip file which will fire the install hooks. Sometimes this works + sometimes not. Again, a good WordPress person will be able to assist you making this determination.


I appreciate the help, I am not sure what will happen but I am going to try some things, thank you.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

You're welcome!

Just be sure to backup your site completely, using a real WP backup plugin like - Duplicator, BackupBuddy, BlogVault.

This if you have any problems, you can just restore your site.


Will do. The problem is, the site with the custom theme, we do not have the hosting info for. We have the wordpress data for editing. Its a long story but the guy who owns the company passed away. We own the domain name and are trying to get the hosting info or at least the theme .zip files as you suggested from the company.

In saying that do you know any good site for free or cheap themes? I may have to go this route in redesigning the current site. This is just a local softball team so it doesn't need to be amazing but we want something better than what we have. Something close to what the other is.

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