Update WordPress theme without losing customization

It is always recommended to update your WordPress theme to the latest version because it ensures the security and lets you access all the latest features.

However, when you update a Wordpress theme, the problem is you may lose all the tweaks you made to it. And, that’s the reason why WordPress experts always suggest you to use a child theme and make any tweaks in it rather than tweaking a parent theme.


That said, what if you already tweaked your current theme without using a child theme? If you don’t remember all the changes you made to the theme, how would you identify all the tweaks and replicate it to your latest version?

In this post, we’ll show you how to update your WordPress theme without losing any customization. We’re going to identify the tweaks you made into your current theme by comparing the current theme with the latest theme. Then, we’ll copy all the tweaks to the latest theme.

Let’s get started.

Update Wordpress theme step 1: Download current theme

Step 1: Download your current theme and the latest theme to your computer.

By default, WordPress don’t allow you to download your current theme. You’ll need to have FTP access in order to download it from your WordPress theme directory.

Recommended reading: How to access files like an FTP client from your WordPress dashboard

Once done, go to the official page of your current theme and download the latest version.

Compare new and old Wordpress theme

Step 2: Go to DiffNow.com to compare your current theme with the latest version

Diff Checker is a file comparison tool that help you compare differences between two files. You just need to upload two files and click Compare

Let’s see how to use DiffNow.com to compare between two WordPress themes.

Step 3: Upload two themes you would like to compare and click compare.

upload files

After clicking the Compare button, you can easily identify the differences like which files are added, which files are deleted and which files are changed.  

file comparison

Step 4: Identify the changed files. Upload those files again individually on DiffNow.com and see the code differences.

See the tweaks you made in the current theme by comparing two files individually and copy those tweaks to the latest version. Once done, overwrite your current live theme by uploading it to your WordPress theme directory using FTP.

view changes

That’s it! Once done, visit your website in order to make sure that you retained all the tweaks and everything works fine. And that is how to update a Wordpress theme.

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