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How to Manage WordPress Themes with WP-CLI

WP-CLI makes it quick and easy to manage your WordPress themes.

To use WP-CLI, first, SSH in to your server as your WordPress app's system user; do not use root with WP-CLI as it could break your app.

Then, navigate to your app's public directory by entering the following commands, replacing "APPNAME" with your app's name:

cd apps
cd public

Now, type wp theme and press Enter. You'll be given a list of the acceptable arguments for this command:

usage: wp theme activate <theme>
   or: wp theme delete <theme>...
   or: wp theme disable <theme> [--network]
   or: wp theme enable <theme> [--network] [--activate]
   or: wp theme get <theme> [--field=<field>] [--fields=<fields>] [--format=<format>]
   or: wp theme install <theme|zip|url>... [--version=<version>] [--force] [--activate]
   or: wp theme is-installed <theme>
   or: wp theme list [--<field>=<value>] [--field=<field>] [--fields=<fields>] [--format=<format>]
   or: wp theme mod <command>
   or: wp theme path [<theme>] [--dir]
   or: wp theme search <search> [--per-page=<per-page>] [--field=<field>] [--fields=<fields>] [--format=<format>]
   or: wp theme status [<theme>]
   or: wp theme update [<theme>...] [--all] [--format=<format>] [--version=<version>] [--dry-run]

See 'wp help theme <command>' for more information on a specific command.

This tutorial will cover the most common uses for wp theme.

To List Installed Themes

Enter this command to show a summary of your installed themes' various states:

    wp theme list

The output will look similar to the following:

| name            | status   | update | version |
| twentyfifteen   | inactive | none   | 1.7     |
| twentyseventeen | active   | none   | 1.1     |
| twentysixteen   | inactive | none   | 1.3     |

This displays the active theme, any available updates for your themes, and the present version of the theme installed on your app.

To Install a New Theme

Enter this command to install a new theme, replacing "THEMENAME" with the name of the theme you would like to install:

wp theme install THEMENAME

This will give an output similar to the following as your theme is installed:

wp theme install twentyfifteen
Installing Twenty Fifteen (1.7)
Downloading install package from https://downloads.wordpress.org/theme/twentyfifteen.1.7.zip...
Unpacking the package...
Installing the theme...
Theme installed successfully.
Success: Installed 1 of 1 themes.

If the system is unable to locate a theme with the provided name, it will fail like so:

wp theme wrongtheme
Error: 'wrongtheme' is not a registered subcommand of 'theme'. See 'wp help theme'.

To Install and Activate a Theme with a Single Command

You can also activate a theme when you install it by using this command:

wp theme install THEMENAME --activate

To Update One Theme

Enter this command to easily update one theme:

wp theme update THEMENAME

The system will display a success or failure message.

To Update All Themes

You can update all of your themes by entering this command:

wp theme update --all

The system will display a success or failure message.

To Activate a Theme

Enter this command to activate a theme:

wp theme activate THEMENAME

You will receive a message similar to this when the task is complete:

wp theme activate twentysixteen
Success: Switched to 'Twenty Sixteen' theme.

To Delete a Theme

First, make sure the theme is not active by listing all themes:

wp theme list

Then, delete the chosen theme by typing the following, using the exact name of the theme in the list:

wp theme delete THEMENAME

Your results will look similar to the following:

wp theme delete twentyfifteen
Deleted 'twentyfifteen' theme.
Success: Deleted 1 of 1 themes.

You can find more information in the official WP-CLI documentation.

Last updated: July 18, 2017

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