How to Install WordPress Themes and Plugins From GitHub

As you may well know, there are WordPress themes and plugins available for installation from a lot of different places. So many of both are being developed now that you have to go to certain places if you want to download them.

It is no different for GitHub WordPress themes and GitHub WordPress plugins.

You my already know how to install WordPress from something like Softaculous, but installing WordPress themes and WordPress plugins from GitHub takes you on a little different process.

I am going to cover that below. The process is more manual and is a lot like installing WordPress manually.

While WordPress itself and its plugins are two different things, the process it takes to install WordPress plugins from GitHub is similar.

It isn’t difficult, just different.

The GitHub WordPress plugins are oftentimes not available from the WordPress repository. Installing and activating them from the WordPress dashboard will not be an option here.

With all that being said, let’s talk a little about GitHub and then take a look at how to install WordPress themes and plugins from the system.

Are GitHub and Git the Same Thing?

Yes and no, Git and GitHub work in tandem with one another, but they are not the same thing. So what is the difference?


Well, Git is a very popular, powerful and efficient open source Version Control System (VCS).

This VCS tracks content like files and directories. Its main purpose is to manage a project or set of files as they change over time. Git is built around Repositories. And, you can do all sorts of things with these Repositories.

Version Control System

As I said, A Version Control System, or VCS as it is more commonly referred, is a system that tracks the history of changes when people and teams collaborate on projects together.

As a project evolves, teams have the ability to run tests, fix bugs and contribute new code with the confidence that any version can be recovered at any time.

There is a lot to know and understand about Git, its Repositories, commands and system structure. It is a vast and complex system.


GitHub is the hosting service for all Git repositories. Simply put, Git is the tool and GitHub is the service for the projects that use Git. GitHub is where you will go to download all of the GitHub WordPress themes and plugins they have available.

Now let’s take a look at how to install WordPress themes and plugins from GitHub.

Receiving Updates From GitHub For Installed WordPress Themes and Plugins

First and foremost, it is important that you can get, and understand how to get, updates for WordPress themes and plugins that you download and install from GitHub.

WordPress is ever changing and updating, and with the new Gutenberg update, you want to make sure anything that you install will be compatible and supported in the long run.

By default, WordPress does not show users any automatic updates from GitHub.

When a developer builds a WordPress theme or plugin and makes it available to download and install from GitHub, a little extra work has to be put in for the update side if this.

There are a couple of different ways these updates happen.

  1. There is built-in code already included that will enable you to receive automatic updates.
  2. You may be asked to install the GitHub Updater plugin.

Whatever the case may be, contacting the developer regarding these updates and how to get them is your best option.

Install WordPress Themes and Plugins From GitHub

To download and install WordPress themes and plugins from GitHub, the first thing you need to do is head over to the system’s Repository.

There are several branches in the Repositories, but you can start in the WordPress section if you want.

Choose a theme or plugin that you would like to download. When you make your choice, click on it and go to the main page for that particular plugin or theme.

Once on the main page, click on the “Clone or Download” button located on the top right of the screen.

A dropbox will come out. Inside that dropbox, click on the “Download Zip” option.

click on clone or download and then click on download zip in github

When the theme or plugin is fully downloaded, go ahead and jump over to the WordPress website you want to upload it to.

Within your WordPress admin area in the backend of your website, click on Plugins > Add New.

Click on plugins then click on add new

Now click on the “Upload Plugin” button located at the top of the screen.

Click on the upload plugin button

Note: If you’re uploading a theme, the process is the same. However, you would click on Appearance > Themes, then click on the “Add New” button.

This will take you to the upload screen. From here click on the “Choose File” button and select the ZIP file of the GitHub WordPress plugin you want to upload from your computer.

Click on the choose file button

WordPress will automatically grab the file, unzip it, and install it properly to your website.

Now click on the “Activate Plugin” button and you are all set. You have now successfully downloaded and installed a GitHub WordPress plugin.

Giving a Star to WordPress Themes and Plugins on GitHub

If you enjoy the WordPress theme and/or plugin that you have installed from GitHub, then don’t forget to “star” it. This will let the developer of the theme or plugin know that you like the work they are doing.

You can “Star” a WordPress GitHub theme or plugin using the option found at the top of the main plugin page on GitHub.

You can star a plugin or theme here

I hope this article gave you a little insight into what Git and Github are. Now you know you can use GitHub to find some really great WordPress themes and plugins.

Expand Your Theme and Plugin Library with GitHub

Downloading and installing WordPress themes and plugins from GitHub to use on your WordPress website is not a difficult process. It just take s a few extra steps and know how.

Use GitHub as yet another resource to find great WordPress themes and plugins that you can’t find in other spots.

Have you ever installed Github WordPress themes or GitHub WordPress plugins? Have you found developers have given you a nice selection of them on GitHub?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.