How to Install the Genesis Framework for WordPress

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Learn how to install the Genesis Framework for WordPress. The process is a bit different than a more traditional WordPress theme.

The Genesis Framework is also referred to as a “parent” theme. You will need both the framework and what is known as a “child” theme that runs on Genesis.

Steps to Install the Genesis Framework

  • Download the Framework to your computer (the file will be a zip file)
  • Upload the zip file to your blog but DO NOT activate it
  • Download your child theme to your computer (this will also be a zip file)
  • Upload the zip file to your blog
  • Activate the child theme ONLY (NOT the Genesis Framework)

IMPORTANT! Read This Before You Change Your Current Theme


Before you get started – be aware that installing a new theme can (and most likely will) mess up the look of your website.

Proceed with Caution!!! – I can't stress it enough.

Changing themes is kind of like changing clothes, but not exactly.

The formatting of your site will change drastically.

You most likely will need to upload plugins and possibly demo content to get the site to look similar to the demo for your chosen child theme.

You will also need to spend a good amount of time tweaking your site.

And if you are not sure about doing it yourself – engage a good web designer or WordPress support service (like iMark Interactive) to do it for you.

This post is merely a guideline and may not be right for you.

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What You Will Need to Install Genesis

To install Genesis you will need the following setup:

Download both the Genesis Framework and your chosen child theme to your computer.

These will both be zip files.

Do not unzip the files. If your computer unzips them automatically you will need to zip them up again.

I am not a technical expert but I know that on a Mac you can right click on the unzipped file (learn how to set up the right click on a Mac here) or control click and choose “Compress” from the pop up menu to zip the file.

If you are on a Windows computer this support article might help.

Step One: Install the Genesis Framework on Your Blog

Go to your WordPress dashboard and find the “Appearance” tab on the left hand side and then navigate to “Themes”.

Next click on “Add New” at the top of the page.

Now click on “Upload Theme”.

From here click on “Choose File” and find the Genesis Framework zip file that you downloaded from the StudioPress website. (Your version will be much newer than the one pictured below).

Make sure that it is in .zip format (don't unzip the file) and click on “Install Now”.

The next screen is your success message but DO NOT ACTIVATE the theme.

Instead, click on “Return to Themes page”.

Step Two: Install Your Child Theme

Again, click on “Add New” at the top of the Themes page and then the “Upload Theme” button at the top of the next screen.

Hit “Choose File” and navigate to the .zip file of the child theme that you downloaded.

Again, the file should be unzipped (in .zip format) and click on “Install Now”.

Now, when you see the success message – go ahead and click on “Activate” – on the child theme only.

Is Genesis for WordPress Worth The Effort?

As you can see, installing the Genesis Framework for WordPress is a slightly different process than installing a traditional WordPress theme.

You have to download and install the Genesis Framework first – but you don't activate it.

Next you have to download and install a child theme on top of Genesis, and this is the one that you activate.

However, the theme is not going to look great right out of the box.

Many factors, including the amount of content that you already have on your blog or website and the theme that you are currently using will effect how much work you have to do.

You really need to understand the challenges involved before you make a decision to switch.

The best scenario is to install Genesis for WordPress on a brand new website that does not have any content yet.

That being said, I am a big fan of both WordPress and Genesis.

What is Your Favorite WordPress Theme?

What WordPress theme do you love – and why do you like it?

Tell me in the comments below.

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