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How to Install Genesis Framework and Child Theme

Updated on December 7, 2021

7 Min Read

Genesis framework is one of the most popular choices for WordPress theme development. The Genesis Framework is the most likely framework by WordPress developers that empowers you to build your incredible websites quickly and easily. You can create a search-engine optimizable website with the help of Genesis Framework and Child Theme.

This tutorial will cover the steps to install Genesis Framework and Child Theme on WordPress. Before continuing with this introduction to the framework and its application, let’s first get familiar with some basic definitions:

A Quick Introduction to the Genesis Framework for WordPress

Theme Framework

Install Genesis Framework

A Theme Framework is a powerful (and very basic) theme designed to be customized into highly specialized child themes.

Child Theme

Install Genesis Framework

Child themes are developed using theme frameworks such as Genesis. These themes incorporate the functionality of the parent framework theme and the aesthetics and customizations of a custom-developed theme. You could read more about the topic here.

Theme Files

Install Genesis Framework

Child theme elements are grouped inside a folder, usually known as the child theme directory. In Genesis, the following files  are part of the theme structure:

Front Page (front-page.php): This file is used to develop a widget-based or custom homepage.

Functions File (functions.php) (required): This is the connector between the child theme and the framework. It is used to add, remove and modify default framework elements.

Style sheet (style.css) (required): Website styling that generates the looks of the website is stored in this file.

Images (optional): All the images used in theme development and website CSS are stored here.

Screenshot: this is an image of how the theme looks when deployed on the website.

Who is the Genesis Framework For?

WordPress is a popular and well-known CMS (Content Management System). The popularity of this CMS draws users from different lines of work, like designers, site owners, and non-technical folks who are not skilled with coding and development. This massive increase in popularity meant that site creation was no longer the domain of technicians or developers.

While this is great for non-technical users, theme vendors began creating their product for the masses rather than for the developers and technical audience who were the building force behind the WordPress CMS platform.

Developers are starting to realize that they can no longer customize websites. WordPress developers can usually do whatever they want, and so technical developers hold less control over the sites.

StudioPress founder Brian Gardner recognized this problem and came forward as an expert to fix this issue. He came up with a solution called Genesis Framework.

The Genesis framework offers flexibility and control so technical users can make changes according to their requirements instead of adjusting to the vendor.
Many WordPress developers consider Genesis Framework their favorite because it comes in a raw form and doesn’t have a lot of built-in options. It is a simple yet robust framework that allows you to add any needed option.

Features of Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework comes with multiple features for those who design and develop websites, including:

  • A search engine optimized open-source framework
  • Responsive turnkey designs built on HTML5
  • Airtight security
  • One-click site updates
  • Easy site customization without sacrificing speed
  • One-click theme setup
  • Theme customizer
  • Custom page templates
  • Customizable header
  • Widget ready areas
  • Up to 3 column layout options

Genesis Framework also has a bunch of child themes that you can use for your site. If you choose their lifetime membership package, you’ll get access to all of their new products that will be released in the future.


Genesis Framework: Pros and Cons


  1. Multiple layouts: Genesis Framework has a wide range of child themes to suit different needs. There are also multiple layouts, and a full-width layout suitable for the page builders.
  2. Developer-friendly: Genesis Framework utilizes fast, clean and well-organized code. Genesis themes are packed with hooks that make your site customization easier.
  3. Gutenberg support: Genesis Framework supports Block Editor (Gutenberg), so you can use all the emerging new Block Editor features in your website with Genesis Framework.
  4. Well-documented product with good support: Genesis provides multiple support options like KBs, FAQs, community forums, and Facebook groups.


  1. Pricing: Genesis is a premium product, meaning you have to pay for its services. However, that pricing is indicative of their quality.
  2. Not Beginner-friendly: Genesis Framework might not be your ideal option if you are new to WordPress.

How To Install Genesis Framework and Child Theme

Here’s what you need to know about the installation of the Framework and Child by following a few simple steps. Before starting the installation process, you must have a pre-installed WordPress on your hosting server. If you’re a Cloudways user, you can use one-click Managed WordPress Installation.

Important Notes: 

  • Install the Genesis Framework first and then the Genesis Child theme. Keep this sequence in mind.
  • Don’t activate the Genesis Framework. Only activate the child theme.
  • If your site is hosted on (example:, you cannot install the Genesis Framework or new themes. This is a restriction on sites.

There are two installation methods, one using your WordPress dashboard and the second the FTP server. Let’s have a look at both.

Before Starting the Installation Process:

  1. Make sure you have a downloaded Genesis Framework and Child Theme. You can download the framework from the studiopress website.
  2. Enter the basic information and click on Get Genesis. Your file will start downloading. You can also get the Sample Theme from the same page.Get-Genesis-ThemeGenesis-Framework-Form
  3. Just click on the Get the Genesis Sample Theme here. You will be redirected to the Github page. Download the Sample Theme from here.

You have a Genesis Framework and Child Theme downloaded into your system. Now it’s time to install them on your WordPress website.

Method 1: Installing the Genesis Framework and Child Theme through the WordPress Dashboard

Genesis Framework Installation

  • Go to your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Theme, then click on the Add New button.
  • Click on the Upload Theme button and then click on Choose File option to select the downloaded Genesis Framework ZIP file from your system.


  • After selecting the file, click on the Install Now button. After the installation, don’t activate the Genesis Framework. You will get three options. Click on the Go to Theme Page option.


Child Theme Installation

  • For the Child Theme installation, you can use the same installation process of Genesis Framework.
  • After the installation, avoid activation in Genesis Framework but make sure to activate the Child Theme.



  • When the Child Theme is successfully activated, you’ll see a welcome window on your screen.


Your Genesis Framework and Child Theme are successfully installed from your WordPress Dashboard. I would recommend this method because it is easy. Now, let’s move on to the FTP method.

Method 2: Installing the Genesis Framework and Child Theme Through FTP

Genesis Framework Installation

You can install Genesis Framework through FTP. For this, you can use FileZilla or any other FTP server.

Note: The folder must be named Genesis, not Genesis 2.0 or anything else. The Genesis folder cannot be nested inside another folder.

Before the installation, unzip your Genesis Framework file in your system and connect your site with FTP. Once your site is connected, follow the steps below for a smooth installation.

  • Go to Your Application > Public_html > WP Content > Themes, and upload your unzip file of Genesis Framework.
  • Make sure all the files transfer correctly. Don’t disconnect the FTP connection, and your internet should be working properly.
  • Because you don’t need to activate the Genesis Framework, transfer your unzip files and complete the installation.


Child Theme Installation

For the Child Theme installation, you can use the same installation process of Genesis Framework.


After the installation, avoid the activation in the Genesis Framework. In the Child Theme, make sure to activate it.

Transfer your Child Theme into WP Content > Theme via FTP and go to your WordPress Dashboard and activate the theme from here.


Pricing For Genesis Framework

Buy Genesis Pro at $360/year, and get instant access and support for all StudioPress-made themes along with the Genesis framework. Start building accelerated websites with the robust WordPress site-building tools.

Wrapping Up!

I hope this article helps you understand the Genesis Framework and Child Theme. If you are a developer and want to make your theme according to your niche, Genesis could be the best fit for you.

If you want to know how you can create a Genesis custom child theme from scratch, I recommend you read out this article. Cloudways interviewed Carrie Dils – Genesis Developer, and If you want to know how developers think about Genesis Framework, this interview will give you some good ideas.

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Danish Naseer

Danish Naseer is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He is passionate about designing, developing, and engaging with people to help them. He also actively participates in the community to share his knowledge. Besides that, he loves to watch documentaries, traveling and spending time with family. You can contact him at [email protected]


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