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How to Install Genesis Framework and Child Theme

July 19, 2016

5 Min Read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Genesis framework is one of the most popular choices for WordPress theme development. Why does it beat other frameworks on the market? Please refer to my detailed comparative analysis of Genesis and other frameworks.

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

Theme Framework

Install Genesis Framework

A Theme Framework is a powerful (and very basic) theme that is designed to be customized into highly specialized child themes. You could read more on the topic at How Genesis framework became so famous and powerful

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 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.

Part – 1

Installing the Genesis Framework and the Child Theme

The first step is the installation of the Genesis, the child themes are uploaded. Both these steps resemble the installation of any other WordPress theme. There are two ways of uploading the framework and the child themes:

  1. Via upload feature of the WordPress Dashboard (Recommended)
  2. Via FTP Client

Let’s see how both these methods work:

IMPORTANT: If your site is hosted on (example:, you cannot install the Genesis Framework or new themes. This is a restriction on sites.

1 – Via uploads feature from WordPress Dashboard (Recommended)

The process of uploading using the option of WordPress Dashboard has six easy steps. This process is also valid for the child theme as well.

Install Genesis Framework

  1. From the WordPress, Dashboard go to Appearance > Themes.
  2. Click the Add New button at the top of the page.
  3. Click the Upload Theme button.
  4. Click the Choose File button and browse to the theme file stored on the local computer. Make sure that it is a zip file that is correctly named with the name of the framework or the theme (example: or
  5. Click the Install Now button.The framework theme is now installed, and three options will appear:

installing process genesis

  • Live Preview: Shows how your website will look after applying this theme.
  • Activate: Activates the newly applied theme.

Note: When installing Genesis Framework, DO NOT activate it. However, activates the child theme.

  • Return to Themes page: Brings you back to the main theme page.

Activate theme genesis

  1. Genesis Framework is now installed. Click Return to Themes page to install and activate the child theme.

2 – Via FTP Client

Installing the Themes Via FTP

You can also install Genesis Framework and a child theme manually using the FTP. Some options for using the FTP service are:

  • FileZilla
  • CuteFTP

Unzip the Genesis Framework and the child theme to separate folders on the computer’s desktop. Now connect to your site via FTP.

ftp filezilla

After connecting via FTP, browse to wp-content > themes folder

wp content themes

Upload the entire unzipped Genesis folder from the desktop to the themes folder on the server.

Make sure:

  • The folder must be named Genesis  and NOT “Genesis 2.0” or anything else.
  • The Genesis folder cannot be nested inside another folder.

Follow the above steps for uploading the child theme as well.

Activating the Child Theme

After Genesis and the child theme have been uploaded, it is time to activate the child theme. You must not activate Genesis theme, as it runs silently in the background.

activate theme genesis

If you have installed the child theme via the WordPress Dashboard, click Activate after the theme has been uploaded.

activate button

If you have opted for the FTP, go to Appearance > Themes and hover over the installed theme and click the Activate button.

customized theme

Now the theme is active and can be customized as per your requirements. This will be covered in the next installment.

I hope this article helped you in  understanding how one can install and configure Genesis Framework for designing a Genesis Based Theme. My upcoming article is where I will be discussing in detail on how to configure the basic settings of the Genesis Framework.

If you need clarification about any step discussed above, please leave a comment.


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Danish Ashrafi

Danish was a WordPress Community Expert at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform. He loves helping out WordPress beginners and solving their problems. His passions takes up his free time as well and he spends time designing, developing and learning new stuff. You can email him at

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