MyBB Tutorial: How to Upload/Install a Theme in MyBB (Step by Step With Pictures)

So, you just installed MyBB forum software, but you don’t seem to like the default MyBB forum theme. You have an already customized theme you’d love to install? This JovialGuide teaches you how to upload, import and set a theme as default theme in MyBB.

It’s obvious that some theme come with unattractive or minor features that you may not be interested in. Uploading a well customized theme with your desired features is a certain thought that comes into your mind.

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How to Upload a Theme in MyBB

Firstly, you have to download or purchase a copy of your desired theme, either from MyBB’s official store or from stores that offer paid themes (must be malware free). Download free themes from MyBB’s official Mod.

Make sure the version of your theme is compatible with your MyBB version. Also be sure that you are running the latest version of MyBB software. The latest version of MyBB at the time of writing this article is version 1.8.

We do not recommend downloading nulled, cloned or any paid or premium theme for free. For security purpose, it’s risky. Nulled or cloned theme exposes your forum to different kinds of web application attacks, making it pretty easier for hackers to exploit or gain access to your forum.

Download your desired theme to a directory in your computer and extract. You’ll find two contents, one is a folder named images or the name of your theme while the second one is a .xml file of your theme which is usually nameoftheme.xml .

If there’s a README file, open it and read. This will also guide you on how to properly upload the contents of your theme to their respective directories.

Uploading the Images

Login to your hosting cPanel or your FTP client. Click on File Manager.

Locate and click on public_html. Click on the folder named images in your MyBB installation directory (public_html) then click on upload. Upload the contents of the images folder you extracted earlier.

Note: You are to upload the folder (which is usually the name of the theme you are installing) available in your images directory of your theme, to the images folder available in your MyBB installation directory .

If the name of the theme you are installing is Dark Skin Theme. You’ll find a folder named “DarkSkin” right inside the images folder of your theme (the one you extracted earlier).

Upload the “DarkSkin” folder into the images folder present in the public_html folder of your file manager. The path should look like this when you are done: public_html » images » DarkSkin.

Note: Some theme developers may not name the folder present in the images folder after the name of the theme. Some, you may find the folder you are to upload in the root directory instead of being inside a folder named images.

Importing the XML File of Your Theme

Login to your Admin Control Panel (usually abbreviated as ACP). Click on Template & Styles then click on Import Styles. You’ll find different options for your theme, upload the themename.xml file of your theme.

The .xml file of your theme holds all your theme’s CSS properties and elements like the font color, font size and so on.

If the .xml file of your theme is located in an external source, use the URL method.

Next, you choose if your theme is a child theme or a parent theme. mybb-theme-import

If you’d like to give your theme a new name, use the input field present there. If left blank, the default theme name will be used.

Under the advanced options, they are three settings you should enter. The first is to check if the version of your theme is compatible with your MyBB version. Check this box if you still want to import your theme regardless of the version of MyBB the theme was created for.

Check the second box if you want to import custom stylesheet present in the theme. Check the third box if you want to import custom template present in the theme. Finally click import theme to import your new theme. mybb-import-theme

Setting as Default Forum Theme (Activating Your Theme)

After uploading and importing your theme, it won’t just activate itself automatically, you’ll have to do that yourself. This is usually called setting as default theme.

Head over to ACP » Template & Styles », you’ll see the name of your newly uploaded theme. On the right side of the name of your new theme, expand by clicking on optionsmybb-theme-options Click on set as default theme. mybb-set-themedefault-

Follow the above step to activate or set any theme you like as your forum’s default theme.

You are done setting your newly uploaded theme as your forum’s default theme. Visit your forum to see the changes.

See our guide on how to temporarily close a forum for maintenance/upgrade in MyBB.

What if The Name of my Theme Doesn’t Appear in the Themes Page for Activation?

If you think you followed the above steps correctly, and you do not see the name of your new theme for activation (to set as default). Your theme maybe broken or poorly coded. You’ll have to download another theme and restart the process all over again.


This JovialGuide has taught you the step by step guide on MyBB theme installation. You’ve found out how easy it is to change your forum theme/appearance.

If you follow the above steps properly, you’ll upload and install as many themes as you want. Please do well to share this article to help others.


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