How to Install the Genesis Framework

Last week a friend of mine took my advice and purchased the Genesis framework with a child theme to use on her blog. About an hour after she bought it, she emailed me and said, “Um, how exactly do I get this installed on my site?”

Sometimes I think designers and developers take their knowledge for granted – we forget that some people are just starting out or may not know how to install a theme yet, especially when it involves both a framework and child theme that need to be uploaded. For this reason, I decided to create a tutorial that will show new bloggers (and/or new Genesis users) how to get the framework installed.

I’ve created a video (below) that will walk you through each step of the process. Not a fan of video? Me neither! If you’d rather read than watch, scroll down to find text instructions with screenshots.

Video: How to Install the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework Installation Steps

Step One: Download the framework and your child theme.

Once you’ve purchased Genesis, you can visit your StudioPress download page (you’ll need to be logged into your account) to download a zip file of both the framework and your child theme. If you purchased the framework alone without a child theme, you should still have the Genesis Sample child theme available in your downloads area. Just click the blue download button beside each item and they should download automatically.

If you’re using Safari on a Mac, your download may not arrive as a zip file. If that’s the case, here’s how to fix it: In Safari, go to Preferences > General and uncheck the box that says “Open safe downloads automatically.” Once you do that, try the download again and you should get a .zip this time.

StudioPress downloads page

Step Two: Upload and install the framework first.

Always install the Genesis framework before installing your child theme. The child theme will look for the framework to be sure it’s there, so it’s important to get in the habit of uploading the framework first.

To install the framework, go to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard. At the top of the page, you’ll see a tab that says “Install Themes.” Click on that, then select the Upload link.

upload theme linkOn the Upload page, click the Select File button to locate the Genesis zip file ( as of this writing) on your computer. Once you’ve chosen it, you’ll be able to click the Install Now button.

upload genesis framework


You should see this screen after clicking the Install Now button:

genesis install success

You can activate the framework if you want, but it’s not necessary. You just need to leave it installed on your site at all times. You can click the “Return to Themes Page” link to begin installing your child theme.

Step Three: Upload and install your Genesis child theme.

Just like in Step Two, you’ll want to go to Appearance > Themes, click the Install Themes tab, and click the Upload link. This time you’ll want to look for your child theme’s zip file on your computer:

child theme install


Click the Install Now button to upload the zip file. This time after uploading, you’ll want to activate your child theme by clicking the Activate link.

activate sample theme


Congratulations! You’ve just installed the Genesis framework and your Genesis child theme.

A Few Things to do Now:

Fix your widgets: Nearly all Genesis child themes have a Header Right widget area, which is the first in the list under Appearance > Widgets. When you activate your child theme, the sidebar widgets you had before tend to jump into the Header Right area, which makes your site look crazy (or you may not see any widgets at all). Take a look at your site and make any widget adjustments needed.

Set your Genesis theme settings. You’ll see a new item in your WordPress dashboard titled Genesis. Hover on it and choose Theme Settings to look through the basic Genesis theme settings and make changes as needed.

Configure Genesis SEO settings. If you use a separate plugin for SEO, this step isn’t needed. However, if you didn’t have a plugin, you’ll be able to navigate to Genesis > SEO Settings in your dashboard. The most important thing to do is choose a home meta description and home meta keywords for your site – this will help search engines understand what your site is about.

Set up Google authorship. Genesis makes it easy to set up Google authorship for your site (to show your Google+ profile picture in search results). All you need to do is visit Users > Your Profile in the dashboard and paste your Google+ profile URL in the text field. That’s it! No other configuration required.

Install any Genesis plugins you’d like to use. In a previous post, I gave you 11 great Genesis plugins that will help you get started with the Genesis framework. You may not know which ones you need or want yet, which is fine, but that list will give you an idea of what’s available to help you customize your child theme.

Need More Help?

If you need help setting up your Genesis site to look like the theme demo, go back to your StudioPress downloads page and click the Theme Setup button next to your child theme’s name to get detailed instructions.

If you want to make cosmetic changes to your site such as changing colors and fonts, adding widget areas, etc., visit the StudioPress forums to ask the community for help. Alternately, a Google search for “genesis framework how to _____” will usually help you find a great tutorial.

Ready to Try Genesis?

Maybe you’re reading these instructions because you’re considering the Genesis framework for your WordPress site. Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to get started, go grab the framework and a child theme!

Purchase the Genesis Framework

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All Nuts and Bolts projects are built on the Genesis Framework because we believe it's the most stable and well-supported framework available. Our partners love it and so do we - once you try it, you'll never use another WordPress theme!

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Join the Discussion


  1. I shared this on G+ for the simple fact that you included the steps in text in addition to the video. It drives me crazy when people put together videos and podcasts and don’t provide transcripts. I like to tell people, I can read a lot faster than you can talk, so if I have to listen to something, you’re wasting my time!

    • Same here… I despise watching videos most of the time unless there are steps I specifically have to see to understand. Too many videos waste time with over-explaining, though, so I avoid them unless there’s no other way. At the same time, I like to give people the option in case they’re more visual and need to see what I’m talking about.

  2. Miranda

    I so agree with you that ‘geeks’ take their knowledge for granted! So often, when I’m following a tutorial for some really brilliant new software or strategy I can see it’s wonderful inside the room but I don’t know where the front door is (so to speak!). Or another simile, I can see the tree they’re talking about but I don’t know which forest it’s in. Grrr….. !! :)

  3. Omar Anthony

    Great tutorial vid. I have one question. Are you able to use the Genesis Framework / Child Theme with purchased themes from other companies (i.e. theme forest themes etc..) ? So far it seems that you have to use the child theme from Genesis then build from there.. thx

    • Unfortunately Genesis only works with Genesis child themes. That said, there are child themes available from a number of third party developers, including a few on ThemeForest. If you think of WordPress as the frame and body of your car, then Genesis is the engine and the child theme is the paint job – sometimes that helps people conceptualize the relationship between all three. Hope that helps!

  4. I am trying to upload the genesis framework, but it is not downloading from studiopress as a zip file. It’s just a folder named genesis and when I go to upload it I don’t know what to choose from? Do I need to upload each file individually from the folder? This is ridiculous I just spent $60 on this framework I surely should be able to upload it easily. Please help. I’m so frustrated.

    • It should be downloading as a zip file – that’s really odd. You can right click on the folder and you should have an option to compress or zip it. It definitely must be in zip format to be uploaded to WordPress; it won’t accept it any other way. Let me know if you still need help!

      • I suspect Kindra, like me, is on a Mac. A zip file is, in general, a PC/Windows type of thing. I just completed downloading and uploading a Genesis framework to my WP site and at no time was I presented with a .zip file. My download was three folders, to which I had to use an FTP client to upload to my WP host. I was lucky, I am familiar with FTP from long ago, so I didn’t get lost in the process. But WP covers this aspect pretty poorly, never mentioning folders, so those on a Mac should tread carefully.

        • Hi Thomas,

          That’s very interesting – I’m a longtime Mac user and I’ve never once had difficulty downloading zip files – they always download as the same .zip I expected. I wonder if your files are set to extract automatically upon download or something?

    • Geo

      I’m on a Mac as well and have the same issue. Genesis folder, but no file to be found anywhere…. Same with the child theme I purchased – minimum-pro folder, no zip file…

      …and no response from their support people for two days. Not happy…

        • Geo

          Thank you, Andrea!!! i am embarrassed to say that I didn’t read the text when I saw the image of the Studiopress download page. I saw the image and thought “been there.”

          Thanks again!!!

  5. Carl

    Interesting article – I was thinking of a themeforest WP theme, but so many seem to be bloated (as in ‘it’s 1000 themes in 1), that scares me.

    I like your idea of the car, engine and paint – Question: I just want to buy the Genesis framework for $59.99 – not use studiopress – can you refer me? I don’t mind if you have an affiliate link.


    • Hi Carl,

      I agree with you 100% re: ThemeForest – so many of their themes are very poorly coded and the support is usually terrible.

      You can buy the Genesis framework by itself, which comes with the Sample child theme (don’t ever, ever edit the framework files – always make changes in a child theme). My affiliate link is if you want to use it – I would much appreciate it! That should lead you straight to the page to purchase the framework by itself for $59.95. I wasn’t sure what you meant about not using StudioPress – they make Genesis, so that’s the only place to buy the framework. But you don’t have to purchase a child theme separately if you only need the Sample theme. Hopefully that makes sense.

      If you decide to purchase and need help, don’t hesitate to let me know.

      • Carl

        Thank you, we posted at the same time so I didn’t see your response.
        Actually some themeforest developers are amazing in customer support, they ever have their own forums, but they use the term “SEO Friendly” very casually. That is an issue for me – plus I don’t know how heavy their code is – it cannot be light I imagine. I will review Studiopress’ site. Thx

  6. Hi Andrea,
    I think we are in some other groups together. This is a great tutorial, however, when I look at my WP, appearance, themes, I don’t have a manage themes, install themes tab. I am self hosted on wp dot org. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Hi Maureen,

      If you don’t have the option to install themes, you may not have an administrator account for the site.

      In general, on the Appearance > Themes page, you should see an Add New button at the top, right next to the Themes heading. Clicking on that will give you the option to click another button on the next screen to Upload Theme (next to the Add Themes heading). Hope that helps!

  7. Great tutorial. I am just the opposite of you folks who despise videos… Tutorials without video drives me absolutely insane… Am more visually oriented (Thanks ADHD!) & so yes text tutorials bore me to death ! Thank you for being so considerate to include a video tut. You rock (-i-) !

    • I’m glad to hear that videos are helpful for some! I get bored easily when watching/listening vs. reading but I try to remember that others may learn better by watching. :)

  8. solanki kajal

    I am trying to upload the genesis framework, but it is not downloading from studiopress as a zip file. It’s just a folder named genesis and when I go to upload it I don’t know what to choose from? Do I need to upload each file individually from the folder? This is ridiculous I just spent $60 on this framework I surely should be able to upload it easily. Please help. I’m so frustrated

    • As I mentioned in the post:

      If you’re using Safari on a Mac, your download may not arrive as a zip file. If that’s the case, here’s how to fix it: In Safari, go to Preferences > General and uncheck the box that says “Open safe downloads automatically.” Once you do that, try the download again and you should get a .zip this time.

      The same applies to other browsers that may be set to unzip files automatically. You can also try holding down the CTRL button on your keyboard while clicking the download button. Hope that helps!

  9. thanks for the training, i have hosted my new domain need to buy genesis framework, but only problem with payment option.
    as i reside in India it should be paypal only.