Improve troubleshooting instructions for "missing style.css" message

Hi folks,

I had trouble installing a theme, finally figured out the problem, and realized that the troubleshooting instructions could have been better.

TL;DR Add this sentence to the theme’s Support tab and the “missing style.css” page:

A frequent cause of this problem is that the full zip file contains a license file, documentation, and other files along with the “installable Wordpress .zip” file that you need to upload. Luckily, there is a very easy fix.

Here’s how to reproduce:

  1. I downloaded the (free) theme from

  2. I tried to upload/install, but got a cryptic “Are you sure you want to do this?” message. Huh?

  3. I ultimately found the theme’s support tab/page:

  4. It offered this advice:

Missing style sheet error when installing the theme
A common issue that can occur with users new to installing WordPress themes is a "Broken theme and/or stylesheets missing” error message being displayed when trying to upload or activate the theme. This error message does not mean that the theme you have purchased is broken, it simply means it has been uploaded incorrectly. Luckily, there is a very easy fix.

  1. That led me to the “Theme is missing the style.css” page at: This page had the right answer, but… I didn’t think it applied to me

  2. I didn’t originally believe this page applied to me because I had directly downloaded the file from Envato (I figured, how could it be wrong?). Adding the sentence above (“A frequent cause of this problem…”) would have tipped me off that the message does apply to me.

NB: The sentence could be added to both the theme’s support tab, as well as the “Theme is missing the style.css” page.

Many thanks!

Hi @richb-hanover! Checkout this guide we just wrote on the Envato blog for Installing Your Themeforest WordPress Theme which covers most issues users might run into when installing a new theme


That page (Installing your Themeforest WordPress Theme) is good, but it doesn’t work for

That page doesn’t give the option to download only the Installable WordPress File. It just shows a big “Download it for free” button. (See the screen shot below)

I’m happy - I ultimately figured out the workaround (keep unzipping until you get to the installable WordPress file), but perhaps someone wants to take pity on the next poor soul who stumbles over this page (and other pages?) on the Themeforest site. Thanks.

Oh I see now! Sorry - I just assumed the button would be like “purchasing” the theme and ultimately take you to a download page with options, but now that I see the button it makes sense that it’s a one and done download (no support or updates). But I do agree with you - they should add a little notice that it’s an “All Files & Documentation” download that will need to be unzipped.