Install Divi Theme & Avoid Errors

Learn how to install Divi theme without errors, and learn how make a site run fast using Divi Theme
Divi WordPress Theme
In this article you will learn the correct way to set up the Divi Theme, Child-Theme, and prepare your hosting with the correct settings to avoid future headaches, and have a smooth running site!

Divi WordPress theme

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Divi is a very popular WordPress theme, but also takes up a lot of space and has some robust requirements.  Over the years I had created what I called the ‘Divi cocktail’, (changes I made to both WordPress files and regular hosting files so that Divi would run smoother).   

One problem was the ‘Divi Timeout Error’,  a very common error with the theme.  This would usually be due to a low memory_limit setting in the php directives.  

Over time, I built a list of changes to make to both php settings (ini files), and WordPress settings, and it became apparent that it worked for almost everyone.  

Learn how to install Divi theme without errors, and learn how make a site run fast using Divi Theme

Divi Installation

Divi tends to be a larger theme with more running pieces than other typical WordPress themes.  For example, the Divi Page Builder is actually built into the Theme now, instead of coming separately.  Divi can be used to design a layout from scratch, which is why it is so popular.  If you do not already have Divi Theme, you must buy it.  Please visit Elegant Themes website here and purchase the theme before moving on.

Step 1. Download from Elegant Themes

a guide to installing Divi WordPress theme

After visiting Elegant Themes and getting an account, click on My Downloads in the top right.  This will bring you to a page where you can download the Divi Theme.  Click ‘Download the Divi Theme’, this downloads it to your computer.

Once downloaded, it is time to login to your hosting.  We will need to make sure and straighten out a couple things first, so that Divi will run smoothly.

Step 2. Prepare Hosting

Login to your hosting provider.  We are going to check out a couple things to make sure Divi will run smoothly.  

PHP Version

First, make sure PHP is set to 7.2.  WordPress can run on PHP 5.6, but that does not mean it should.  7.2 and higher will have a faster experience and is more secure as the code is still updated.  At the time of this writing, I do not think 7.3 or 7.4 is a good idea yet, I have seen it slow down too many sites.

PHP Settings

This step is important.  Divi will often time out due to not enough Memory Limit.  Other times it will fail during initial upload because ‘max_execution_time’ is not high enough.  This where the ‘Divi Recipe’ comes in.

For linux hostings, go to your File manager in your websites root, or FTP into the root folder of your website.  Make sure to check the setting to ‘Show All Hidden Files’.  In Filezilla this is available under Server -> Force show hidden files.

Filezilla show hidden files
Once you make sure you can see hidden files, look for the .ini file.  I prefer to use .user.ini (which creates changes locally only) vs php.ini (which creates changes for subfolders as well). If there is not a .user.ini file already, create one.  Just click create file, name it “.user.ini”, and start editing the empty file. You will want to copy and paste the following code into your file:
memory_limit = 256M
max_upload_filesize = 256M
post_max_size = 256M
max_execution_time = 300
max_input_vars = 3000

We have changed the php settings to match what Divi documentation asks for, and in some cases more.  We have set memory_limit to 256M, this will take caer of the majority of issues. 

Max_upload_filesize and post_max_size both define how large of files you can upload as well as posts you can post.  They can only equal the lowest value out of the both of them, so that is why we set them both to 256M.  For instance, if max_upload_filesize = 256M but post_max_size = 128M, both values would only show 128M.  Do yourself a favor and set both high.

max_execution_time is the number of seconds allowed to pass by the php program before failure.  If you have a larger post, 30 seconds is not enough time.  Divi asks for 180 but set this to 300.  

max_input_vars represents the number of variables your server can use in a single function.  Divi being a larger theme, needs a higher value, or else it will not function properly.  


The last item to change is going to be the WordPress memory limit.  WordPress runs off of a different definition of Memory Limit than php.ini, which is set in WordPress itself.

It is set to a low value of 40M-64M, and is important to match to memory_limit from your .ini file.  This will be changed inside the wp-config.php file.

In file manager, in the root of your website, find the file wp-config.php, and edit it.  Find the line that reads  “/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */“ and hit return after it, creating some space under it.

Copy/paste the following code into the wp-config.php file:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

After making these changes, you are now ready to install Divi onto your WordPress.

Step 3. Upload Divi Theme to WordPress

Divi theme should be uploaded through file manager or FTP using filezilla. Upload the zipped folder and extract inside of file manager, inside of the themes folder.

Now that you have prepared your hosting, you are less likely to run into an error during install.  Upload the theme using your file manager, into the wp-content/themes folder.  

File manager only allows you to upload 1 file at a time, so just grab the folder on your computer and upload it.  Once it has been uploaded, right-click on it and select ‘Extract’. 

The pop up will display the folder to extract it to:  ‘/public_html/wp-content/themes’.  Click ‘Extract Files’, and Divi will now be a folder inside of Themes.

Step 4. Activate Divi in WordPress

Now that Divi has been uploaded, you should be able to find Divi as a useable theme inside of WordPress.  Login to WordPress, and jump down to the section Appearance -> Themes.  When you see Divi, hover over it and click on Activate.

That’s it!  you have successfully installed Divi Theme, which should be running smoothly.  Hopefully this helped out in some little way!

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