Image of Mac laptop in dark mode on desk with colorful light shining on keyboard. WordPress dark mode

Give the Eyes a Break, Add Dark Mode to Your WordPress Site

When we spend much of our time in front of screens, it’s not surprising that dark mode (which is easier on the eyes) is growing in popularity. Also known as night mode, this feature can provide a number of benefits to you and your site’s visitors.

Fortunately, adding dark mode to your WordPress site is a relatively simple process. Not only can you adjust how your website appears to users, but you can also change the admin dashboard to a dark theme to give your own eyes a break.

In this article, we’ll cover what night mode is and the benefits of using it. Then we’ll show you how to add WordPress dark mode to your site and enable it from the admin dashboard. Let’s get started!

What is Dark Mode? What is Dark Mode Used for?

Dark mode is a display setting that changes a website to a light-on-dark color scheme. This adjustment cuts down on the amount of white light coming from a screen, which can reduce eye strain, especially if you’re looking at the screen in the evening. People who prefer browsing in dark mode may enable the option via a setting on their devices or through extensions. 

Benefits of Dark Mode Include

  • Reduced white light from screens
  • Saved energy consumption and increased battery life for devices
  • Less strain on a person’s eyes
  • Increased time spent on page

However, as a website owner, you might consider adding a dark mode feature to your site. Installing a night mode WordPress plugin can make doing so easy, and give you a bit more control over your site’s appearance and usability.

Before we get started, we do want to note a minor yet technical difference between dark mode and night mode. Dark mode involves switching the User Interface (UI) background to a darker hue, whereas night mode consists of changing the color emitted from the screen. 

Still, both can help reduce eye strain, and people often use the terms interchangeably. With that being said, let’s take a look at how you can add dark mode to your WordPress site. 

How to Add Dark Mode to Your WordPress Site

Now that we’ve explained why you may want to add dark mode to your website, we’ll show you how to add and set up this feature. While you can switch to a WordPress theme with dark mode, it’s much simpler to use a plugin.

Step 1: Install the WP Dark Mode Plugin

There are a number of night mode WordPress plugins available. The one we’ll be using is WP Dark Mode:

WP Dark Mode plugin. WordPress dark mode

This is a freemium plugin that lets you quickly create a dark version of your website. You won’t have to deal with any code or complicated settings. 

You can search for and install this tool in the WordPress Plugin Directory. To get started, from your admin dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New and search for “WP Dark Mode”:

WP dark mode plugin in wordpress directory. WordPress dark mode

Click on the Install Now button, followed by Activate. This will bring you to the plugin’s settings page.

Step 2: Turn on Dark Mode

The General Settings tab is where you can toggle night mode on and off. When you first install the plugin, you’ll see that Enable Frontend Dark Mode and Enable OS Aware Dark Mode are switched on by default:

toggling on dark mode within app settings. WordPress dark mode

Enable Frontend Dark Mode simply means that dark mode is enabled for your WordPress site. Users will be able to flip a switch to turn on the darker color scheme. Enable OS Aware Dark Mode means that if a visitor has set their device to dark mode, they will automatically see your website’s dark version.

You might also want to make dark mode the default setting for your website. You can toggle this on from the settings menu and see how you like it. Note that visitors will still be able to turn off dark mode using the switcher button.

Step 3: Enable the Floating Switch

Next, in General Settings, you can toggle on the Show Floating Switch option. Doing so will place a button on the front end of your website, so that users can turn dark mode on or off as they prefer. 

Below is an example of how the dark mode button would look on the front end of a website, placed in the bottom right-hand corner:

dark mode button with a moon icon in the bottom right which, when clicked, turns on dark mode for the user. WordPress dark mode

You can change the style and placement of the icon in the Display Settings tab. However, your options are limited with the free version of the plugin:

dark mode button style and placement settings within the plugin. WordPress dark mode

You can choose if you’d like text on your button, as well as its position on the page.

Step 4: Customize Your Dark Mode Colors

Finally, you may want to experiment with different dark mode colors. The options are located under the Style Settings tab:

dark mode style settings within the plugin. WordPress dark mode

On this screen, you can select colors that are suitable for your site’s branding. Again, your options are somewhat limited in the free version of the night mode WordPress plugin. If you choose to upgrade, you can use a preset color palette or create your own.

How to Enable Dark Mode on Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

While you’re enabling this feature for the front end of your site, you may want to apply a WordPress dark mode theme to your admin dashboard as well. The default WordPress color schemes and settings aren’t conducive to white light reduction, so you’ll need to use the plugin to accomplish this.

Step 1: Install the WP Dark Mode Plugin

WP Dark Mode also includes options for your website’s back end. If you haven’t already installed it, you can find it in the WordPress Plugin Directory. Once you download and activate the plugin, it will send you to the General Settings screen.

Step 2: Enable Backend Dark Mode

Next, you’ll need to enable backend dark mode. To do so, navigate to Settings > WP Dark Mode > General Settings, then toggle on Enable Backend Dark Mode:

enable backend dark mode setting within plugin. WordPress dark mode

Be sure to scroll down and click on the Save Settings button to confirm your changes.

Step 3: Toggle Your Admin Dashboard From Light to Dark

You’ll now see a new switch at the top of your screen that will let you turn on a WordPress admin dark theme:

dark mode toggled on for admin within WordPress backend. WordPress dark mode

Hopefully, this will make working in the back end a bit more comfortable for you. If your site has multiple users, they’ll each be able to turn dark mode on or off independently.

Step 4: Adjust Your Admin Color Scheme to Match Dark Mode

Now that you have dark mode turned on, you may want to adjust your admin color scheme. Start by navigating to Users > Profile.

From here, you can select whichever palette you like best:

admin color schemes within WordPress backend. WordPress dark mode

Once you have your colors picked out, scroll down and click on the Update Profile button to save your new settings.

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Adding dark mode to your WordPress site can benefit you as well as your users. Whether you’re focused on reducing eye strain or simply prefer the darker look, adding a night mode option is worth the effort.

In this article, we went over what dark mode is and some of its advantages. Then we showed you how to use the WP Dark Mode plugin to add this feature to your website and admin dashboard.

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