When a user arrives to your website, the first thing noticed by the user is your site layout and design. And your website design and layout majorly depends on the theme you are using. So, basically themes are responsible for your website’s visual appearance on the web.
When it comes to themes on WordPress platform, there are thousands of free and paid themes available on WordPress repository and third-party sites.
But every blogger and site owner has its own taste and preferences. May be you want to change some layout or some function of your blog theme. Luckily, on WordPress you can modify your theme easily with some basic HTML and CSS knowledge.
As explained in the above section, you can modify your theme and make some changes to tweak its layout and design. But if you update your theme after making these modifications, all your changes will be wash away.
That’s from where this term “Child Theme” comes actually.
To tackle this problem and preserve the modification and custom changes, child themes are used,
- 1 What Is A WordPress Child Theme ?
- 2 How A Child Theme Works Actually ?
- 3 Why Use A Child Theme On Your WordPress Blog ?
What Is A WordPress Child Theme ?
WordPress Child Theme is basically an add-on theme that inherits all the styling, functions, code and functionality from the main theme called the parent theme.
Child themes are used by the theme developers as well as by bloggers who wants to experiment and modify their themes.
You can create child theme of any WordPress theme whether paid or free, no matter.
How A Child Theme Works Actually ?
Let us assume that you are using a child theme on your blog. Now when your website loads on user’s browser, WordPress will check your child theme first. If any custom changes and modified files are found – they will be loaded. Any other missing file will be loaded from the parent theme.
In simple words, you only use those files and templates in your child theme which you want to modify. All other files and code will be pulled from the parent theme. No need to re-write the whole theme-files.
As a child inherits his/her genes from his parents, similarly the child theme inherits its functioning from the parent theme.
Why Use A Child Theme On Your WordPress Blog ?
As explained in above section, child themes increase the flexibility of the parent (main) theme.
You can even add those style and template which are not included in the parent theme by default.
Some of the reasons behind, why you should be using a child theme are explained below.
#Easy & Safe Updates
You can update your theme easily and safely without losing your custom modifications.Your changes and modifications will remain preserved and safe, even after updating your theme.
When you update a theme in WordPress, all the files are replaced with new files. Hence, any modification you have made will be wash away with the old files.
As all the modifications will be made in child theme, you can update your theme (parent) safely. All your modifications will remain intact. Because you never really modifies the original piece at all.
#Extend Functionality & Flexibility
With the help of child themes you can add extra function and flexibility to your WordPress theme.
You can add/create :
- custom page templates
- custom footer credits
- custom fields
- extra functions
– all with the help of child themes.
#Easy To Restore
Dealing with codes can be very annoying sometimes.
Just misplace a small “semicolon” from its place and boooom...your blog will crash the very next moment.
But if you are using a child theme, dealing with the problem become a lot easier. Just deactivate the child theme and your blog will shine again.
After correcting the code in the child theme, you can activate it again.
#Organize All Modifications In A Neat-&-Clean Way
Modifying the original theme files can be very messy as there are thousands lines of long and complex code.
Tracking back all these codes of lines is not-so-easy. Organizing and maintaining your changes becomes difficult.
But if you use a child theme, all the changes will be in a separate set of files (child theme’s folder) with neat and modified code only.
If you use a child theme – all your modifications can be found in your child theme’s files. Easy to manage, easy to locate.
#Stay Safe – Always
While using child theme, you will always have a backup – parent theme.
If you skip some code for something while editing your child theme, don’t worry, WordPress will pick those missing files and code from the parent theme. Just focus on the files you want to modify and rest will be extracted from the parent theme.
You can learn and experiment with child themes safely. If anything goes wrong, you can turn off the child theme and switch back to the original theme anytime.
#Easy To Create
Child themes are really easy to create. You do not need to add all the files as there in a complete original theme. You just need to add and edit your modifications. No fuss, no muss.
Any Questions ?
Drop a comment below.