Benefits Of WordPress Child Theme And How You Can Create One?

You do not need to hire a specialist WordPress developer as long as you have wonderful and user-friendly WordPress themes. You just need to find the one that perfectly matches your vision. However, you will always need to modify a few aspects in the layout to make it look perfect or you will need to add some or the other functionality depending on your requirements. This is where the use of the WordPress child theme comes in.

What’s A WordPress Child Theme?

WordPress child theme is a WordPress theme inheriting all its functionality from another WP theme (which is its parent theme). Child themes are useful when you need to customize the existing WordPress theme without making it lose its ability to upgrade. Earlier, there was not any simple way that can be followed for updating the clean WordPress themes without losing all its custom styling and changes made by you. This becomes more challenging when you find out that there is a widely used script in popular WordPress themes that has a major exploit, and you want to update your themes as soon as possible. Things get tougher as on one hand, you will lose the custom styles upon updating. On the other hand, you are risking your site of getting hacked if you are not quick enough to update.

Considering these issues, the WordPress community and core team of developers came up with the concept of the parent theme and child theme. All the features, functionality, and codes of the parent theme are inherited by the child theme and the best thing is there are no changes made to the parent theme. That means you get all the default things as it is in the parent theme. This makes the parent theme not lose its ability to update.

Theoretically speaking, any WordPress theme can have a child theme. But not all WordPress themes you see are good parent themes. If a WordPress theme has very limited functionality and features, it is not an ideal choice for a parent theme in most of the cases. A good parent theme is known to contain all the features, action hooks, and filters and allows the developers to create a robust custom WP site by making use of the child theme within a very short time.

How A WordPress Child Themes Works?

A child theme is stored in a separate directory than that of the parent theme. Both have their own style.css and functions.php files. Of course, you can add other files depending on the need but these two files are minimum required in order to make a child theme function correctly. By making use of the relevant .css and .php files, you will be able to modify the layout parameters, styling to actual coding, and scripts used by a child theme even if there aren’t any attributes present in its parent theme.

You can think of it as an overlay. When a visitor visits your site and loads your website, the sub-theme gets loaded first and the missing styles and functions are filled later using the parts from the parent theme. As a result of this, you will be able to obtain the best-customized design for your website without making any sacrifice to the core functionality of the theme.

Why Do People Prefer Using WordPress Child Themes?

Child themes can speed up the development process of websites, that is why they are preferred by designers and developers. A good quality parent theme can help to reduce the overall time required to create a WordPress site. There are top-notch WordPress theme ad theme frameworks that offer tons of customization options as well as features and functionality so that you do not have to write even a single code. Users often prefer creating child themes for tweaking a parent theme that they are using as it does not make the parent theme lose its ability to update as and when needed.

Creating a WordPress child theme is easier than you could have imagined. It is as simple as if you are creating a new style.css file in a new folder. What all you need is to add one line in your style.css header that defines the template. A powerful child theme can have as many template files as the parent theme. A child theme can have all those template files that are not even present in the parent theme that you are using.

When Can You Create A Child Theme?

It is always better to use a child theme whenever there is a need to modify, edit, or add the codes of the parent theme. Using a child theme does not make you lose any of the changes even if the theme is updated. For Custom CSS, you can make use of the available plugin. If you want to modify anything in addition to this, using a child theme is always a better way. You will find that most of the premium WP themes provide a child theme along with the parent theme. You only need to activate the child theme and do the necessary modifications to it as per your needs.

Advantages Of WordPress Child Theme:

Like every coin has two sides, the child theme also has its advantages as well as disadvantages. However, there are more pros than cons if you are using a child theme as discussed.

Let us take a look at its advantages:

1. Safe And Secure Updates

We know that a WordPress child theme inherits all the properties and features of the parent theme. It also includes the templates as well as styles. This is the most important thing regarding the child theme which allows you to make the desired changes to your website without even touching anything in the parent theme. This keeps the codes and other elements in the parent theme unchanged and whenever a new version of the parent theme is released, it can be updated safely as you have saved all your modifications in the child theme.

2. A Great Deal Of Flexibility

A child theme that is built using any powerful theme framework allows you to make necessary modifications to it without writing much code. You are provided with tremendous flexibility as you can selectively modify the function and different template files depending upon your needs without having to go through the other template files. You can also add many new functionalities to it.

3. You Are Fallback Safe

Creating a new theme is not that simple because you need to think about all the possible scenarios and then write the codes accordingly. On the contrary, working with a child theme is very easy and it keeps you safe in case of fallbacks. If you forget to code for something in a child theme, there is always the parent theme’s functionality available as a fallback option.

How You Can Create A WordPress Child Theme?

There are many other ways using which we can create a child theme. The manual method is followed mostly by coding experts. But here, we will make use of a free WP plugin named “Child Theme Wizard” for creating a child theme. Using this plugin, you can easily create a child theme.

Follow This Guide To Make A WordPress Child Theme Within Minutes

Step no.1: Log in to the WordPress admin panel.

Step no. 2: navigate to Plugins > Add New

Step no. 3: In the search box, search for the Child Theme Wizard plugin. Once you find it, install this plugin and click on Activate.

Step no. 4: upon activating the plugin, go to Tools > Child Theme Wizard.

Step no. 5: Now you have to select the Parent theme ( it is the theme that you want to work on), enter the Title i.e name of your child theme, and enter the other details (this is optional). After this, click on “Create Child Theme”.

Step no. 6: Then you have to activate this newly created child theme. For this, go to Dashboard > Appearance > Themes and activate the child theme. 

This is how you can create a child theme using a plugin.

Wrapping Up

So what we have seen so far is, creating a child theme is not that difficult. Plus, using a child theme enables you to safely customize your website without touching any of the core files. There are many advantages of a child theme as you can modify or build anything on top of your existing theme and yet you can manage to keep your changes safe in case of a theme update. Also, you always have your original theme (the parent theme) to revert to. Child themes are great as they give you the peace of mind that you are at no risk of breaking your site even while doing changes.

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