WordPress Child Themes Explained

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WordPress Child Themes Explained

The WordPress content management system (CMS) can be installed with a few basic themes included. Across the internet, there are thousands, if not millions, more themes or templates to choose from. When you install the one you want, your site is instantly updated to look the same way and when that theme is updated by the creator, you can easily update your site as well.

This ability is very quick, easy and convenient, but what happens if you have made changes to the theme? Almost 90% of website owners who use WordPress modify some aspect of their site’s template. When you update, those changes will be lost.

Child themes to the rescue!

What are parent and child themes?

A WordPress parent theme is the one you load onto your website from a zip file or the vast WP template directory. It gives the basic structure, layout and design of the site you are creating.

Child themes are separate but associated collections of files that take on all form and function – the genetics if you will – of the parent theme but can be modified to suit the needs of the website owner. This allows for quick CSS customization of color, style and content without messing with the original template code and structure.

Why should you use child themes for your website?

The biggest reason to use child themes whenever you want to change something about an existing template is safety. If you are not an expert designer or programmer and start messing around with CSS or code, you can always revert back to the parent theme and have an attractive, fully-functioning website again.

These separate themes also make modifications quicker and simpler. You can even create multiple child themes for the same website and change them out according to seasons or holidays.

How to create child themes effectively?

If you want to create quality child themes for your WordPress website, you need to start with a strong parent theme. The one you choose should be fully functional, well laid out and have very clean and correct code.

The actual creation of a child theme entails creating a new directory for the theme as well as new style.css and functions.php files. Understanding proper code for these files is essential for creating a working and attractive child theme. Basic knowledge can help you change colors and font styles; more in-depth knowledge can help you change how the website actually works.

While WordPress is one of the most popular and user-friendly content management systems available on the internet today, many people do not understand how changing a WP site can be even easier with the use of child themes. Even though there are tons of awesome templates to choose from, creating a truly unique style can make your website something special.

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