One of the best things about WordPress is its usability. WordPress is a user-friendly tool that allows you to set up a stunning website in a matter of minutes without any coding experience. It also lets you customize an existing template, enabling you to provide your visitors with a unique browsing experience regardless of the number of other websites using the same theme. However, have you ever wondered what happens to all your custom settings once the theme gets updated? Or if you want to undo the changes? That’s where child theme development comes into play.
What Is A WordPress Child Theme?
A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits most of its functionality from its parent theme. It allows you to customize your theme without losing the custom styling every time the parent theme gets updated. This leaves the parent theme’s code unaltered, which makes it an ideal solution for beginners. Simply put, a WordPress child theme is essentially a separate CSS file that WordPress uses to override the original styling of the parent theme, even though more advanced child themes can also be used to include additional features not present in the parent theme.
When To Use Child Themes?
While using a WordPress child theme is a great idea when you want to customize the look and feel of the parent theme, or add new features, there are some things you should keep in mind when considering child themes. If you find yourself replacing majority of the parent theme’s elements, and not only style.css and functions.php, maybe you should consider using one of the starter themes and building your own theme, instead of customizing an existing one. Another vitally important thing to keep in mind is that while technically all WordPress themes can be used as parent themes, not all themes are meant to be used as WordPress frameworks, so make sure you’re using the right one as the parent theme.
How To Create A WordPress Child Theme?
In order to create your own WordPress child theme, you need to create a new folder in the /wp-content/themes folder. It’s important you keep in mind that you’re not supposed to create a new folder inside the parent theme, but in the folder containing the parent theme. Next step in creating a new style.css file you’ll use to define new styling. Many developers will also include a functions.php for different backend changes, but your child theme will also function perfectly well without it.
Even though creating a WordPress child theme does require some time and effort to understand the parent theme, as each can have its own hooks and filters, you’ll save yourself from tons of trouble down the road. You’ll be able to safely update the parent theme without losing your custom styling, implement new features, and have a safe fallback even if something goes wrong with a function in the child theme.