WordPress Child theme
A child theme allows you to change small aspects of your site’s appearance yet still preserve your theme’s look and functionality.
To understand how child themes work it is first important to understand the relationship between parent and child themes.
What is a Parent Theme?
A parent theme is a complete theme which includes all of the required WordPress template files and assets for the theme to work.
All themes – excluding child themes – are considered parent themes.
What is a WordPress Child Theme?
As indicated in the overview, a WordPress child theme inherits the look and feel of the parent theme.
It has all of its functions, but can be used to make modifications to any part of the theme.
In this way, customizations are kept separate from the parent theme’s files.
A Child theme usually contains only the changed or modified lines of code that override the Parent theme.
A Child Theme can in reality have very few files.
This makes it so much easier to work with than editing the Parent theme, which can have many thousands of lines of text to wade through.
Using a child theme lets you upgrade the parent theme without affecting the customizations you’ve made to your site.
WordPress Child themes benefits:
Make your modifications portable and replicable;
Keep customization separate from parent theme functions;
Allow parent themes to be updated without destroying your modifications;
Allow you to take advantage of the effort and testing put into parent theme;
Save on development time since you are not recreating the wheel; and
Are a great way to start learning about theme development.
Child theme Cons
The best option if you’re a WordPress veteran who’s comfortable using CSS.
If you’re not intimidated by CSS, you’ll probably want to set up a child theme and edit its stylesheet manually.
If you are a beginner, this path can be a steep learning curve.
Becoming familiar with new concepts, can add frustration at a time when you would prefer a less taxing solution.
Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and you should feel free to use whatever approach feels most comfortable to you.
One more Pro
If you are accurate with cut and paste, you can skip learning code. This works for very for many newcomers and veterans.
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