How to Create a Child Theme in WordPress

Posted on Posted in Wordpress Design

Knowing how to install child themes in WordPress is very important when you plan on customizing your website.  If you’re not using a child theme, any changes you make to a WordPress theme’s template files (found at Appearance > Editor on your WordPress Dashboard) will be lost when you update your theme.

It’s important to keep your WordPress theme up to date, because theme updates often fix security vulnerabilities and known errors in the theme’s code.  You could reinsert your custom code manually after every update, of course, but installing a child theme gives you the freedom to make changes to your theme that won’t be affected by updates to the parent theme.  It’s a WordPress best practice, and one you should definitely be aware of, whether you’re a WordPress developer or just an enthusiastic user.

Many premium themes come with a child theme ready to install, which you can set as your theme after installing the main theme’s files.  However, if your theme doesn’t come with a premade child, you’ll have to make one yourself.  Luckily, it’s not that hard.

There are many tutorials out there on how to create a child theme in WordPress (including the official WordPress Codex guide), but we like BowTied.com’s guide from earlier this year:

A parent theme is any theme that can function on its own. On the other hand, a child theme can only function with a corresponding parent theme. That is because child themes only supplement the functionality of their parent themes.

Once a child theme is activated on your WordPress website, WordPress will look to the files located within your child theme first. If a specific file needed for the website to function does not exist in the child theme folder, WordPress then looks to the parent theme for those functions. It is in this way both parent and child work together.

Child themes are great because they allow you to make specific modifications to your parent theme without having to code an entire theme from scratch. You simply make the changes you want and let the already coded parent theme take care of the rest.

Creating your own child theme takes a little bit of knowledge of FTP and editing code, but it’s doable for anyone with a little patience and determination.

At RealmCrafts we include a child theme as part of any web design package that involves changes to a theme’s code, so you don’t have to worry about your website breaking now or in the future.

If you’re looking to have a child theme installed on your website, we can do that for you.  Just contact us for a free quote.

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