What is a Child Theme (and should I be using one)?
What if all the hard work and changes you've made to your website disappeared with your next theme update? Want to make sure that doesn't happen? Read on…
There are some technical aspects of developing websites which, although easy, are too often ignored – with perilous results.
Child themes is one example.
If you don't know what about child themes, you may be setting yourself up for a disaster.
In a nutshell (not sure what that means 🙂 ) a Child Theme is a Theme that inherits the functionality and styling of another theme, known as the Parent Theme. Child Themes are a “best practice” in developing websites.
Why use a Child Theme?
According to WordPress.org,
“There are a few reasons why you would want to use a child theme:
- If you modify a theme directly, and it is updated, then your modifications may be lost. By using a child theme you will ensure that your modification are preserved.
- Using a child theme can speed up development time.
- Using a child theme is a great way to learn about WordPress theme development.”
How to Install a Child Theme
ONE: If the theme provides a separate child theme, (for example, Beaver Builder provides a Parent Beaver Builder Theme and a Child theme,) do the following:
- Load the Parent theme but don't activate it.
- Then, load the Child theme, and activate the child theme.
That's it. The back end, admin, panel of WordPress will look the same and provide the same functionality.
- Create a copy of your Child Theme from the Child Theme Generator.
- You can make it very simple by clicking “Generate,” or more complex by adding an image and details (this is more applicable to developers and is not really necessary.)
- Follow the same steps as in scenario number one above.
Caution: I've only played with this generator and although it seems to be safe and effective, I can't fully recommend, as I use themes which either have a child theme or generator.It is important to note, however, that this plugin is current (updated recently and tested on the latest version of WordPress,) has over 100K active installations and (at the time of this post) had 153 5 star ratings.(This, by the way, is the criteria, you should use with any plugin you are considering installing.)
- Create a copy of your Child Theme using the Child Theme Configurator above.
- Again, you don't need to get into all the bells and whistles, just create a simple Child Theme.
- Once more, follow the same steps as in scenario number one above.
What about your site, do you have a child theme? Does this post answer what you need to do to protect yourself? Let me know below.