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Child Theme, as the name suggests, is a child theme that was created from its parent theme. The features and design of the parent theme are carried over to the child theme. It can, however, function and be customized independently of the parent theme. When we customize the child theme, the parent theme remains completely intact.
You might think that the child theme is the same as a copy of the parent theme. Maybe, but this isn’t your typical copying. The distinction is that they are linked. When the parent theme is updated, the child theme will receive the updated features as well as any previous adjustments.
To create a child theme, you must first create a folder for your child theme in your themes directory. The only file you need in this folder is style.css. You can specify the parent theme in the style.css file’s header by inserting a template line into the comment code where the theme name is written. Because this style sheet comes after the parent’s style sheet, it will override any styles in the parent theme’s style.css file.
/* Theme Name: WPTechOnline Child Theme URI: https://wptechonline.com/ Description: WPTechOnline Child Theme Author: WPTechOnline Author URI: http://example.com Template: wptechonline Version: 1.0.0 License: GNU General Public License v2 or later License URI: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html Tags: light, dark, two-columns, right-sidebar, responsive-layout, accessibility-ready Text Domain: wptechonlinechild */
Why is WordPress Child Themes used?
Child themes are used by designers and developers to accelerate development. You can drastically reduce the time it takes to create a WordPress site by using a good parent theme. All good parent themes, also known as theme frameworks, provide a plethora of functionality and customization options, removing the need for you to code everything. DIY users frequently create child themes to modify an existing theme while retaining the ability to update the parent theme if necessary.
You’re probably wondering why we’d use a child theme when we already had the parent theme. Is that really necessary?
My response is that it is not a casual occurrence on the part of WordPress. Every event occurs for a reason.
In fact, Child Theme is released with the intention of resolving a situation similar to the one described below. You use a parent theme and heavily customize it. Some days, you need to update the theme, and all of the changes we made previously vanish. At that point, you must begin by customizing your theme. It most likely wastes your time and effort, and it may even be worse if your website does not look the way you want it to.
As a result, the child theme could be a good option. Let’s see what it has in store for you.
The Benefits of a Child Theme
Using a WordPress Child theme has advantages and disadvantages, just like anything else. Let’s start with the advantages.
Updates that are secure
When you update the theme, direct editing in the parent theme will cause some issues. Every modification will be removed and replaced by a new file from the updated version.
Using a child theme allows you to keep all of your customizations in the child theme while still making them valid on your site. At the same time, the parent theme is still being updated, and the child theme inherits all of the changes.
The features, styles, and templates of the parent theme are automatically inherited by a child theme. This allows you to make changes to your site using child themes without ever having to touch the parent theme. When a new version of the parent theme is released, you can update it with confidence because all of your changes are saved in the child theme.
Customization is easy
A child theme built on a powerful theme framework provides a lot of flexibility without requiring a lot of coding. You can modify only the template files and functions that you require without having to go through the rest of the template files. You can add new features and do a lot more.
When we use a WordPress theme, we usually make changes directly in the theme using CSS or code. You can do the same thing with the child theme without affecting the parent theme.
When creating a complete theme, you must consider all possible scenarios and code for them. However, if you are working on a child theme and forget to code for something, the parent theme’s functionality is always available as a fallback option.
What is the most important aspect of a child theme?
A typical child theme includes the following characteristics:
- The child theme uses all of the data from the parent theme to create its basement.
- Users can customize everything in the child theme without affecting or changing the parent theme.
- Users can easily move the child theme out of the parent theme to become their own theme and clone it.
The Drawbacks of Using a Child Theme
Along with the benefits, there are some drawbacks to Child Theme that you should be aware of:
- It may take some time to learn about WordPress frames and filters, which will lengthen the time it takes to build your website.
- When you use a child theme, WordPress must access and read two theme folders: the child theme and the parent theme. It may take longer to access data and display it in the interface as a result. It also has an impact on the loading speed of your website.
Finally, some thoughts
Using a child theme has many advantages as well as disadvantages. If you can reduce the time it takes to build and load your website, you should use child themes, especially if you want to significantly customize your theme.
It is important to understand that, while you can always create a child theme for any WordPress theme, you may not always need one. Consider the number of changes you intend to make to your child theme; if the changes are minor, you can always create a custom-style.css file in your theme or use a Custom CSS plugin. If the changes are so drastic that you find yourself overriding the core parent theme files, you should probably create a custom theme.
In any case, using a child theme is only useful when you want to customize the theme. Otherwise, the parent theme will suffice.