Are you the type of blogger or webmaster who likes to customize your WordPress theme? Have you ever updated your theme only to discover that all or most of your customizations disappeared? Creating a WordPress child theme can help you avoid these problems and keep you from having to redo your site. This article will help you understand what a child WordPress theme is and how to set one up.
What Is A WordPress Child Theme and How Does It Help Me?
A WordPress child theme inherits all functions and features from the parent theme. Think of it as a copy of the original. You can change the look and function of the theme without any danger of messing up the original. One of the main attractions of a WordPress child theme is to have the ability to update your site without losing any customizations, as your customizations are done in the child theme, and the parent theme is the only thing that gets updated. It also allows you to modify the functionality of the parent theme or even add new functions. But because it’s based on the parent theme, the amount of coding required is kept to a minimum. This mainly benefits the programmers who are building their own themes, not the average user. I’m sure you’ve heard blogs out there mentioning the Genesis framework. This a commercial theme, but programmers create child themes from it to add their own functions and styles.
Is It Hard to Create a Child Theme?
There are a couple ways to create a WordPress child theme, but I am going to show you the way I feel is easiest. It includes using a very simple plugin that does all the work for you, instead of having to do it manually.
Login to your admin area for your WordPress site and click on Plugins in the side bar.
Do a search for Orbisius Child Theme Creator and Install and activate the plugin. Or you can download it manually from here.
Once activated you will see it in your list of plugins. Click on “Create Child Theme”.
You will be taken to your Themes section. Notice how under each theme there are now two check boxes and a button labeled “Create Child Theme”
If you want to immediately switch to the child theme once it’s created, checkmark the first box. If you want to change the title and description for the child theme so you can easily recognize it in your list, checkmark the second box. The default values are type in grey. Click the “Create Child Theme” button.
Once the child theme has been created, you will see a confirmation at the top of your screen.
Under Appearance > Themes you will now see an entry for you child theme. It’s usually at the bottom under the separate heading “Child Themes”.
That’s it! You have officially created a WordPress child theme. Activate it and you are in business.
Any changes you make from here on out will now be applied to the child theme. If you have already made some customizations prior, you may want to transfer them over to the child theme if you can. While those customizations will be seen in your website (because the child theme will inherit them) you will lose them if you update. Better to transfer them to the child theme and keep them forever!