In this article: What is a child theme | The purpose of a child theme | When to use a child theme
When searching for a theme for your website, you may hear the term ‘child theme’ mentioned. But what exactly is a child theme and when should it be used?
In this article I will explain what a child theme is, why they are needed and when you should be using one on your website. This article expands on a previous one I wrote about WordPress themes, child themes and page builders.
What is a child theme?
A child theme is a second, stripped down theme, based on the ‘parent’ theme that you have purchased. It’s like having 2 themes, the parent theme holding all of the code and the child theme which ‘pulls’ code from the parent.
You can locate the child theme in the zipped download folder that you would access when you purchase a theme.
What’s the purpose of a child theme?
The purpose of a child theme, is to enable you to make styling customisations to the theme without changing the coding on the parent theme.
Why does this matter?
Well to begin with, you don’t want to run the risk of losing any customisation that you have done to the theme when it’s updated.
WordPress themes are regularly updated to keep up with new security patches and enhancements to WordPress core.
If you’re not running a child theme, then you may lose any styling customisations you have done. Most theme’s come with a child theme that you can upload and activate.
When should you use a child theme?
The answer is simple – all of the time. Most themes will enable you to upload and activate a child theme and I recommend that you take advantage of this. running a child theme alongside the parent theme will not impact on the speed of your site, as the child theme contains minimal code.
If you are running the Astra theme, you can generate an Astra child theme and personalise the name.
So to summarise…
- A child theme is a second, stripped down theme, based on the ‘parent’ theme that you have purchased.
- The purpose of a child theme is to enable you to make styling customisations to the theme without changing the coding on the parent theme.
- You should use a child theme all of the time.
If you need to know more about child themes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.