Mostly beginners in WordPress development are always confused about WordPress Child Theme. They want to know about WordPress Child Theme. Why we need this? What are the pros and cons of the child theme? Why people prefer to use the child theme? When does a developer need to use the child theme? In this blog, we discuss all these concern. Guys, WordPress Child Theme will no more rocket science because we are going to become a rockstar.
What is Child Theme in WordPress?
WordPress Child Theme is also a WordPress Theme. Child theme has all the functionality of its parent theme (Original Theme). We can create any child theme of any WordPress Theme. How can we create child theme we discuss in next post. The child theme is used to customize the theme, child theme helps us in this way that good themes keep updating and developer need to update theme if a developer doesn’t create the child theme all the customization will be gone or if the developer doesn’t update theme website will be hacked. And there is no way to update the theme without creating a child theme.
WordPress community decided to solve this problem by introducing the concept of a child theme. A child theme has all the functionality and behavior of original theme without changing parent theme (Original theme). Developers can change theme and features without any change in the parent theme. It not necessary that every theme has a child theme.
Why developer use WordPress Child Themes?
Child theme boosts the development speed. Every good theme reduces time to build sit. All good parent themes use frameworks because frameworks offer lots of functionalities and customizations. A developer can customize to build an impressive site.Create a WordPress Child theme as simple as creating a new style.css file in a new folder. A child theme can have as many templates as a parent theme, sometimes, child theme has more templates than parent theme.
When We Use a Child Theme?
If a developer is adding continuously adding functions and modifying style.css then the user should use a child theme. What if a developer only adding custom styles? Is it a good idea to build child theme or custom CSS plugin? The answer depends on how comfortable you are with technology. If a developer just adding styles of a few elements, then custom CSS plugin is fine if a developer going to change entire color scheme then he should use a child theme.
Choosing a Good Parent Theme is essential
All WordPress frameworks are parent themes, but not all parent themes are frameworks. WordPress theme can have child themes, not all of them are meant to be used as theme frameworks. Many beginners make mistakes of creating a child theme of a parent theme. That doesn’t work properly.
If you are creating a child theme where you need to replace a lot of parent theme files. like you decided to make a child theme of Twenty Seventeen theme. In your child theme, you had style.css and functions.php file. Then you should not use Twenty Seventeen theme as a parent theme. You should use your own custom theme.
In short, you should use a child theme when you need the functionality, features, and awesomeness of a powerful parent theme without writing much code for it yourself.
Advantages of Using a WordPress Child Theme
There are advantages and disadvantages to using a WordPress Child theme. There are following some advantages child theme:
- A child theme automatically gets all the features, styles and templates of parents theme. Now you can change your site using child theme without change parent theme. When the update comes you can update your theme without losing customization.
- Child theme built on a powerful theme framework that makes child theme flexibility, no need to write a lot of code. You have no need to modify all the files, you can edit files selectively.
- When you are creating a child theme you don’t need to think about all possible scenarios and code for them. While when you are creating a theme you have to think about all the possible scenarios.
Disadvantages of Using a Child Theme
One of the most disadvantages of using child themes is that the time you need to invest in learning about the parent theme. There is a learning point is especially when you are working with robust frameworks because each of them has their own hooks and filters. You should have to know those to maximize the potential. In our view, this learning curve is a one-time thing. For example the first child themes that you made will take your time longer, but after that you will be creating custom websites in a fraction of time. Your overall performance will improve.
Another disadvantage is that your parent theme’s developers may loose interest and abandon it, used the features that you are using in your child theme, or bring a change that totally destroys your child theme. This is not bad as this looks. Mainly because all good WordPress themes are open source and GPL. If the parent theme developer abandons the project, then nothing says that you have to stop using it. Sometimes, other folks in our surrounding step up to take over the project. If developers remove a certain feature in the original theme, then you can simply add it in your child theme. You have the code for it. Lastly, if they make a change that you do not like, then you can always avoid updating. Theme updates are crucial when there is a security exploit. We always recommend users to update themes because it helps ensure future compatibility with other scripts and plugins.
If you are using a commercial theme framework like Genesis, then support option available to help you upgrade your theme or troubleshoot problems. Also, a platform like Genesis is not going to just disappear because there is a stable business organization behind it with thousands of customers worldwide. For example, they removed certain built-in widgets, but they made them publicly available as plugins for those who still wanted to use it.
This is important to know that even though you can always create a child theme of any WordPress theme, sometimes you may not need a child theme. Just think about the number of changes you have planned for your child theme, if the changes are minor that you planned, then you can always create a custom-style.css file in your theme or use a Custom CSS plugin. If the changes are big where you find yourself overriding the base parent theme files, then you probably should be creating a custom theme.
We hope that this article helps you understand what is WordPress Child Theme and it is a good know for you or not. If you think we missed something, then please let us know in the comments below.
Stay tuned with us 🙂