WordPress is currently one of the most popular platforms for website creation. The number of WordPress users is constantly growing.

The enthusiasm it arouses leads many professionals to develop specific themes that open up possibilities in terms of design and functionality.

In this article I will talk about child themes. I’ll offer a reminder of why you should always create a child theme when creating a WordPress site.

What is a WordPress Child Theme?

Before we talk about child and parent theme, let’s first define what a theme is.

In the WordPress world, a theme is a set of files that determines the appearance and layout of the website. This is an essential component that allows WordPress site creators to customize the visual appearance and user experience of their site.

With themes, users can easily change the graphic design of their site, giving it a unique look tailored to their specific needs. And there are themes on just about every theme imaginable.

From a technical point of view, WordPress themes are made up of several key elements:

  • Templates: They define the basic structure of the site, such as the header, footer, sidebar and content. These files are written in languages like PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
  • CSS Styles: Style files determine the colors, fonts, margins, and other aesthetic properties of the site. They allow you to customize the overall appearance of the site without altering the content itself.
  • Images and Media: Themes can include images and media for logos, background images, icons, etc., contributing to the overall visual identity of the site.
  • Customization Options: Many WordPress themes offer built-in customization options that allow users to easily change certain features of the theme without touching the code, such as colors, headers, backgrounds, etc.

Themes can be free or paid. Free themes are available from the official WordPress theme library, but there are also marketplaces where independent developers offer their own creations.

Some themes are visually and functionally oriented towards a theme (plumbing, law office, dentist, etc.). Other themes are more tool frameworks that allow you to create the style you want. They are more like toolboxes (for example, Kadence is our favorite theme).

WordPress Child Themes: What Exactly Are They?

Parent themes designate the original themes of the system, these are the ones we talked about just before.

Child themes are the elements that inherit the appearances and functionalities of the parent themes. We can see it as a way of creating your variation of the parent theme. This WordPress child theme is the one that will take over your site. Thus, WordPress will load the components of the parent theme, but also of the child theme.

It often happens that WordPress (parent) themes do not provide all the options you need to customize your site. Although they can be changed, it is not recommended to do so at all. For what ? At the first update pushed by the publisher, your customizations will be replaced by the new version of the theme. It is in this type of situation that it is necessary to use a child theme.

A Practical and Secure Option

The child theme is a flexible solution that allows you to modify your parent themes in complete safety. Indeed, with this kind of functionality, you can adopt a specific design, without having to risk any problems in the event of updates to the original themes. Changes made to the source code will have no impact on the appearance of your site. A child theme takes over the options of a parent theme without transforming it.

This way, when the themes undergo upgrades, you will be able to keep all the changes you have made. You will in no case lose the customization options produced beforehand. It is indeed discouraging to see all the adaptations disappear in the event of an update, especially if you have spent many hours creating them. However, the site cannot function properly without these updates. To avoid any inconvenience, it is always preferable to use child themes on your WordPress site. No matter how many times the theme is upgraded, you won’t have to worry about losing your customizations.

Child themes provide functionalities that do not exist in parent themes, without having harmful effects on the latter. In other words, child themes can be modified without representing any dangers for the original themes. In the event of any error, you can easily resume your parent theme without any problem.

Use a Child Theme to Quickly and Efficiently Develop Your Site

If you are looking for a way to quickly develop a site on WordPress, the child theme is undoubtedly the best solution for you. It offers you the possibility of personalizing your site according to your preferences and in complete security. This way, you don’t risk wasting time with parent themes. You personalize your site only once and you don’t have to make the same changes if you upgrade the themes. Of course, you can always make specific changes over time.

This is why you are advised to use this function when you select a WordPress theme. This way, you can personalize your site even as you start building it. So while adding child themes is optional, these elements are necessary to reduce the time it takes to create a website.

The child theme contributes in some way to facilitating the creation of a site on WordPress. Moreover, this option is strongly recommended for beginners in terms of site development. This element allows them to become more familiar with the operation and the various functionalities offered in the software.

A Wide Choice of Themes Available

A large number of child themes are now available on the WordPress template market. There are empty templates and those that contain many specific elements. Child themes that contain various components offer you endless possibilities for customization. They allow you to completely modify aspects of your site according to your wishes, at any time.

You can benefit from several settings to adapt your site to your preferences. The more features integrated into the theme, the better the modification and customization of your pages will be. However, make sure you really need all the options offered before making any choice.

When you get a child theme to set up your site, it is important that you first have a certain idea of what you really want to achieve. You need to establish a collection of features you need to personalize your web pages. Also, it is essential that you know in advance how to customize your site and what elements to integrate. Only proceed to acquire the theme when you have defined these specific points.

In summary, using child themes for your WordPress sites is not an obligation but rather a necessity. These are essential solutions for individuals wishing to bring a certain touch of originality to their pages. These elements make it possible to enrich the functionalities of the original templates without transforming them. Using these options saves the loss of modifications in the event of updating the main themes. They also help speed up the website creation process.

We’re a digital agency focused on LearnDash, WooCommerce and Kadence. We develop e-learning and e-commerce platforms for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Frederick Dugas

Building quality IT solutions to small & medium organizations. I am passionate about automation and WordPress.