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What is Child Theme in WordPress

What is Child Theme? Why Should We Use It?

If your website is WordPress, you’ve probably heard about Child Theme. So, what is child theme? Is it a theme? What does it aim to achieve? Why should we use a child theme instead of a common theme?

This post will clear it up.

What is Child Theme?

What is Child Theme?

Child Theme, as its name said, is a child theme created from its parent theme. Child theme brings all the features and the design as its parent theme. However, it operates and be customized independently of the parent theme. The parent theme absolutely keeps intact itself whenever we custom the child theme.

Now, you may feel that the child theme is the same with a copy of the parent theme. Maybe, but it is not the normal copying. The difference is that they have a connection. Whenever the parent theme is updated, the child theme will take the updated features as well, along with keeping every adjustment we did before.

Child theme actually is a folder in the parent theme’s folder. This folder of child theme always has a file named style.css at least. This file helps to create a connection between the child theme and the parent theme. Out of the style.css file, the child theme’s folder may contain several other files.

Out of the style.css file, the child theme’s folder may contain several other files.

A child theme usually has the following traits:

  • The child theme get all the data from the parent theme to make its basement;
  • The child theme inherits all the features from the parent theme. So, it can save the files of style, image, JavaScript, CSS, template, … as the parent theme;
  • Users can custom everything in the child theme without causing any impact or change in the parent theme;
  • Users can move the child theme out of the parent theme to be your own theme and clone it easily.

Why should we use a Child Theme?

You probably consider why we should use a child theme when we had the parent theme already. Is that necessary?

My answer is that it is not a casual thing from WordPress. Everything happens for a reason.

In fact, Child Theme comes out aiming to solve a kind of the following situation. You use a parent theme and customize it a lot. Some days, you need to update the theme and all the adjustments we did before disappear suddenly. At that time, you must customize your theme from the beginning. It probably wastes your time, effort, and even be worse if your website can not get the right looking as you want.

So, the child theme may be a good choice. Let’s see what it brings to you.

Advantages of Child Theme

Easy to customize

When we use a WordPress theme, we tend to edit directly in the theme by CSS or code. You can do the same with the child theme without causing an impact on the parent theme.

Safety when updating

Direct editing in the parent theme will cause some issues when you update the theme. Every adjustment will be deleted and replaced by a new file from the updated version.

Using a child theme helps you to keep all that customization in the child theme and make them valid on your site. At the same time, the parent theme still is updated, and the child theme inherits all the update as well.

Your website is now up-to-date without any change in its appearance.

Using a child theme helps you to keep all that adjustment in the child theme and make them valid on your site.

Easy to restore and fix bugs

With a child theme, if you accidentally make an error or the appearance is not as you want, you definitely can delete the child theme and back to use the parent theme or even make another child theme to start over.

Know exactly what has been changed

Nowadays, WordPress themes usually contain dozens of files inside. There are files of PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, image, sometimes is jQuery and more. With a large number of files, it is difficult to know every change, especially when the person did it is not you.

Child theme helps you to find them all easily in its folder. It’s not better for you only, also better for the guy who takes over your task.

Disadvantages of Child Theme

Along with the advantages, there are some disadvantages of Child Theme which you should consider:

  • You may take time to discover frames and filters of WordPress, so that makes the time to build your website be extended.
  • WordPress has to access and read two theme folders of both child theme and parent theme when you use a child theme. It may cause a longer time to access data and display in the interface. And, it also affects the loading speed of your website.

WordPress has to access and read two theme folders of both child theme and parent theme.

Final thoughts

Using a child theme brings you a lot of benefits and some drawbacks as well. If you can improve the time to build and load the website, you should use child themes, especially when you want to customize your theme significantly.

Anyway, using a child theme has its meaning only when you want to customize the theme. Otherwise, the parent theme will work for you.

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