What is a WordPress Child Theme? A Complete Overview (Pros and Cons)


What is a WordPress child theme, and why do you need one? If you’re eager to know the answers to this question, then please READ ON!

A WordPress child theme allows users and developers to customize their WordPress websites more easily. It is important for you to consider their pros and cons, however.

Let’s take a closer look at what WordPress child themes are, and then we’ll tell you whether you should use one.

What is a WordPress Child Theme? – An Overview

In WordPress development, a child theme is an extension of another theme, called the parent theme, which inherits its functionality, features, and looks. If you don’t change the parent theme, you can customize the child theme.

To create a child theme, two files need to be created, style.css and functions.php. As well as being quite complex, they sometimes include just as many template files as the parent theme or even more.

It is important to choose a good parent theme before creating a child theme. To ensure that you only need to make a few changes, choose one that resembles your goals in terms of appearance and functionality.

There are some WordPress themes that are better suited for parent themes than others. For example, framework themes are excellent for parent themes. They include the core features of a theme but not its styling.

Designers and developers utilize these frameworks to create many different child themes that differ in style without rewriting any of the functions.

Why Should You Use a WordPress Child Theme?

A child theme is a quick and easy solution to personalize your WordPress website. They are used by designers and developers to accelerate development.

You may substantially minimize the time it takes to develop a WordPress site if you choose a solid parent theme. The theme frameworks are a fantastic place to start since they provide a lot of functionality and are simple to adapt.

Child themes also make it simple to maintain your themes updated. This was a significant problem in the early days of WordPress.

When you upgrade a WordPress theme, you usually lose all of your adjustments. If you’re using a child theme, however, your adjustments are saved in the child theme and will not be lost whenever the parent theme is updated.


The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using WordPress Child Themes

Using a WordPress child theme has pros and downsides, just like everything else. First, let’s know the benefits.

Pros of Using Child Theme in WordPress

Safe Updates: Since you never change the parent theme, you may update it whenever a new version is released. The child theme stores all of your adjustments.

Simple to Extend: A child theme based on a robust theme foundation provides a lot of versatility without requiring a lot of coding. You simply need to change the template files and functions you want to change.

Fallback Safe: When creating a whole theme, you must consider every conceivable circumstance. When you don’t code for something in a child theme, the functionality of the parent theme is available as a fallback option.

Cons of Using Child Theme in WordPress

Learning Curve: You must spend time studying the parent theme, particularly if you’ve picked a powerful framework with its own hooks and filters. This benefit, however, is only transient. You’ll be able to create personalized sites in a fraction of the time after you’ve mastered the parent theme.

Dependency on Parent Theme: The creator of the parent theme may abandon the theme or remove a feature you require. However, respected theme frameworks, like Genesis, have a steady company behind them, and most WordPress themes are free software, so you may use them even if they are discontinued.

The benefits and drawbacks of utilizing a child theme will vary depending on the parent theme, so let’s look at that next.

The Importance of Choosing an Effective Parent Theme

We frequently hear from novices who make the error of choosing a parent theme with limited capabilities. They eventually have to overwrite the majority of the parent theme files.

That is why it is critical to start with the correct theme.

Assume you select a parent theme and realize you don’t like how the footer appears. As a result, you generate a new footer.php file. Then you decide you don’t like the header’s appearance and develop a new header.php file.


It doesn’t take long to see that you shouldn’t be utilizing that theme as a parent theme. Instead, you might utilize it as a starting point for creating your own customized theme.

Another alternative is to select a theme that is much closer to what you want, reducing the number of adjustments you must make to your child’s theme.

Do You Really Need a WordPress Child Theme?

If you are a developer and attempting to make your custom WordPress themes, you may save time by using a child theme.

While creating high-quality themes, developers must optimize their workflow. Often, developing a child theme will assist you in accomplishing this.

Many of the sites we create are Genesis Theme Framework child themes. However, in rare circumstances, such as when a project is extremely complicated or extremely simple, we will create a separate custom WordPress theme.

If you’re a user, we suggest using child themes only if you’re regularly adding new functionalities to your theme’s functions.php file or updating its style.css file.

During a WordPress conference, one of the attendees inquired about the best method for adding custom styles. They discussed whether to use a child theme or a customized CSS plugin.

The answer is dependent on your technical knowledge and comfort level. It also relies on how many adjustments you make.

If you simply want to change the styles of a few items, a custom CSS plugin would suffice. However, if you find yourself altering the whole color scheme, for example, you must strongly consider utilizing a child theme.

Closing Statement

Up to this point, we hope the post helped you learn what a WordPress child theme is with every pros and con. You may want to see our guide on how you can clear cache files in WordPress. You may also like to see our guide on how you can add special characters in WordPress.

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