Do you find yourself making frequent changes to the code of your WordPress theme? Perhaps changes were made to reverse the order of your blog post comments or to change the size and color of your main navigation bar. While making incremental code changes like this is a good way to start learning about theme modification and development, there are several problems with direct theme modification which are readily solved by using an important feature of the WordPress content management system: the child theme.
What Is A Child Theme?
A child theme can be quickly and easily created. It inherits the functionality and appearance of the original theme that you started with (usually referred to as the parent theme). When the child theme is created and then selected as the active theme of your site, your site will look and behave the same as the parent theme except for the modifications made to the child theme. These modifications override the corresponding appearance and/or functionality of the parent theme.
The advantages of using child themes over direct theme modification are discussed next:
Child Theme Modifications Are Not Lost During A Theme Update
One of the biggest problems with direct theme modifications is that you will lose them the instant you update your theme. Theme updates can’t be avoided because they are done to fix bugs, plug up security holes, and introduce new features. This problem is avoided through the use of a child theme. Changes made in a child theme are always preserved during theme updates.
Child Themes Allow You To Quickly Recover From Mistakes
If you make modifications within the child theme that breaks (or crashes) your site, you can easily fall back to the parent theme. Often this isn’t necessary because the particular file within the child theme that is causing the problem can simply be removed.
Keeping Track Of Modifications Are Simple With Child Themes
This is because your modifications aren’t dispersed among the many files of the parent theme. Keeping track of where changes are made is simple with child themes because by definition, the child theme contains only the modifications you wish to make to the site.
More detailed information about how to implement child themes can be found at the codex.wordpress.org website. For more information about content management systems or reliable web hosting, please contact us at Applied Innovations.
Photo Source / Desaturated from original