I received a mail from one of our users, titled, “what is a child theme”. According to him, he bought a theme and with that, there is a child theme too, he wants to know its uses when to use, benefits the pros and cons of it. So we’ll discuss all these in this article.
I can simply reply through the mail, but I thought it could be a good article for my website too :). Child Theme allows you to customize a WordPress parent theme without compromising the theme updates. Earlier, you can’t update a theme without losing its customization.
So if there is a security update of the theme, then it is necessary to update it. But at the same time, you’ll lose all the changes made to the theme.
In simple words, we can say that a child theme allows you to update your main theme without losing the theme’s customization.
What is the usage of the Child Theme?
Nowadays, almost every premium theme includes a child theme with it. That provides more control over the functions of the theme.
You can customize a WordPress theme(parent) with the desired changes you want. Even you can create a new theme, if your made some mistake in its coding, then the parent theme will save this, and the website will not break.
Who should use it?
If you keep adding new features, functions to WordPress and have some CSS, PHP skills. In that case, you can go with it.
If you’re working on a big project and you’ve to add some extra features to the parent theme, then you can use a child theme. That will allow you to add as many custom codes as needed.
If you’re working on a very small project and you’ve to remove extra unused CSS, JS, or PHP code. In that case too, you can use a child theme.
Who shouldn’t go with it?
If you don’t know how to add code, you’re happy with what your theme is providing. Or you’ve to add only custom CSS, then you shouldn’t go with a child theme. Usually, themes provide an option for adding a custom style. If this case is not with you, you can edit the main theme style.css file to add CSS.
So if you like to make some minor change then you shouldn’t go with this a child theme. In case you’ve to make some big changes, then you have to.
Role of Parent Theme.
Your parents never let you fall. You always feel safe under their shed. If you can’t perform an action in which parents are experts, they are always there. Similarly, if you made some coding mistakes in the child theme, its parent theme overtakes that file, and the website will not be crash.
So that you can rectify the changes. A critical role is always played by the parent theme.
How to choose a parent Theme?
Every theme is a parent theme but not a good framework for the child theme. You should choose one that is more customizable and near to your needs. Suppose you choose a basic installed theme as the framework, as it is pretty fast.
First, you’ll customize or change header.php, then footer.php, then single.php, and so on. Later you want to add some slides or share buttons etc. You worked a lot and consumed a lot of time. So the framework you choose must be somewhere near to your needs. That should be SEO friendly like support HTML5, schema markup, etc.
Pros and Cons of Child theme
Everything comes with an advantage and disadvantage. I earn for my family, but they have to cook for me means some disadvantage of having me ;).
A child theme is no less than having me. It has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of Child Theme
- Allows you to update: You can update the parent theme without losing the customization or tweak you made in it. You don’t have to make the changes every time for a critical security update. As every theme should be up to date for security reasons.
- Website will not break: When you made some mistake in coding while designing the new layout using a child theme, the parent theme always there to save it.
- Allow you to make tweaks: You can make the changes as much as you need. That means you can create even a new theme by modifying the framework.
Cons of using Child Theme.
Every theme has its own coding, hook to call various functions. So before making any changes, you’ve to understand all the coding used in that. This will take a lot of time to understand all the hook etc.
The theme owner may abandon the project, so you’ll not get updates for the parent theme. That could be a drawback. But you can use that particular theme even after its updates are abandoned.
I hope you liked our article on Child Theme. If you’ve any doubt or query, feel free to ask in the comment section below. Thank You.