In recent times, developers have started providing child themes along with the main theme file. So now the question is, “what is a child theme? Its uses, when to use, benefits, the pros, and cons. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of the child theme and answer all the questions related to it?
Child Theme allows you to customize the functionality of the parent theme without compromising the theme updates. Earlier, you couldn’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 the main theme without losing its customization.
What is the usage of the Child Theme?
Nowadays, almost every premium theme includes a child theme. That provides more control over the functions of the theme. There is nothing that can’t be customized in WordPress. One who has little knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP can customize the WordPress website as per the need.
You can customize a child theme with the desired changes you want to the parent theme file. However, sometimes it may happen you make so many changes that lead to creating a new theme.
Suppose you’re making a change in header.php of the main theme file, and somehow there is a mistake in its coding. Then the website may not work until the problem is solved. If the same thing happens with the child theme’s header.php file, its parent theme will overtake and serve the header.php(parent theme). From this, it is understood that we can make changes in the child theme file without fear of a website crash.
You can follow this guide to create a child theme for WordPress.
Who should use it?
- The child theme allows you to keep adding new features, functions to WordPress if you have some CSS, PHP skills. In that case, you can go with it.
- If you’re working on a big project and adding some extra features to the parent theme, you can use a child theme. That will allow you to add as many custom codes as needed.
- Suppose you’re working on a small project and 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 it would be best if you didn’t go with a child theme. Usually, themes offer an option for adding a custom style. If this case is not with you, you can add CSS to the main theme style.css file.
So if you would like to make some minor changes, you shouldn’t go with this child theme. However, in case you’ve to make some significant 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 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 select a basic installed theme as the framework, as it is pretty fast. But if the theme can’t fulfill all your needs, it would not be perfect as a child theme.
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 the 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.
This article discussed what is a child theme in WordPress and how we can use it. And also its advantages and disadvantages.
I hope you liked our article on Child Theme. If you’ve any doubt or queries, feel free to ask in the comment section below. Thank You.