A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality, features, and style of another theme, known as the parent theme.
Child themes are a safe way to modify a parent theme because they allow you to make changes without affecting the parent theme’s original code, making it easier to update the parent theme without losing the modifications you’ve made.
Why Should I Use a WordPress Child Theme?
There are several reasons why you might choose to use a WordPress child theme:
1. Safe Updates
If you modify a theme directly and it is updated later, your modifications may be lost. By using a child theme, you will ensure that your modifications are preserved.
2. Easy to Extend
A child theme has all the features and functionality of the parent theme, meaning you can choose to override certain aspects rather than creating an entirely new theme from scratch. This makes it a lot easier to customise your website.
3. Fallback Safe
If you don’t include a certain function in your child theme, it will automatically fall back to the parent theme’s function. This makes it a lot safer if you’re new to developing or customising themes.
4. Learn About WordPress Theme Development
If you’re looking to get into WordPress theme development, starting with a child theme can be a great first step. You can see how the parent theme was developed and learn about the structure of a WordPress theme.
However, it’s important to note that child themes aren’t always the right solution. For minor CSS changes, for example, it might be easier to use a custom CSS plugin or the Additional CSS option in the WordPress Customiser. But for more substantial changes, a child theme can be an excellent choice.