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A Beginner’s Guide: How to Use a Child Theme in WordPress

WordPress is a versatile and user-friendly platform for building websites and blogs. It allows you to create stunning and functional websites without needing to be a coding expert. One of the best practices in WordPress development is using child themes. In this article, we’ll explore what child themes are and how to use them effectively in WordPress Child Theme to enhance the functionality and design of your website.


What is a Child Theme?

A child theme is essentially a separate theme that inherits the functionality and design of a parent theme. In WordPress, themes control the appearance and functionality of your website. The parent theme is the main theme you install and use to build your site. A child theme, on the other hand, is a customized version of the parent theme that allows you to make modifications without altering the original code.


Why Use a Child Theme?

Using a child theme is crucial for several reasons:


Preserve Customizations:

If you make direct changes to the parent theme’s files, those changes may be lost when the theme is updated. A child theme ensures that your customizations remain intact even after updates.


Safe Testing Ground:

You can experiment with new design elements, features, or functionality in a child theme without affecting your live website. If something goes wrong, your main site remains unaffected.



Child themes are more secure. Modifying the parent theme can make your website vulnerable to security threats, while child themes are less likely to be compromised.


Efficient Development:

Developers can work collaboratively on child themes, making it easier to manage and maintain the site’s codebase.


Creating a Child Theme

Follow these simple steps to create a child theme:


Step 1: Create a New Folder

Begin by creating a new folder in your WordPress themes directory, typically located at wp-content/themes/. Name your folder something meaningful, like mychildtheme.


Step 2: Create a Stylesheet

Inside your child theme folder, create a new file named style.css. This file will be the stylesheet for your child theme. It should include the following essential information:


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Theme Name:

My Child Theme

Template: parent-theme-folder-name


Replace My Child Theme with the name of your child theme and parent-theme-folder-name with the directory name of your parent theme.


Step 3:

Create a functions.php File

In the same child theme folder, create a file named functions.php. This file will allow you to enqueue styles and scripts specific to your child theme. You can also use it to override or extend the functionality of the parent theme.


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function my_child_theme_enqueue_styles() {

wp_enqueue_style(‘parent-style’, get_template_directory_uri() . ‘/style.css’);


add_action(‘wp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘my_child_theme_enqueue_styles’);


This code snippet enqueues the parent theme’s stylesheet.


Step 4:

Activate Your Child Theme

Go to your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to “Appearance” > “Themes,” and you should see your child theme listed. Click “Activate” to set it as the active theme for your site.


Making Changes in Your Child Theme

Now that your child theme is active, you can start customizing your WordPress website without modifying the parent theme directly. Here are some common customizations you can make using a child theme:


CSS Customization:

You can add custom CSS to your child theme’s style.css file to change the appearance of your site. Any CSS rules you add here will override the corresponding rules in the parent theme’s stylesheet.


Template File Overrides:

If you want to modify specific template files (e.g., header.php or footer.php), simply create a file with the same name in your child theme folder. WordPress will use the child theme’s file instead of the parent theme’s.


Functions.php Modifications:

You can add functions and hooks to your child theme’s functions.php file to extend or modify the functionality of the parent theme.