WordPress Child theme- what it is and how to install one

Last edited:
October 6, 2017
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In this tutorial, I will explain what is a WordPress child theme and show you how to install one, if you haven’t done so already.Note: If you are using the Genesis Framework, you don’t need to install a child theme, since your theme is already a child theme.If you have a self-hosted WordPress website , you are probably using a paid or premium theme to give your website a more professional look. Once you have installed the theme, you started changing the colors, the font, tweaking the layout. Am I right?

But have you thought about what will happen if you need to update your theme (theme developers release updates on a regular basis). I am going to tell you: you will lose all the customization you worked so hard for and will end up with the original theme setup. This is because with every update, WordPress deletes the old files and replaces them with new ones.This can be very frustrating if you are not familiar with how WordPress works and if you are not aware of the things you need to do before you start customizing your theme. The answer is simple: you need to install a child theme and modify the child theme. Thus, once you update the original theme your changes won’t be affected.

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What is a WordPress child theme?

A child theme is a WordPress theme that inherits the functionality and features from another theme- the parent theme. It’s like a copy of your main theme. Most paid themes nowadays come with already pre-made child themes. They are usually named after the main theme and contain the word child. When activating and modifying the child theme, you won’t lose any changes when updating the main, parent theme. This is a common practice and every self-respecting blogger or online entrepreneur should be aware of it.

DO:After purchasing a new theme, make sure to install both the parent and the child theme’s .zip files.  Here’s an example of the themes I use on Lipstick and Pixels:

As you can see I have both Moments and Moments Child installed, and the active theme is Moments Child, so I can modify the website without losing changes when the developer updates the main theme.

DON’T:Do not just install the main theme and start customizing. You will regret it after you see that all changes will be deleted after a theme update. Take action now and create a child theme, if your developer didn’t provide you with one. Here’s a handy tutorial on the subject.

How to install a WordPress Child theme

Installing and activating a child theme is super easy. Follow the same steps like when you are installing any other theme.Go to Appearance> Themes > Add New

wordpress child theme

Then click on upload theme.

wordpress child theme

Select the .ZIP file containing your child theme and upload it to WordPress.

wordpress child theme

Once uploaded, you can now activate your child theme.

wordpress child theme

That's it! If you have more questions, please leave them in the comments below.

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