How to make a WordPress child theme & why you need one

If you are a fan of WordPress platform, you have probably heard tons of advices to make a WordPress child theme to reduce the future risks and errors to the critical minimum.

We at SKT Themes definitely share the opinion of your advisors and also stress the importance of creating and keeping a separate child theme of your WP site or blog. While the benefits and advantages of a child theme seem to have no edge, let’s first figure out what a child theme is in its true essence.

What is a child theme?

A WordPress child theme is the alternative version of the parent WP theme, which inherits the functionality and design of that parent template. This additional or child theme lets you modify, change or supplement the functions and appearance of the basic template. And what is important at this point, the parent template is remained untouched and unchanged at the same time. Subsequently, you can update it any time you want without any fear that the changes made will be lost.

Why do you need to make a WordPress child theme?

The accessibility of the codes and files of any valid WordPress template allows you to change and customize the appearance and functionality from the modifications in design to the creation of additional widgets and plugins. However, there is a slight inconvenience every WordPress webmaster can come up with. Any direct adjustments to the basic theme codes disappear, or, better to say, return to the source after any update of the theme.

Hence, if you want to avoid such unpleasant rollbacks, you need to make a WordPress child theme. It will enable you to make tons of changes to the theme without the danger of losing them upon any scheduled update.

When do you need to create a child theme?

If you are the one who is constantly making changes to his website or blog’s appearance or functional framework through adding new functions to the theme’s functions.php file or changing style.css file, creating a child template is a must.

Further, web designers and developers can highly benefit from this technique to speed up their workflow and achieve more without any unexpected drawbacks or errors.

Now, that we have opened up the whole potential of a child theme for your, let’s pass on to the technical part of its creation. All in all, it’s a wonderful way to go into the meat of the WordPress platform and learn more about its possibilities.

How to make a WordPress child theme

In order to make a WordPress child theme, we need to revolve around 3 main points:

1. The child theme directory

2. stylesheet (style.css)

3. functions.php

Well, the first step toward the creation of a child theme is to create its directory in wp-content/themes. It would be better, if the child theme directory has the title of the parent theme plus “child” ending.

Let’s take SKT Perfect theme as a sample

perfect commercial WordPress theme

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In this case, we’ll name our child theme “skt-perfect-child”. (Please, check highlighted parts)

Further, you need to create the theme’s stylesheet (style.css file). The stylesheet should begin with the following:

*
 Theme Name:   SKT Perfect Child
 Theme URI:    http://mysite.com/skt-perfect-child/
 Description:  SKT Perfect Child Theme
 Author:       John Smith
 Author URI:   http://mysite.com
 Template:     sktperfect
 Version:      1.0.0
 License:      GPL
 License URI:  http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html
 Tags:        perfect, responsive, widget friendly
 Text Domain:  skt-perfect-child
*/

Don’t forget to add your own details while dealing with this part of the stylesheet.

The last file we need to touch is functions.php. In order to enqueue the parent theme stylesheet is to add wp_enqueue_scripts action (https://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Action_Reference/wp_enqueue_scripts)
and use wp_enqueue_style() (https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_enqueue_style/) in child theme’s functions.php.

n this relation, functions.php file need to be created in the child theme’s directory. The opening line of functions.php should be “<?php”, after which you can add the stylesheets of both parent and child themes.

The example below should work properly, if your parent theme has only one main style.css.

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'my_theme_enqueue_styles' );
function my_theme_enqueue_styles() 
    wp_enqueue_style( 'parent-style', get_template_directory_uri() . '/style.css' );

If there is an actual CSS code contained in the child theme’s style.css, you need to add it as well. Actually, you need to add “parent-style” as a dependency. Here is a proper example:

function my_theme_enqueue_styles() 

    $parent_style = 'parent-style'; // This is 'skt-perfect-style' for SKT Perfect theme. 

    wp_enqueue_style( $parent_style, get_template_directory_uri() . '/style.css' );
    wp_enqueue_style( 'child-style',
        get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/style.css',
        array( $parent_style ),
        wp_get_theme()-&gt;get('Version')
    );

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'my_theme_enqueue_styles' );

That’s all, folks. Now you have successfully created your child theme and all that is left is its activations. For this, head over your sites Admin Panel, Appearance, Themes. You can find all the available themes listed here. Find the newly created child theme here and simply click on it to activate.

If you find this method really intimidating, you can take advantage of the available child theme creator plugins

One Click Child Theme:

download

One Click Child Theme is a plugin to make your life easier. Create and run you child theme in a matter of minutes and with a few simple clicks to avoid many unpleasant issues.

Child Theme Creator by Orbisius:

download

It is one of the top rated and easy to use child theme generator plugins you can use with any WordPress powered site. This amazing plugin is smart enough to define which files to copy and which ones to skip whenever creating a child theme. All in all, it comes with an admin friendly and intuitive interface and lets you create as many child themes from a parent theme as you may need.

Child Theme Configurator:

child themes check

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Another top rated solution for creating a child theme is called Child Theme Generator. This plugin is also wonderfully convenient for customization options you can make to you child theme.

Child Theme Check:

child theme check
download

Finally, Child Theme Check can be your right hand when it comes to keeping your child theme under constant control and surveillance whenever changes are made.

Thank you for visiting SKT Themes a place for selecting top WordPress Themes from a list of several hundred templates. Happy Reading and Shopping.

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