WordPress Theme Installation (Parent and Child Theme)

Introduction

A theme forms the majority of your website. Every theme has two parts, A parent theme and a child theme. A parent theme is what we recognize as any theme to be, the platform that loads all your customizations, graphics etc. It also includes the original template and loading files alongside the main PHP files, which are the building blocks of the website.

On the contrary, creators can also choose to install another sub-theme known as the child theme that can be particularly implemented to incorporate certain upgrades and customizations without interfering with the base language of the parent theme. Let’s learn how to create a child theme for your WordPress website.

What is a parent theme in WordPress?

A parent theme, in general, is the theme that you download from any platform (free or paid) and install it directly to your WordPress.

What is a child theme in WordPress?

A child theme is a copy of a parent theme. This copy can be either provided to you by the theme provider or you can create a child theme on your own.

Do I need a child theme?

The concept of a child theme was planned for developers, as each developer plans to customize a theme not using plugins or page/post editor but directly into the code. When the developer changes the code as per their need, that theme is different from what the theme provider originally created. In this use case, when the theme provider releases a new update with improvements, that update overrides the changes made by the developer. To solve this issue, a child theme is created, and all the updates provided by the theme provider are applied only to the parent theme, and the code changes made by the developer stay intact.

WordPress Theme Installation (Parent and Child Theme)

Steps for WordPress Theme Installation

Parent Theme Installation

Method 01: Downloading Theme From WordPress Gallery

Step 01: Go to the Admin Panel of WordPress and Click Appearance > Themes.

Step 02: Here, click “Add New”

Step 03: You will find multiple themes here, preview them and choose the one that suits your requirement. You can refer to this blog to identify the best suitable themes.

WordPress Themes

Step 04: Once you have identified a suitable theme, click Install.

Step 05: Once installed, click on Activate.

Method 02: Downloading Theme From External Website

Step 01: Visit a WordPress theme provider website, e.g. ThemeForest

Theme Forest

Step 02: Here, search for your theme based on your requirement. You can refer to this blog to identify the best suitable themes.

Step 03: Once you have identified a suitable theme, buy it out and download the zip.

Step 04: Once downloaded, you can extract the zip to find the theme zip file (sometimes they also provide a child theme zip file). You can also find a file with instructions on theme activation with an activation code.

Step 05: In your wp-admin, visit Appearance > Themes.

Step 06: Here, click Add New. And after that, click Upload Theme.

Step 07: You can now upload the theme zip file you downloaded in step 04. Once uploaded, Install and Activate the same.

Child Theme Installation

Method 01: Adding a Child Theme for any theme using a Plugin (Recommended)

This is the easiest way to create a child theme for any parent theme. Before following the steps below, you need to have the parent theme uploaded and installed using the methods discussed above.

Step 01: Go to Admin Panel; then, Plugins > Add New.

Step 02: Search for Child Theme Configurator. Install and Activate it. (Alternatively, you can download it from here and upload it. After that, Install and Activate the same.)

Child Theme Configurator

Step 03: Go to Tools > Child Themes.

Step 04: Click on the “Create a new Child Theme” radio button. Choose your parent theme from the drop-down. After that, click “Analyze”.

Step 05: Review the name and description, and after that, click “Create New Child Theme”.

Step 06: Now, you can visit Appearance > Themes. There, you will find a new theme added with the name of the child theme you created in Step 05. Activate the same.

Method 02: Use the online Astra Child Theme Generator

You can visit the Astra Child Theme Generator online and follow the steps mentioned. This is only applicable if your parent theme is also an Astra theme.

Astra Child Theme Generator

Once generated, this theme will be downloaded in a zip format. Install and Activate following the Method 02 guidelines of Parent theme installation.

Method 03: Use the online Child Theme Generator

You can visit the Child Theme Generator online and follow the steps mentioned.

Child Theme Generator

Once generated, this theme will be downloaded in a zip format. Install and Activate following the Method 02 guidelines of Parent theme installation.

Method 04: Manually Add Child Theme using File Manager

Step 01: Create a folder for your child’s theme

Whatever is written over the parent theme is carried out through a child theme. Thus, to establish a child theme, you need to create a folder for the same in the ‘file manager’ of your WordPress hosting provider. There can be various third party WordPress hosting providers (SiteGround, WP Engine etc.)

Step 02: Make a stylesheet for your desired child theme.

A stylesheet is a unique file which codes for the CSS rules and requires declarations which are prerequisites for building the child theme. This file needs to be named ‘style.css’. A stylesheet only functions when it is written in the correct format, meaning, when a creator begins working on a stylesheet, their first step is always to give a theme name and a theme URL; for instance, let’s make a style sheet for a child theme named ‘Twenty Twenty-one.’

Step 03: Activating the child theme

Now that the child theme has been made, it needs to be configured in WordPress. To do so, go to your WordPress dashboard, hop onto the appearances menu, search for the themes option, and then add by choosing the file containing the child theme that should be stored on your computer.

Conclusion

Now that your child theme is established, you can make any adjustments and customizations as per your creativity and ideas by making changes in the style.css file found in your child theme’s directory. This would allow you to introduce any changes in the design or accessibility of the website without risking any erroneous data loss in the parent theme.

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