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How to Use a Child Theme in WordPress

Themes in WordPress are pre-designed templates that can be installed and activated to change the look and feel of a website. However, many WordPress users, like you, want to customize their websites beyond what themes can offer. Because let’s face it, everyone is unique. For this reason, child themes were created.

A child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality and styling of another theme, called the parent theme. By creating a child theme, you can modify the design and functionality of the parent theme without losing the ability to update the parent theme in the future. Today, we’ll be discussing the step by step procedure on how to use a child theme in WordPress. 

Step 1: Choose a Parent Theme

The first step in creating a child theme is to select a parent theme. The parent theme is the theme that will be used as a foundation for the child theme. The parent theme should be compatible with the latest version of WordPress and should have a design that aligns with the website’s goals.

To choose a parent theme, visit the theme directory or a reputable theme marketplace like ThemeForest. Once you’ve found a parent theme that you like, install and activate it.

Step 2: Create a New Folder for the Child Theme

The next step is to create a new folder for the child theme. You can create the folder using an FTP client or through your web hosting account’s file manager. The folder should be created in the /wp-content/themes/ directory of your WordPress installation.

The name of the child theme folder should be unique and should not contain any spaces. A good practice is to name the child theme folder after the parent theme, followed by “-child.” For example, if the parent theme is called “Twenty Twenty-three,” the child theme folder should be named “twentytwenty-three-child.”

Step 3: Create a Style.css File in Your Child Theme Folder:

Once you’ve created a new folder for your child theme, you’ll need to create a style.css file inside the folder. This file will contain the necessary information about your child theme, such as its name, description, and author.

Step 4: Enqueue the Parent Theme Stylesheet

In order for your child theme to inherit the styling of the parent theme, you’ll need to enqueue the parent theme’s stylesheet in your child theme’s functions.php file. 

Step 5: Customize Your Child Theme:

Now that your child theme is set up, you can begin customizing it to your liking. You can add custom CSS to your child theme’s style.css file, or you can create new template files to modify the layout of your website.

For example, if you want to modify the header of your website, you can create a new header.php file in your child theme folder and add your custom code to it. WordPress will automatically use the header.php file in your child theme instead of the header.php file in the parent theme.

Step 6: Activate Your Child Theme: 

Once you’ve finished customizing your child theme, it’s time to activate it. To do this, go to your WordPress dashboard, click on “Appearance,” and then click on “Themes.” You should see your child theme listed among your installed themes. Simply click the “Activate” button to make your child theme the active theme for your website.

And that’s it! By following these six simple steps, you can use a child theme in WordPress to customize the design and functionality of your website without losing the ability to update the parent theme in the future.

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