What is child theme and how to create one?

A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme.
Child themes allow you to modify or extend functionality of it’s parent theme. A child theme is the safest and easiest way to modify an existing theme, whether you want to make a tiny or extensive changes. Instead of modifying the theme files directly, you can create a child theme and override only the things you need to update.

Many themes already come with a prepacked child theme – look for theme_child.zip inside the downloaded package before you follow the steps listed below.

Step by step

  1. Create a directory in your themes directory to hold the child theme.
    Creating new directory

    Creating new directory

  2. Copy from parent theme file style.css to your child theme
    style.css need to be copied

    style.css need to be copied

  3. Edit style.css
    Edit style.css

    Edit style.css

  4. Edit functions.php
    The final step is to enqueue the parent and child theme stylesheets. To do that you will need to recreate on child path the function.php file like in the example below:

    Edist functions.php

    Edist functions.php

    But instead of copying code from the parent functions.php you will need to add there new one:

  5. If you want to change any file in parent themes you must create the same path in child themes and copy these files (e.g. if parent theme has a file in theme > shortcodes > boxes > ctAlertBoxShortcode.class.php you should create the same root in child theme theme > shortcodes > boxes > ctAlertBoxShortcode.class.php
    Folder structure of main theme and child theme

    Folder structure of main theme and child theme

    Folder structure of main theme and child theme[/caption]

  6. Optional – copy screenshot.png or screenshot.jpg from parent theme to your child theme directory to have a nice preview