A WordPress child theme is a secondary theme which inherits the functionality of the parent theme framework. The main purpose of using a child theme is to customize an existing WordPress theme without worrying about losing the modifications.
Developers tend to do their custom styling in the child theme and avoid working on the main theme as there are high chances of losing all the customization codes when one does it in the parent theme. The theme of the website should be updated regularly to make the website run smoothly. The easiest and most recommended way of introducing any custom functionality into the theme is by creating a child theme then modify it.
Introducing custom styling directly in the parent theme can create great chaos when you would need to update your theme. It would be a chaotic situation as if you choose to update your theme then you will lose all your customization & if you decide not to update the current theme then it can result in increasing the risk of getting your site hacked.
Introducing the concept of child theme and parent theme has allowed the developers to create a robust custom WordPress website easily without worrying about losing the custom styling.
Here’re a few pros & cons of using a WordPress child theme:
Pros of using a child theme
- Since the child theme inherits the same functionality & feature as the parent theme so, it becomes easier to update the parent theme to the new version whereas the customized coding in the child theme will remain untouched.
- By using a child theme, one can easily make his website more flexible as its powerful framework allows the developers to write their own sets of codes to extend any functionality.
- By using a child theme, you can keep your website secure from any irreversible damage.
- Developing a website becomes much easier and takes up less time when you develop it using a child theme.
- If you are developing a website using a child theme and you forget to code for something then you can always have the parent theme as a fallback option.
Cons of using a child theme
- One of the biggest disadvantages of using a child theme is its learning curve. First, you need to invest your time to understand the working of parent theme framework and its hooks & filters then only you can think about developing it.
- Another disadvantage that people tend to face is the lack of updates. While choosing a theme, one has to be very careful as sometimes the theme developer abandon the theme which directly affects the security of the website.
Choosing a right theme is of supreme importance, and before deciding whether to use a child theme or not, you need to consider whether you want to introduce some extreme changes in the parent theme or just some minor changes here and there. In the case of introducing extreme customization, you should use a child theme otherwise you can create a custom CSS plugin to introduce minor changes in the core theme of the website.