You Don’t Need A WordPress Child Theme Most Likely – Here’s Why

You Don’t Need A WordPress Child Theme Most Likely – Here’s Why

If you don’t know if you need a child theme
with your WordPress website you probably don’t need a child theme at all and I’m going to
explain that in this video hi my name is Adam from remake WordPress tutorial
videos for non-techies if you knew your consider clicking unsubscribe get the bell if you don’t
want to miss a thing anything I talk about if there’s a link involved a put it in the
video description box down below this is actually a subject that I got right and I got wrong
I created a video maybe two years ago about how to create a child theme for your website
and it really helped a lot of people add a child theme to their website and at that time
I think it probably was a good best practice I don’t think I was leaving people the wrong
way but I think today you don’t that a good best practice is probably not to have a child
theme only under certain circumstances and full disclosure for me and my website I am
that power users certain circumstances where it’s a good idea to have it but probably 95
to 99% of websites really don’t need a WordPress child theme and so I want to explain that
in this video so you typically would have a child theme if you wanted to customize core
code in certain files of the parent theme but before I was of the thinking you know
what if you need to add what’s called a custom function or custom CSS to your website that
you may also want to put that in a child theme but you know what I don’t really think that’s
the best way of doing it today and here’s why so say you have a WordPress website you
have WooCommerce and with WooCommerce you’re going to definitely come across a situation
where someone says that problem you have or that thing you want to do you need to add
this custom function 100% guaranteed that is going to happen and typically you would
put that in your child theme what happens when you change themes everything that was
in your child theme is going to follow the theme you just got rid of and that’s probably
not the best way of doing things you don’t want to put anything in a child theme or any
themes of setting panel that you’re going to want to keep when you change themes sure
you could sit there and say while just remember when I switch themes that to go through those
functions and make sure I bring them into the new theme in all that and that’s actually
a great argument but the reality is what you put all that extra work on yourself that now
you have to keep tabs of every little thing that you added and then you have to keep tabs
that you put it in a new theme when you switch when there’s better ways of doing it today
so the two things that most people are gonna want to add to what they would should traditionally
do with the child theme is custom CSS and con’s custom functions will a lot has changed
the best way to add custom CSS and my opinion is in the customizer this is something that
WordPress added I don’t know a year and 1/2 ago it’s super easy you just go right here
to appearance you click on customize to jump and be put right into the customizer and then
here’s what WordPress themselves at it it’s as additional CSS Bam that’s where you can
put that custom CSS it does not need to go into a Child theme there are also ways of
adding custom CSS into a plug-in that would stay with your website even when you change
themes and that’s also a good way of going about it so that is one of the things that
you’re gonna want to maybe change on your website you’re pretty much can you probably
want to do custom CSS and that’s one way of doing it there is another plug and I think
it’s called simple CSS it’s made by the developer of the GeneratePress theme it’s a fantastic
plug in for adding this custom CSS to your website that will be that will stick with
you even when you change themes and that’s a good thing the second one is what you do
about these custom functions while there is a fabulous plug-in for that so you would just
go to plug-ins click on hoops I just clicked on the wrong things I don’t do that plug-ins
add new and your to do a search for custom coded snippets and here it is someone to go
ahead and click on install and work and activate this this is a fabulous fabulous plug-in so
instead of adding custom functions to a long file and you kind of forget what some of the
functions our four and you probably you and I mean if you’re on top of it you’ll put notes
who does that mean I’m sure some of us do but a lot of us probably don’t I mean it let’s
just be honest so it makes more sense to me to use this plug-in and you can organize and
categorize your little snippets of code or custom functions it’s perfect so here is him
to go ahead and click where it says snippets it also added a menu item right here and all
you’d have to do to add a custom function is click on add new and what you would want
to do here is name it and then bam you can just drop that little snippet of code right
there that custom function that it was suggested to you to add to your website but check this
out it gets better so you can give this a little custom function and name right here
put your custom function and then you have a little bit of control here over where this
function actually runs so can be everywhere just in the backend of WordPress or just on
the front end of WordPress or can only run once and then right here you can write a description
of this snippet right here and then you can even tag it this is how you could do things
and have it be super organized I can tell you how many snippets of code I will if you
had a website for two years and you look at your function file that you’ve added functions
to your just like on my gosh what what is that due again and that’s what ends up happening
here’s a perfect example someone in a YouTube comment today it was about how what kind of
images to use on your WordPress website and the argument came up he said well I don’t
know if you knew this but whenever you upload an image to WordPress WordPress has this thing
where it modifies and tweaks the quality and kind of down samples it in you might not want
that and what he do he gave me this great snippet of code right here I could easily
add this to my website to prevent that from happening and in this particular example this
is going to be a perfect snippet of code that I would want to stay with my website even
if I changed WordPress themes some go ahead and add this right now I just named it image
compression cancel like that I’ll run that everywhere I think the title is descriptive
enough a click on save changes and activate and that’s pretty much all I had to do and
now I have a snippet my custom snippet and I can go here to all snippets and I can see
my list of snippets right here and they’re portable I can click on export I can share
snippets you can share snippets with me I think this is a fabulous plug-in oh and it’s
much better or what much more manageable for you and for adding custom functions to your
website it’s way more manageable to do that I probably should added the description in
the to and the tax probably not the tags just the description but that’s pretty much all
there is to this plug-in now when I upload a image to this website that function will
be in effect and WordPress will not reduce the quality of that image so I think code
snippets is a fabulous plug and exes may affect him to go over there right now and I believe
him a five star review and I recommend you do the same if you intend on using it so this
is how you would add custom functions so the only scenario left for you if you were needing
to use a child theme as if you’re actually editing the core code of the theme and the
reason you would have a child theme is because it would override the parent theme so let
me just give you a visual if I go to appearance and then go edit to editor I don’t recommend
most people do this that’s the limit just click on I understand so I have my list of
files here that are in the theme here so sometimes you might want to modify the code of the single.php
file so in that situation you definitely need to have a child theme but I don’t think most
people need to do this now for me on my website I said in the beginning little disclosure
I do have to have a child theme that’s because I have a customize the search page on my website
and had it customized for some pretty advanced things that I’m doing but the reality is is
nobody else is doing that but me so most people do not need a child theme and I really wouldn’t
worry about needing a child theme and you can also add a child theme at any point later
on anyway so I used to say that having a child theme was a good best practice but you know
what I don’t think it is anymore I don’t think it’s so needed or so required and I think
the thinking on it is definitely changing that it’s something that you don’t have to
worry about there’s no harm in having it

About the author


  1. Yes, you are right. I almost never use a child theme, I use only when I need to change something the code of theme that i can't change with CSS or at customizer.

  2. I love how the changing times are making life so much easier! Yes to 5 star rating reviews given to Our Beloved Developers who do this for us! I love the idea of how organized Code Snippets can be with descriptive names! Thank you for sharing that code for image quality, also!

  3. Thanks for this Adam! Of course those who create child themes aren’t going to enjoy this, however, if people would learn some basic coding and what each aspect of a theme part does, they will find this format to be easier for them! Great job on the explanation!

  4. Very helpful showing the Code Snippets function and the example from the other day (which in my laziness I hadn't gone back to look up)! Installing the plugin and snippet right now.

  5. The biggest problem with adding CSS in the customizer is that you cannot simply "undo" a CSS update, as you can if you use a text editor with FTP. With custom functions, you better hope you don't run into issues with your snippet plugin conflicting with any other plugin. In that case, none of your snippets will work. Instead, I recommend adding custom functions into a custom plugin file (or mu-plugin)

  6. I use child theme to be able to edit functions.php i do have some code in there with comments so i don't forget what is it for, I was under the impression that the less plugin the better, i actually have code in function.php to avoid installing other plugins, am I totally wrong?

  7. You should make a video on the default WordPress image compression. What is the code to use to deactivate it? Thanks

  8. What about, in your own words in your previous video about child theme: "Then there's an update to the parent theme all your changes code and custom styles they all get completely wiped out…""

  9. I've been in the habit of automatically adding a child theme on every install. Thanks for this video. Last week I added some custom CSS in the child style.css file – nothing happened. Thought I had the wrong selector or missed a semi-colon. Then I pasted the same code in Customizer and it worked. Go figure.

    I'll have to give Code Snippet a try – although I do comment my Function code… and like the ability to undo in FileZilla if my new code breaks something.

  10. I don't usually create a child theme as in most cases I just need to add some CSS/JS and a proper theme has a place for it.
    So I'd say, if you need to add just CSS/JS and your theme doesn't have a place for it then get a better theme. If you do need to add custom functions then create a child theme. Don't overload your website with plugins that might not be around for a very long.

  11. You have just saved me a lot of needless work in setting up new sites. – Are there any community libraries of code that could be added to new sites that offer code similar your "NO Image Compression" code? – Have you ever consider curating one for your community to act as a repository where members could contribute their favorited code?

  12. Is there a direct benefit from not using a child theme? Like performance or something else? Or is it just a bit of a time saver because you don’t need to install it?

  13. So let's say you have added 5 functions to the snippets plugin. What would happen if one of the snippets rendered a white screen (Breaks the Page)? if you delete the plugin, I am assuming the page would loud but does that mean we lose the other 4 snippets?

  14. I have always done this through the child theme, you have said previously said to use the customizer. This kinda frightened me (still does to be honest).
    What's the chances of losing all those edits when using the customiser, for example on a WordPress update?

  15. Hi Adam, great video again! Does the code snippets plugin also work with custom javascripts or jquery?

  16. I had a client who had a certain framework and child theme in mind, but she still wanted changes to it. I spent many weeks past the due date editing it the way she wanted. I eventually convinced her to let me use GeneratePress and Beaver Builder, and I completed the project in 2 days. No child theme or code edits. She was happy. Since then, I've never seen the point of child themes since good themes and page builders have design options built in.

  17. Exactly what I needed to hear!

    Thanks, Adam for this wonderful video, cannot thank you enough for the content and knowledge bombs you drop!
    Your videos make life a lot simpler.

    Glad to see that Child Themes can be added in the later point of the time.

  18. What File can we put that image code in if we don't want to use the code snippet plugin? functions.php or css in the customizer? I am i using a child theme.

  19. One concept with child themes I never understood.. If the parent theme is updated, and the child theme is based on the parent (or any other theme really), why wouldn't you ever want to update your child theme?? And then when you DO update your child theme, wouldn't that nullify the entire point of using a child theme (to preserve customizations)?

  20. Child theme is the best way to go, adding snippets on top of the theme is not really a good practice at all. What is the developer of the plugin never updates the plugin? creating a theme is just too simple yet powerful

  21. Wow – really great plugin. Until now I used as an "My Custom Functions" from Space X-Chimp, but the plugin "Code Snippets" gives you even more flexibility and you can even switch on and off php code snippets.

  22. I agree with the "most will not need a child theme" but if you are doing a lot of customization's, a child theme is still best way to go in my opinion. That way you are in full control of the code not a plugin developer who may be here one day and gone later. Even WordPress Core may one day eliminate the CSS customizer, then what? I just would rather be in control of the code I invested time in adding, troubleshooting, and making work.

  23. Great video Adam, I watch you channel at night on my smart TV just like any other tv show… I did not think that one day I would prefer Youtube channel to standard TV. I learn so much that I want more 🙂
    Keep up the awesome content.

  24. Hello Boss I like ur all videos…. Just Describe me … i purchase a video theme from word press and install it.. so how i upload a videos with temblors….

  25. Nice Video!!. Learned from your Video about advanced search customization. I am looking for some advice on how to customize the theme for an amazon like search with drop down menu on navaigation bar of my ecommerce website. Would like to see a video on that.

  26. U can’t use code snippet to add google analytics or the Facebook pixel as it doesn’t show where the snippet would go (body or head tag)

  27. Great advice. This has been bugging me for a while, not really understanding what I needed to know and what I didn't! Now it's clear! Thanks a lot! A double thumbs up!

  28. You know what would be a great Video? "What is a Child Theme"?… There is no video explaining what a child theme is…

  29. If I'm making changes to CSS via Edit with Elementor for my eCommerce store but not directly via the theme files, do I need to create a child theme though?

  30. Great video, thanks!
    If I put in CSS in the custom CSS box for a section, row or module, in the front end page builder (like Elementor or Divi Builder). Then I should not need a child theme, right?
    Best regards / novice

  31. Hi Adam, awsome ideo by the way…what about the WordPress update ? I was told it's better to have a child theme to make sure every things goes ok. Thanks

  32. My new theme's blockquote did not co-ordinate with my chosen color scheme, so I hunted down the CSS coding, opened a post page in the Customizer, and changed the color coding there.

  33. Hi Adam, can you share the image compression cancel code? I thought I heard you mention it in another video before but I have watched so many of your videos that I can't find it anymore. lol

  34. I'm a bit late to the party here but just found this video. I use a child theme for every project. I've looked at using the Customizer and Simple CSS but both add the css as an internal css style to the <head> and that means the css is stored in the database. I'd much rather have my child styles, functions, js, etc. stored in a file folder structure. Much easier to clone to another site… And, I've also tried Snippets but again that stores the php in the database and not as easy to clone/migrate.

  35. Customizing a Theme / i.e. Changing the Theme's css code
    The Customize function has been added to the WPDashboard – 3:00
    The Location in the Dashboard: Appearance>Customize>Additional CSS

  36. Hi Adam, great video…I just looked at your old video on how to make a child theme. Good thing I stumbled upon this update.
    Do you have a video on how to change themes and page builder? Can I work on another theme when the current theme is live?
    I notice WordPress comes with several themes. I want to try Astra.

  37. I use astra and astra pro but with every update my Google, Facebook and Cookiebot codes are deleted. Because of that i prefer child theme. Ok, I can adjust everything with plugins but i prefer less plugin installs.

  38. So I have a question for you. I'm a newbie at this stuff, and am using an Astra plug-in for my Astra themed website. I want to update the plug-in but a message shows up saying: Please Note: Any customizations you have made to theme files will be lost. Please consider using child themes for modifications. So the question is: will updating the plug-in affect the functions/content/pictures/plug-ins of my current theme? I have not added any special css or other code, besides what came stock with the wordpress website and the Astra theme. Would I be ok to update plug-in without a child theme? Any advice is much appreciated!

  39. First off great video! I thought I'd never understood this. You actually gave some real-life examples. One thought. The code you used for your customized search page on your website, could you have put that code in the Code Snippets plugin or additional css?

  40. Your videos are fantastic. I just started a blog (not even published yet, just setting up my WP site) and if it weren't for your comprehensive library of WP topics, I would have been totally lost. And I still am lost at times, but every question I come up against, I come here first!! Awesome!!

  41. Agreed! These days (most of the time) a child theme is a waste of time. If you regularly backup your site, and you use custom CSS in a separate area (as you say here) then you are generally not at risk of losing a thing when you update your themes.

  42. There is a Place in wpbakery where custom css if being placed, is this sufficient as a parent theme customization that would not change with updates? or do i still need a snippet? (or Child theme)

  43. So cool, this really calms me down.. I always was thinking if I need really a child theme…

  44. Hey Adam, could you provide examples of custom css and functions? Would like to see the use of it considering all the plugins currently available.

  45. Thanks, Adam. Good info. I'm new to WordPress, and I have a question about installing Google Tag Manager. I watched a video that recommended using the DuracellTomi plug-in to install GTM. The video said that we should use the custom setting and paste a snippet of code immediately after the <body> tag. It recommended using a child theme to do this so that the code isn't lost every time the theme is updated. Is this an example of when we'd want to use a child theme or is there another way to enter the code snippet?

  46. Would using Thrive Themes Architect plug-in work the same way where all additional functions and additions be kept safe?

  47. Great video Adam, super helpful and informative! One question: You mention @9:16 that "you can always create a child theme." I am currently developing a site on parent theme, but if I need to switch it over as a child theme, how do I do that? Do you have a video demonstrating the process?

  48. Great video! I have been wondering about child themes regarding that one will miss the updates from the parent theme if you have a child theme. You didn't mention that but I guess that's another disatvantage of having a child theme. Or how to benefit from the parent theme updates otherwise? Anyone who has any thoghts about this?

  49. Thank you ever so much for this tutorial. This is probably the 4th video of yours that I've watched, and loved. Your teaching and instructions are of the highest quality on the web. Again, thank you for the info on child themes and especially for pointing out the use of the "Code Snippets Plugin."

  50. Great video again. But the code snippet plugin reminded me of a video where a well known developer of WordPress plugins demonstrated how to code a plugin where you could store your code snippets.

  51. You just made my day – I was getting sick of creating them – agreed, there are times when I'll need one but for the most part you're right, I don't.
    Thanks again!

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