WordPress Child Theme Basics

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  • template –– is the name of the main WordPress theme, the parent.
  • child-theme –– is the package which overrides the template.


I've been advertising that the use of a child theme is always a good thing but there is always a But ...

In our Template overwriting example let's imagine that the author of a theme is adding his own improvements to the sidebar template and there will be a new one at


 * The template for the sidebar containing the main widget area
 * @link https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/basics/template-files/#template-partials

if ( is_active_sidebar( 'sidebar-1' )  ) : ?>
    <aside id="secondary" class="sidebar widget-area" role="complementary">
        <?php dynamic_sidebar( 'sidebar-1' ); ?>
    </aside><!-- .sidebar .widget-area -->
<?php endif; ?>

Now our website won't benefit from the new role="complementary" spec because our child theme is still overwriting the template with its own file at /themes/child-theme/sidebar.php

It is our duty as website maintainers to keep a track about what templates do we overwrite and, in the imminent case of an update, look carefully at the changelog so you update the child theme files if necessary.

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