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How to Install a WordPress Child Theme

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How to Install a WordPress Child Theme

With so many frameworks like Genesis, Headway, and others, developers are now releasing more free/paid child themes rather than stand alone themes. A WordPress child theme functions as a “skin” of a framework also called the parent theme. The child theme inherits the functionality of the parent theme, and allows the developer to pick and choose between tons of functionality that the parent theme has to offer. In this article, we want to show you how you can install a WordPress Child Theme.

Installing a WordPress Child Theme

Installing a Child Theme is almost the same as installing any other WordPress theme. The only difference is that you need both the parent theme, and the child theme uploaded to your WordPress theme directory. First lets upload our Parent Theme:

Uploading the Parent Theme

Lets use Genesis framework as our parent theme. First, you will need to download the framework in .zip format. Now you can either use FTP to upload the files to your /wp-content/themes/ directory, or you can use the WordPress upload method.

FTP Method:

  • Extract Genesis Zip folder
  • Upload the ‘genesis’ folder into your theme directory, so it looks like this: /wp-content/themes/genesis/

If you don’t know much about FTP, then use the WordPress upload method. Login to your WP-admin Panel, and click on Appearance » Themes. Then click on the “Install Themes” tab, and click Upload (Just as shown below in the screenshot)

Upload a Theme in WordPress through the Dashboard

Select the .zip file that you downloaded, and click Install Now.

Note: Do NOT activate the parent theme once uploaded.

Uploading the Child Theme

Lets use the Persevero Theme as our Child Theme in this example because it is created for the Genesis framework which is our parent theme in this example. First, you will need to download the theme in .zip format. Now you can either use FTP to upload the files to your /wp-content/themes/ directory, or you can use the WordPress upload method.

FTP Method:

  • Extract Genesis Zip folder
  • Upload the ‘persevero’ folder into your theme directory, so it looks like this: /wp-content/themes/persevero/

If you don’t know much about FTP, then use the WordPress upload method. Login to your WP-admin Panel, and click on Appearance » Themes. Then click on the “Install Themes” tab, and click Upload (Just as shown below in the screenshot)

Upload a Theme in WordPress through the Dashboard

Select the .zip file that you downloaded, and click Install Now.

Activating the Child Theme

Once you have uploaded both the parent and the child theme, now you can go ahead and activate the Child Theme. You can do so by going to Appearance » Themes and activating the Child theme which is Persevero in this case.

Activate a Theme in WordPress through the Dashboard

Other Tips

Because Twenty Ten is the default WordPress theme, it comes with every WordPress Installation. So if you want to use a child theme for Twenty Ten like our Speaky Theme, then you can skip the step of Uploading the parent theme, and move right along with the second step.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • http://www.wpbeginner.com/ WPBeginner Staff

    You can remove all default themes if you want. However, for beginner level users we would recommend keeping at least one default theme installed.

  • http://www.wpbeginner.com/ WPBeginner Staff

    Yes, You just need to install the parent theme. You don’t need to activate the parent theme as only one theme can be activated at a time. So activating the Child theme would be enough.

  • Rahiem

    i have already installed one theme and actiavated that. But now i want to install its child theme. how to do it. pls let me know

  • Rebecca

    Once I install Genesis and the child theme – can I remove the Twenty Ten (Eleven – Twelve – etc) themes?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com/ WPBeginner Support

      Yes, you can.

  • SJ

    Hi
    I have Genesis Framework installed. and I want to use Genesis Sandbox theme which is a child theme of Genesis. But when i activate Sandbox, nothing gets displayed on the pages..Could anyone tell me whats wrong?

  • AlannahRaeleneJensen

    I don’t understand why I don’t have the option to install themes? I just purchased Genesis with a child theme – seems easy enough but I don’t have the install tab??
    Please help! tearing up here!

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com/ wpbeginner

      ¬†@AlannahRaeleneJensen¬†Its possible that you are using WordPress.com << They don’t allow that option.

  • http://www.totalrevue.wordpress.com SoulGamer

    i dont have an upload theme in my themes section only manage themes with no other tabs :S please help

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      You don’t have the permission to do this in WordPress.com site.

  • http://imnewbieblog.com Jay

    Do you have a tutorial on how to create a post footer similar to the one you have here…?

    With the What’s next? and Related Posts.

    I would really love adding something like that to my site and I wonder if you have any advice on how to get it done.

    Thanks

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      Jay,

      We will add that tutorial in our list.

  • http://www.quixli.com Salvador

    I thought this was a very nice tutorial and easy to follow. Thanks for the great tutorial, take care

  • http://www.thevictory.nl/tafeltennis/ Bjorn van der Neut

    Its a shame that you use a payed theme as an example. I understand that you benefit from it if somebody buys this theme.

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      We used a commercial framework because we have a free child theme for it. We actually have a disclosure policy in our footer that explains all the income we make from this site.

  • http://littlepinkhouse.net Gretchen

    How about taking it one step further and detailing the steps for creating a child theme, in order to keep from losing all the great function.php customizations you’ve shown us when we update our themes?

    I’d be thrilled to see a WPBeginner.com version of:
    http://op111.net/53
    http://themeshaper.com/functions-php-wordpress-child-themes/