WordPress themes allow you to change the look and feel of your website with a single click. However, what you get is the predesigned layout and aesthetic choices of the developer. And just like any ready-made product, it will not perfectly adhere to your specific design choices. This is why you also get access to enhanced customization options and a dedicated theme options panel to help you tweak around with the theme in question. Just don’t forget to install a child theme plugin before you start making all the customizations.
Why Do You Need A Child Theme Plugin For Your WordPress Website?
While making changes to the core code of your WordPress theme, you might end up making tweaks that break it altogether. Alternatively, let’s say you really like the changes you made to your theme and you like it very much, only to discover all of it getting reset with the theme receiving an update.
As you can imagine, both these scenarios can be frustrating to deal with, which is why, you need to install a child theme to handle all the tweaks. That way, even after updating your theme, all your customization changes are saved in the child theme. Furthermore, you are also avoiding any chances of messing up the core theme files.
So now that you have a clear idea on the importance of child themes and why you should use them, let’s get started.
6 Best Free Child Theme Plugins for WordPress Site
1. Child Theme Creator by Orbisius
Starting out our list, we have the Orbisius Child Theme Plugin for WordPress. It is very versatile and flexible at its job and allows you to quickly create a child theme from any WordPress theme installed on your WordPress website. It’s super easy to use and allows you to create potentially unlimited child themes at the push of a button.
The child themes are designed to inherit all the theme options from the parent theme, with the added benefit of creating an rtl.css file, if it was present in the parent theme. It also uses the recommended approach for loading CSS so you don’t end up with any unwanted error messages. Two feature-rich theme editors are also included to help you customize and edit the different theme files.
- Create new child themes at the push of a button.
- Support for unlimited child theme creations.
- Option to store code snippets and license keys directly in Orbisius cloud library.
- Inherits all the theme options present in the parent theme.
- Access to two theme editors to help you edit the different theme files.
- Support for automatic rtl.css creation even if it is supported by the parent theme.
- Uses minified CSS & JS to ensure fast loading speeds.
- Premium Add-ons are available if you need access to more advanced functionalities.
And much more.
2. Child Theme Configurator
Coming up next is the most popular free to use child theme plugin for WordPress, with over two hundred thousand active installations. It boasts a lot of useful features packed in as an easy to use tool to help you create child themes, analyze it for problems, and customize it to your heart’s content.
The main feature highlight for the plugin would be the option to edit the child theme stylesheets directly. This gives you granular control over every CSS media query, selector, property, value and so on. You also get a preview of how each customization is going to take its toll on your theme before you commit to your decision. And lastly, all your edits are saved so you never have to worry about losing your customization tweaks.
- Option to create as many child themes as you want.
- Works with every single theme you have installed on your WordPress website, including other child themes.
- Gives you granular access to edit the CSS files directly.
- Option to preview changes before finalizing and saving the edits.
- Extend CSS customization options to your plugins. (premium)
And much more.
3. Childify Me
Childify Me Child Theme plugin for WordPress allows you to easily create child themes for your non-child themes from the comforts of your WordPress theme customizer. Best of all, it works with all your installed themes, even the ones you haven’t activated.
You will get access to options that let you decide an FTP username, Password, and even a Connection Type for your child themes. Once created, the child theme will be directly accessible from the Appearance > Theme area and will inherit all the settings and options of its parent theme.
- Allows you to create child themes of any installed WordPress theme.
- Option to set a Child Theme Name, FTP username, password, and connection type for your child theme.
- Inherits all options and settings from the main parent theme.
4. Child Theme Wizard
Child Theme Wizard allows you to create child themes out of the already existing themes on your WordPress website. The child theme plugin adds a new option under the Tools section of your dashboard where you will get access to different options that not only help you create new child themes but also customize them with relative ease.
You will get access to a dedicated theme selector which will list all the themes installed on your website so you can pick the parent theme. Once done, all you have to do is give a name to your child theme, add a description so you know what it’s about, add a child theme URL, and you are done. There is also an option to include GPL licensing if you want.
- Helps you create child themes for any and all of your WordPress themes.
- Option to personalize your child themes by adding a theme name, descriptions, author name, version number, and much more.
- Ability to enable/disable GPL licensing for the child theme.
5. WPS Child Theme Generator
WPS Child Theme Generator WordPress plugin is an advanced tool that allows you to create as many child themes as you like out of the already installed themes on your website. Once installed, it adds an extra option under the Tools section of your backend dashboard with all the necessary options to create child themes for your existing websites.
Notable features of the plugin include the option to add your own custom CSS in the style.css file. You will also get access to multiple features that can be added to the functions.php with having to manually modify or edit it.
- Allows you to create as many child themes as you like using any of the installed WordPress themes as parent themes.
- Option to add screenshots from your WordPress Media Library or via directly uploading image files.
- Option to enable/disable widgets in the child theme.
- Both the child theme and the author can have dedicated URLs.
- Option to add custom CSS directly to the style.css file.
And much more.
6. Generate Child Theme
And now for the final child theme plugin on our list, we have the Generate Child Theme WordPress plugin. It allows you to create a child theme using any WordPress theme installed on your site or blog.
All you have to do is select the parent theme, add a name for the child theme you are creating, write a brief description, include author information, version number, and your child theme is all set.
- Allows you to create potentially unlimited child themes of any WordPress theme.
- Compatible with all WordPress themes in the market.
- Extremely straightforward and easy to use.
So these were our picks for the top 6 child theme plugins for WordPress websites. We hope you found the read to be helpful and that it gave you an idea on the importance of child themes along with the perfect child theme plugins to help you out.
In this regard, some of the veteran WordPress users are welcome to share their take on the importance of child themes and how it has helped them in their time with WordPress. You are also encouraged to share alternative plugins or other ways to create and play around with child themes. Your fellow readers will definitely find your insights quite helpful in their journey with WordPress.