Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide

4. April 2024
Stefan

4. April 2024

l

Stefan

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Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide

Are you using the Divi theme for your WordPress website and looking to customize it to make it truly your own? If so, you may have heard of Divi child themes. In this beginner’s guide, I will explain what Divi child themes are, why they are important for Divi theme customization, and how to create your own Divi child theme.

Divi child themes are a powerful tool that allows you to make advanced customizations to your Divi theme without the risk of losing them when updating. By creating a child theme, you can organize your custom CSS and code in one place, collaborate with others on your website’s design, and protect your modifications from being overwritten.

Now, let’s dive deeper into why you need a Divi child theme and the step-by-step process of creating one.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Divi child themes allow for advanced customizations without losing changes during updates.
  • Creating a child theme provides organization and collaboration opportunities.
  • Divi child themes protect custom code from being overwritten by parent theme updates.
  • The creation of a Divi child theme is necessary for making significant modifications.
  • A child theme is not always required for minor modifications.

Now that you understand the importance of Divi child themes, let’s explore why you need one in more detail.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Why You Need a Divi Child Theme

A Divi child theme is an essential tool when making modifications to the Divi theme. By creating a child theme, you can preserve your customizations and protect them from being overwritten during theme updates. This is especially crucial if you plan on making advanced customizations to your theme, such as modifying page templates or adding CSS and new functions.

Without a child theme, any changes you make directly to the Divi theme files will be lost when you update the parent theme. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, as you’ll need to recreate your modifications every time a new update is released.

The Benefits of Using a Divi Child Theme

“A Divi child theme allows you to make modifications to your theme without losing them during updates.”

By using a Divi child theme, you can:

  • Preserve your customizations
  • Avoid overwriting modifications during updates
  • Efficiently organize and manage your code
  • Collaborate with others on theme customization

Whether you’re a developer working on client websites or an individual maintaining your own website, a Divi child theme is a valuable tool for maintaining and enhancing the functionality and appearance of your site.

How a Divi Child Theme Works

When you create a Divi child theme, it functions as an independent theme that inherits the design and functionality of the parent Divi theme. This means that your child theme will have its own separate files for customization, allowing you to modify the theme without affecting the parent theme.

The parent theme, in this case, Divi, will serve as the foundation for your child theme. The child theme will retain all the features and functionality of the parent theme, while also allowing you to add your own customizations.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Comparison of Divi Theme vs Divi Child Theme

Divi ThemeDivi Child Theme
Updates may overwrite customizationsCustomizations are preserved during updates
All customizations are stored in the theme filesCustomizations are organized in a separate child theme directory
Modifying core theme filesAdding custom code in child theme files
No collaboration featuresPromotes collaboration on theme customization

As you can see, using a Divi child theme provides numerous benefits over making modifications directly to the parent theme. It ensures that your customizations are not lost during updates and provides a more organized and efficient way to manage your code.

In the next section, we will explore whether it is possible to use Divi without a child theme and discuss the implications of that choice.

Is it possible to use Divi without a Child Theme?

When it comes to using Divi without a child theme, it is indeed possible. However, it is important to consider the nature and extent of the modifications you plan to make to the theme. Divi does offer designated spaces for adding custom CSS and code, but using a child theme provides a more organized and secure approach to customization.

If you only intend to make minor modifications, such as changing colors or fonts, using Divi without a child theme may suffice. However, if you’re planning significant modifications, such as editing templates or adding complex functionality, it is highly recommended to use a child theme.

Using a child theme allows you to keep your customizations separate from the parent theme, ensuring that they are not overwritten during updates. It also provides a controlled environment where you can store and manage your custom CSS and code.

By using a child theme, you can easily maintain your modifications over time and avoid potential conflicts or issues caused by updating the parent theme. This approach offers a more reliable and streamlined solution for customizing Divi to meet your specific needs.

Comparison: Using Divi with and without a Child Theme

Using Divi Without a Child ThemeUsing Divi With a Child Theme
Customizations may be lost during updatesCustomizations are preserved, even after updates
Custom CSS/code can be added directly in Divi’s designated spacesCustom CSS/code is stored in the child theme, separate from the parent theme
May not be suitable for extensive modifications or advanced functionalityAllows for complex modifications and advanced functionality without compromising the parent theme
Limited control over customizations and potential conflicts with parent theme updatesOffers a controlled environment to manage customizations and avoid conflicts with parent theme updates

Keep in mind that the decision to use a child theme ultimately depends on the scope of your modifications and the level of customization you plan to achieve within Divi. Assessing your needs and goals will help determine whether using a child theme is the right choice for your Divi website.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – What you will Need to Create a Divi Child Theme

Creating a Divi child theme requires a few essential tools and resources. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Divi theme: Make sure you have the Divi theme installed and activated on your WordPress site. If you haven’t already, you can purchase and download the Divi theme from the Elegant Themes website.
  2. Text editor: You’ll need a text editor to edit the theme files of your child theme. Popular options include Sublime Text, Atom, or Notepad++. These text editors provide advanced features for coding and file management.
  3. FTP client: If you plan on accessing the theme files on a live website, an FTP client is necessary. FileZilla and Cyberduck are commonly used FTP clients that allow you to connect to your website’s server and transfer files between your computer and the server.
  4. Coffee or tea: While not technically a requirement, having a cup of coffee or tea can make the process of creating your Divi child theme more enjoyable and relaxing. So brew your favorite beverage and let’s get started!

Remember, with these essential tools, you’ll have everything you need to start creating your Divi child theme. So grab your Divi theme, open your favorite text editor, and let the creativity flow!

Summary of Tools NeededKey Features
Divi theme– Installed and activated on your WordPress site
– Allows advanced customization of your website
Text editor– Enables editing of theme files
– Provides coding features and file management options
FTP client– Necessary for accessing theme files on a live website
– Allows file transfer between your computer and server
Coffee or tea– Optional, but can enhance your creative experience
– Provides a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere

With these tools at your disposal, you’re ready to embark on the exciting journey of creating your own Divi child theme.

The Building Blocks of a Child Theme

A child theme is comprised of three essential components that form its foundation and enable it to inherit the design and functionality of the parent theme. These components are:

  1. Child Theme Directory: It is a directory or folder in which all the files and code for your child theme are stored. This directory ensures that your customizations remain separate from the parent theme, allowing for easy maintenance and updates.
  2. Style.css File: This file, found within the child theme directory, serves as the main stylesheet for your child theme. It contains CSS rules and declarations that override or add to the styles defined in the parent theme. By modifying this file, you can customize the appearance of your child theme according to your specific requirements. Below is an example of the structure of a child theme’s style.css file:
    
    /*
     Theme Name: Your Child Theme Name
     Theme URI: [URL for the child theme]
     Description: Description of your child theme.
     Author: Your Name
     Author URI: [URL for the author]
     Template: Divi
    */
    
    /* Custom CSS goes here */
    
  3. Functions.php File: The functions.php file handles the functionality of your child theme. It allows you to enqueue the parent theme’s stylesheet while also providing a platform to add custom functions and modify existing ones. By leveraging the functions.php file, you can extend the capabilities of the parent theme and tailor it to suit your specific needs.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Together, these three building blocks create a solid framework for your child theme, ensuring seamless integration with the parent theme and providing you with the flexibility to make customizations without modifying the original theme files.

Now that we understand the basic structure of a child theme, let’s dive deeper into each component and explore how they work together to help you customize and enhance the Divi theme.

Create Your Child Theme Directory (Folder)

When creating a child theme for Divi, it’s important to set up the child theme directory (folder) properly. There are two methods you can use to add your child theme files to WordPress: directly into the theme files via FTP or by creating a folder outside of WordPress and later uploading it as a zip file.

If you choose to add the child theme directly into the theme files, you will need to access your website’s files using an FTP client. Once connected, navigate to the “wp-content/themes” directory. Inside this directory, you will create a new folder for your child theme. It’s recommended to name the folder following this format: “divi-child” or any other name that you prefer. Remember, you want to choose a name that clearly indicates it is a child theme of Divi.

If you prefer the second method of creating a child theme folder outside of WordPress, you would create a new folder on your desktop or another location on your computer. Again, name the folder in the desired format, such as “divi-child”. Once the folder is created, you can later upload it as a zip file from the WordPress Dashboard.

Create Child Theme Directory

MethodProsCons
Adding directly via FTP– Allows for quick and direct access to the theme files
– Easy to control file permissions and ownership
– Requires FTP client and technical know-how
– Risk of accidental file deletion if not careful
Uploading as a zip file– Convenient and user-friendly method
– Can be done without accessing FTP
– May encounter file size limitations depending on hosting
– Less control over file permissions and ownership

Whichever method you choose, it’s crucial to ensure that the child theme directory is created within the WordPress Themes folder. This allows WordPress to recognize it as a valid theme. Once your child theme directory is set up, you can move on to the next steps in the child theme creation process.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Create Your Child Theme Style.css File to Add Custom CSS

The style.css file is a crucial component of your Divi child theme, as it allows you to customize the appearance of your child theme with custom CSS. It contains important information about the child theme, such as the theme name, description, author, and template.

To create your child theme’s style.css file, follow these steps:

  1. Open a text editor, such as Notepad or Sublime Text.
  2. Create a new file and save it as style.css.
  3. Add the following code to the style.css file:
/*
Theme Name: My Divi Child Theme
Theme URI: http://example.com
Description: A custom child theme for Divi
Author: Your Name
Author URI: http://example.com
Template: Divi
*/

/* Custom CSS code goes here */

Make sure to replace “My Divi Child Theme” with the desired name for your child theme, and enter your own information for theme URI, description, and author.

Once you have added the necessary information to the style.css file, you can start adding your custom CSS code below the commented section. This is where you can unleash your creativity and style your child theme to your liking.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Example:

Here’s an example of how your style.css file may look:

/*
Theme Name: Fashionable Divi Child Theme
Theme URI: http://example.com
Description: A stylish child theme for Divi, perfect for fashion websites.
Author: Jane Doe
Author URI: http://example.com
Template: Divi
*/

/* Custom CSS code for the Fashionable Divi Child Theme */

.logo {
  color: #ff0000;
}

.button {
  background-color: #0000ff;
  color: #ffffff;
}

/* More custom CSS code goes here */

With your custom CSS added to the style.css file, you can now upload and activate your Divi child theme to see your customizations come to life.

Next, let’s explore how to create the functions.php file that will enqueue your parent theme’s stylesheet and give you complete control over the styles of your child theme.

Create Your Functions.php to Enqueue Your Parent Theme Stylesheet

In order to properly enqueue the parent theme’s stylesheet and override its styles with your custom styles, you will need to create a functions.php file in your child theme.

To create the functions.php file, follow these steps:

  1. Using a text editor, open a new file and save it as “functions.php”.
  2. Place the file in your child theme directory.
  3. Insert the necessary code to enqueue the parent theme’s stylesheet and the child theme’s stylesheet.

Here is an example of the code you can use:


      <?php
      function enqueue_parent_theme_stylesheet() {
        wp_enqueue_style( 'parent-style', get_template_directory_uri() . '/style.css' );
        wp_enqueue_style( 'child-style', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/style.css', array( 'parent-style' ) );
      }
      add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_parent_theme_stylesheet' );
      ?>
    

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Make sure to replace “parent-style” with the appropriate name for the parent theme’s stylesheet and “child-style” with the desired name for the child theme’s stylesheet.

Save the functions.php file, and it will automatically be loaded when your child theme is active. This will ensure that the parent theme’s stylesheet is properly enqueued before the child theme’s stylesheet, allowing you to customize the styles as needed.

With the functions.php file in place, you are now ready to move on to the next steps in creating your Divi child theme.

Next, we will discuss how to create a thumbnail for your Divi child theme.

Create a Thumbnail For Your Divi Child Theme (optional)

Creating a thumbnail image for your Divi child theme is an optional but valuable step that can enhance the professional look and branding of your WordPress website. A thumbnail serves as a visual representation of your child theme and is displayed in the WordPress Dashboard, making it easier for you and your clients to identify and select the desired theme.

The thumbnail can be any image that reflects the essence of your child theme, such as your client’s logo or a distinctive visual element related to your theme’s design. By choosing a relevant and eye-catching image, you can create a cohesive and personalized experience for users interacting with your website.

To create a thumbnail for your Divi child theme, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the image: Select or design an image that accurately represents your child theme and meets the recommended dimensions for WordPress thumbnails (typically around 150×150 pixels).
  2. Save the image: Save the image in a web-friendly format (such as JPEG or PNG) and ensure it has a descriptive filename.
  3. Upload the image: Access the WordPress Dashboard and navigate to the Appearance section. From there, select the Themes option and locate your Divi child theme. Click on the thumbnail section or the theme’s settings to open the thumbnail editor.
  4. Upload the image: Within the thumbnail editor, upload the image you prepared in the previous steps. Make sure to follow the provided guidelines and image size requirements, if any.
  5. Apply and save changes: Once you’ve uploaded the image, preview it within the thumbnail editor to ensure it appears as intended. If satisfied, save your changes and exit the editor.

With your Divi child theme thumbnail successfully created and assigned, you can now enjoy the benefits of a visually appealing and easily identifiable theme within your WordPress Dashboard.

Example: Creating a Divi Child Theme Thumbnail

StepDescription
1Prepare the image
2Save the image
3Upload the image
4Apply and save changes

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Upload and Activate Your Child Theme

Once you have completed creating your child theme files, the next step is to upload and activate the child theme in WordPress. This process can be done either manually via FTP or by zipping the folder and installing it as a new theme. After successfully uploading your child theme, you can activate it in the WordPress Dashboard. It is important to note that in order for the child theme to work properly, you should also activate the parent theme, which in this case is Divi.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to upload and activate your child theme:

  1. First, decide whether you want to upload the child theme folder manually via FTP or as a zipped file.
  2. If you choose to upload it manually via FTP, connect to your website’s server using an FTP client (such as FileZilla) and navigate to the wp-content/themes directory.
  3. Create a new folder with the desired name of your child theme (e.g., “divi-child”).
  4. Upload all the files and folders from your child theme to the newly created folder.
  5. If you prefer to upload the child theme as a zip file, compress the child theme folder into a zip file on your local computer.
  6. In the WordPress Dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes.
  7. Click on the “Add New” button at the top of the page.
  8. Click on the “Upload Theme” button.
  9. Choose the zip file of your child theme and click the “Install Now” button.
  10. Once the theme is successfully uploaded, click “Activate” to activate the child theme.

After following these steps, your child theme will be uploaded and activated in WordPress. Remember to keep the parent theme (Divi) activated as well to ensure that the child theme functions properly and inherits the parent theme’s design and functionality.

Now that your child theme is uploaded and active, you are ready to start customizing it to meet your specific needs and preferences.

The Benefits of Using a Child Theme

Using a child theme offers several advantages:

  • Preserves Customizations: By creating a child theme, your customizations are kept separate from the parent theme, allowing you to update the parent theme without losing your modifications.
  • Safe Updates: When the parent theme receives updates, you can safely update it without worrying about overwriting your customizations.
  • Organized Code: A child theme provides a centralized location for your custom CSS and code, making it easier to manage and collaborate with others.
  • Code Protection: Your custom code in the child theme is protected from being overwritten, ensuring that your website functions as intended.

In addition to these benefits, using a child theme allows for easy experimentation and testing of new design and functionality without affecting your live website. It provides a sandbox environment where you can safely make changes and revert them if necessary.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Editing Divi’s Functions.php File

If you need to modify Divi’s functions.php file, it is recommended to do so in your child theme’s functions.php file. By editing the functions.php file of your child theme, you can add custom functions and code without directly modifying the parent theme’s files. This approach offers several benefits, including preserving your modifications even when updating Divi.

When you make changes to the parent theme’s functions.php file, any updates to Divi may overwrite your custom code, leading to the loss of your modifications. However, by utilizing a child theme, you create a separate space for your custom code, ensuring its security and preventing unintentional changes when updating the parent theme.

Editing the functions.php file in your child theme allows you to extend the functionality of Divi without compromising the core files. It provides a flexible and scalable approach to customizing your theme, ensuring that your changes remain intact during updates and allowing for easier troubleshooting if any issues arise.

By following this best practice of editing Divi’s functions.php file in your child theme, you can confidently add your custom functionality, enhance your website’s capabilities, and maintain control over your modifications, all while keeping your parent theme up to date.

Benefits of Editing Divi’s Functions.php File in a Child Theme:

  • Preserve custom modifications even when updating Divi
  • Enhance the functionality of Divi without modifying core files
  • Ensure the security and integrity of your custom code
  • Easier troubleshooting and maintenance

By editing Divi’s functions.php file within a child theme, you can confidently customize your theme, extending its capabilities and preserving your modifications. This best practice ensures a seamless and secure approach to enhancing your Divi-powered website.

Example Code for Editing Functions.php in a Child Theme:

CodeDescription
<?php
// Custom code goes here
?>
Add your custom PHP functions or code within the opening and closing PHP tags.
<?php
function my_custom_function() {
// Custom function code goes here
}
add_action( 'init', 'my_custom_function' );
?>
Define a custom function and add it to a specific WordPress action hook (in this example, ‘init’).

Note: The above example demonstrates the basic structure of functions.php code within a child theme. Make sure to tailor the code to your specific requirements and follow best coding practices.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Conclusion

In conclusion, creating a Divi child theme is essential for preserving your customizations and taking your website design to the next level. By following the steps outlined in this beginner’s guide, you can easily harness the power of Divi’s theme customization features and create stunning websites.

Whether you choose to start with a blank child theme or opt for a premium Divi child theme, the possibilities for customization are truly endless. With a child theme, you can confidently make advanced modifications to the Divi theme without the fear of losing your changes when updating.

Take advantage of the flexibility and features Divi offers, and unlock the true potential of your website design. By creating a Divi child theme, you are empowering yourself with the tools to create unique and personalized websites that stand out from the crowd.

FAQ

Why do I need a Divi child theme?

A Divi child theme is essential when making modifications to the Divi theme without losing them during updates. It allows you to preserve your customizations, organize your code, collaborate with others, and protect your code from being overwritten by the parent theme’s updates.

Is it possible to use Divi without a child theme?

Yes, it is possible to use Divi without a child theme. However, if you plan on making significant modifications to the theme, it is recommended to use a child theme. A child theme provides a more organized and secure way to store your customizations, especially when it comes to modifying page templates and adding custom CSS or functions.

What do I need to create a Divi child theme?

To create a Divi child theme, you will need the Divi theme installed and activated, a text editor for editing theme files, and an FTP client if you plan on accessing theme files on a live site. It is also helpful to have a cup of coffee or tea while working on your child theme.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – What are the building blocks of a child theme?

A child theme consists of a child theme directory (folder), a style.css file to add custom CSS, and a functions.php file to enqueue the parent theme’s stylesheet. These components form the foundation of a child theme and allow it to inherit the design and functionality of the parent theme.

How do I create the child theme directory (folder)?

To create the child theme directory, you can either add your child theme files directly into the theme files via FTP or create a folder outside of WordPress and later upload it as a zip file. The child theme directory should be created within the WordPress Themes folder and named following the format “divi-child” or any other desired name.

How do I create the style.css file for my child theme?

The style.css file in your child theme contains information about the child theme and provides a place to add custom CSS. It should include the theme name, description, author, and template (the parent theme’s directory name, in this case, “Divi”). The style.css file is where you can customize the appearance of your child theme.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – How do I create the functions.php file for my child theme?

The functions.php file in your child theme is responsible for enqueueing the parent theme’s stylesheet, ensuring that it is loaded before the child theme’s stylesheet. This allows you to override the parent theme’s styles with your custom styles. The functions.php file should include the necessary code to enqueue the parent theme’s stylesheet and the child theme’s stylesheet.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Can I create a thumbnail for my Divi child theme?

Yes, you can create a thumbnail image for your Divi child theme to be displayed in the WordPress Dashboard. This image can be your client’s logo or any other visual representation of your child theme. While this step is optional, it can provide a more professional and cohesive look to your child theme.

How do I upload and activate my child theme?

Once you have created your child theme files, you can upload them to WordPress either manually via FTP or by zipping the folder and installing it as a new theme. After uploading, you can activate your child theme in the WordPress Dashboard. Remember to also activate the parent theme (Divi) to ensure the child theme works properly.

Divi Child Themes Explained: A Beginner’s Guide – Can I edit Divi’s functions.php file?

If you need to modify Divi’s functions.php file, it is recommended to do so in your child theme’s functions.php file. This allows you to add custom functions and code without directly editing the parent theme’s files. By using a child theme, you can preserve your modifications even when updating Divi.
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