What is a child theme?
A WordPress child theme acts as an intermediary between the parent theme and the design and layout of the website. If a file exists in the child theme which the parent theme attempts to load, the child theme’s version of said file will be loaded in its place.
In contrast to a child theme, the parent theme is the primary theme which contains the necessary files for the theme to function. A child theme will not function properly without an associated parent theme. In some instances a parent theme has not been developed using functions which are intended to load child-theme files in lieu of their parent theme counterparts. In this instance the functionality of the theme will need to be modified in order to load the child theme’s files.
This is something I often hear from WordPress website owners: “I was going to install my updates but I didn’t want to break anything.” This trepidation is not unfounded. Updates seem to have a way of breaking what we’re attempting to maintain, on occasion. Not always, but sometimes.
The truth is that a WordPress update can cause something to break for may reasons. This can any time an update is applied, without warning. The best course of action to deal with these issues is to have a complete website backup secured and accessible, ready to be restored if needed.
The below information is aimed at helping you understand the various aspects of a WordPress website which must be considered in order to backup your website completely so that it may be restored with ease if the need ever arises.