WordPress themes provide the style or design of you site. This includes the layout, colour theme, and fonts. There are thousands of available themes for WordPress just some of which can be found in the WordPress themes directory.

A theme is a collection of files stored in a directory structure with the same name as the theme located in /www/wordpress/wp-content/themes/

The theme is a collection of mostly php and css files with additional files for JavaScript, fonts, images, and languages.

There are a thousands of themes available to choose from, some are premium, meaning you pay for them, and others are free. Choosing the right theme is not always easy as you are unlikely to find a theme that gives you precisely what you want. Some things to consider when choosing a theme are:

  • The style or design – this is obviously the most important consideration;
  • Premium or free – premium themes tend to include dedicated support in the cost but for many free themes there are large numbers of skilled folk more than happy to help you ;
  • How flexible and customisable the theme is – most themes provide a customise interface allowing you to make changes without having to delve into the code;
  • How recently the theme was updated – themes that have been abandoned by their developers will not be updated to fix bugs or ensure compatibility with newer versions of WordPress and could soon become obsolete;
  • How popular the theme is – the more popular the theme is, the more people there are who can provide online help and suggestions.

However well you have chosen your theme, there will come a time when you either need (or want) to delve into the code the make changes. WordPress provides a Theme Editor for just this purpose.

The Theme Editor opens the current theme’s style.css file and you will see the list of all the theme folders and files down the right had side of the screen to choose from. However, if you make changes to any of the theme files, these changes will be lost when you update the theme to a new version. To avoid this and to avoid irretrievably breaking the theme, it is good practice to create a child theme and make your changes to the child theme.

The creation and use of a child theme is explained in the WordPress theme handbook, under Child Themes.