Are you confused about what a Divi child theme is or when you should use one or not?

Do you want to know how to make a child theme or how you can generate or download one for free?

Whether you are looking to buy pre-made Divi child themes as a full website template or make your own to use for adding your customizations, this guide will answer all your child theme questions, including;

What is a Divi child theme?

Let’s start with the basics and define exactly what a child theme for Divi is.

“A Divi Child Theme is a WordPress Theme that inherits the functionality and styling of its parent theme, which in our case is Divi. We can use a Divi child theme to customize the design, layout, or functionality of our websites without editing the parent (Divi) theme files.”

By using a child theme you can keep customizations to Divi theme files separate from the parent theme files. This means that we can safely update Divi as new versions are released by Elegant Themes without losing any of your customizations.

If you want to use a Divi child theme then you must set it to be your active theme under Appearance > Themes. The parent Theme (Divi) is not active but must also be uploaded to your Appearance > Themes for the child theme to access and use its files.

WordPress will use any files it finds within the Divi child theme for your website first and will then go on to use any other files it finds in the parent Divi theme files for everything else.

Divi child theme structure

So, for example, if you wanted to make some changes to your header.php file you can copy it from your parent Divi file and paste it into your Divi child theme and then edit that file as required, WordPress would use the edited header.php from your child theme and not the header.php in the parent theme.

If you then update the parent Divi theme to the latest version, including the header.php file it includes, your edited header.php file remains safely still edited in the child theme. And this is the beauty of using a child theme.

What is the difference between a parent theme and a child theme?

In our case, the parent WordPress theme is Divi and includes all of the theme files that go into making the Divi theme work. A parent Theme will work on its own as a fully functional website and does not need a child theme to work.

The Divi theme will work without a child theme, but a Divi child theme cannot work without a parent Divi theme.

A child theme is a separate WordPress Theme that is made up of, at a minimum, a style.css, and functions.php file. The code in the functions.php file tells WordPress that your child theme should work together with the files found in the parent (Divi) theme.

A child theme can only function when a parent theme is installed and connected to the child theme.  A child theme is an addition to the parent theme and allows you to add extra styles, functions, and features to your site without having to modify parent theme files.

What are the benefits of using a child theme?

The main benefits of using a Divi child theme are;

  1.  You will be able to customize your website AND update the parent theme without losing your customizations.
  2. You will be able to replicate your customizations on a new Divi website by simply copying over your child theme folder.
  3. Find all your edits and custom code in one place rather than spread out over many pages and Divi CSS tabs.

Do you need to use a Divi child theme?

The most asked question in any of the Divi Facebook groups award goes to…Do I need a child theme?

No, you do not always need to use a child theme with Divi, but if you are going to edit any of the theme and/or plug-in files of your WordPress installation then you do need a child theme, or those edits will be lost when you then update Divi and/or your plugins.

Do i need a child theme

Many people prefer to add a blank child theme as default just in case they may need it in the future. Doing this is quick and will not harm your site in any way, but in reality, this is not something you need to do on every site.

Some people will also say that you should always use a child theme with Divi, but this is simply not correct. Elegant Themes themselves have hinted that child themes should not be needed for additional styling of Divi and it is becoming more clear that as the theme is evolving there becomes less and less reason to be using a child theme at all. I rarely use a child theme for most basic Divi website builds.

You do need to use a child theme if;

  • You will be making changes to any of your Divi theme files. (wp-content > Themes > Divi)
  • You will be making changes to any of your plug-in files (wp-content > plugins)
  • You will be adding a large amount of custom code (CSS, JavaScript, etc.) which would just be easier to manage within a child theme.

You do not need to use a child theme if;

  • You will only use the customization options available within the Divi Builder, Divi Theme Options, module customizer, and theme customizer.
  • You will add any CSS into the custom CSS areas within the Divi builder, theme options, page settings, or in the module’s advanced settings tab.
  • You will add any javascript code into a Divi code module or in “Divi” > “Theme options” > “integration” > “Add code to the…”

Child theme alternatives: Code Snippet plugins

Code snippet plugins can be a good option if you need to add basic CSS, JavaScript, or PHP code snippets for minor customizations to your Divi website.

Code snippet plugins act like toolboxes for your Divi website. You can add chunks of code (CSS, JavaScript, PHP) to customize things like styling, functionality, or adding tracking scripts. They’re great for minor tweaks without modifying core Divi files, making them user-friendly for beginners.

Plugins like Code Snippets or WP Code are alternatives to using a Divi child theme for such code modifications.

When code snippet plugins are a good choice:

  • You need to add basic CSS, JavaScript, or PHP code snippets for minor customizations.
  • You’re a beginner with limited coding experience.
  • You want a simple way to manage and organize your code snippets.
  • You need to frequently enable/disable specific code functionality.

Pros of code snippet plugins:

  • Simpler and Easier: Adding snippets through a plugin is often easier than creating a child theme, especially for beginners. Plugins offer user-friendly interfaces for adding, editing, and managing your code.
  • Less Risk: Modifying theme files directly (like with a child theme) carries a risk of breaking your website if there are errors. Plugins often have built-in features like code syntax highlighting and error checking to help minimize errors.
  • Organization and Management: Plugins can help organize your snippets by category or functionality. This makes it easier to find and manage your code compared to scattered files within a child theme.
  • Enable/Disable Functionality: Many plugins allow you to easily enable or disable specific code snippets, which is useful for testing purposes or temporarily disabling functionality.

What type of child theme do you need?

All Divi Child Themes are essentially the same thing to some extent but will generally fall into 1 of 2 categories depending on what they are being used for.

1. A blank Divi child theme

A blank, bare-bones, or starter child theme allows you to make updates to your Divi files without losing them when you update Divi.

A blank child theme will not affect your site in any way once activated but lays down the platform for you to add in your customizations if/when needed. You can read more on using a blank child theme below.

You can download a free Bare Bones Divi child theme here on Divi Theme Examples, create one yourself from scratch, use a child theme plugin, or use a child theme generator. There may be a few extra features added using different methods but all are essentially the same thing.

2. A premium Divi child theme

A pre-designed premium child theme is essentially a blank child theme that has had various customized files and website page layouts added already. These make up a full pre-made website and can be used if you don’t have the time or skills to set up a website yourself using the Divi theme.

There are a huge number of premium Divi child themes available for every niche imaginable via the official Elegant Themes Divi marketplace and 3rd party Divi developers.

You can view all of the best premium Divi child themes available to buy in our directory of themes.

How to add a blank Divi child theme to your website

If you have already decided that you do need to install a child theme on your Divi website there are a few different ways to do this.

The fastest and easiest way is to download a blank starter Divi child theme.

Alternative methods of installing a child theme on your website would be to use a child theme generator, use a child theme plugin, or manually create one yourself.

Using a blank Divi child theme (is the best option)

You can download the Bare Bones Divi child theme for free right here on Divi Theme Examples. No signup or email is required.

Bare Bones is a free blank child theme ready for you to add your customizations to.

free blank divi child theme

The Bare Bones blank Divi child theme zip contains 3 files.

  • A style.css file is where you can add your own custom CSS
  • A screenshot.png which shows up in your Appearance > Themes area in the WordPress dashboard
  • A functions.php file that is used to link your child theme to your parent Divi theme

To use Bare Bones, download the zip file and upload it under Appearance > Themes > Add new and activate.

You must already have Divi installed for the Bare Bones child theme to work.

Once you have your child theme running you can copy any files from the parent Divi theme into your child theme to make customizations.

Alternative ways to add a blank Divi child theme to your website

The alternatives to using the Bare Bones divi child theme download is to use a tool to help you create the theme or to create it 100% from scratch. your options are;

  1. Use a child theme maker – Quicker than creating from scratch but slower than downloading Bare Bones
  2. Manually create a Divi child theme – Good for learning how things work within a WordPress child theme
  3. Download child theme from Github – A few more extra steps are required but some extra features are available

1. Using a Divi child theme maker

You can make your child theme file using an online Divi child theme generator or via a WordPress child theme plugin that creates a Divi child theme directly on your website.

Divi child theme generator

Several places have added an online tool to generate a child theme for Divi. You will need to fill out a form online with various information including things like the theme name, description, version, author, author website, and license version. You will also be able to upload a screenshot for the child theme and any custom CSS or code to add to the child theme.

Most of the online generator tools will also require you to submit your email which then gets added to a mailing list.

You will end up with a child theme that will have your theme name, description, image, etc, but this can also be quickly edited in the Bare Bones download. Child theme generators however are also a quick and easy way to download a ready-to-use Divi child theme for free.

Divi child theme plugin

Many free plugins can be used to add a child theme to your website. Most are free downloads and are available within the official WordPress repository. You will need to install and activate the plugin and run it to generate the child theme. Three of the more popular free WordPress child theme generator plugins are;

While using these plugins is quick and easy, it is another plugin that is unnecessary. It is usually best practice to minimize the number of plugins used so for this reason alone I would not recommend using a plugin for creating your child theme.

If however, you do wish to use a plugin you can read our post about using Divi child theme generators for more info which also shows you how to create a Divi child theme using the free Child Theme Configurator plugin.

2. Manually create a Divi child theme

This is the most difficult and time-consuming method of adding a child theme to Divi but will help you understand WordPress and child themes on a more technical level.

A blank child theme for Divi consists of a functions.php file and a style.css file.

These 2 files go into a folder (your child theme) that can be zipped up and uploaded via Appearance > Themes > Add new in the same way you uploaded the parent (Divi) theme.

After you activate your child theme there will be no visible changes to your site as there are no customizations within the child theme.

To create your own Divi Child theme you will need a text editor and a way to upload your child theme to WordPress as a zip file such as an FTP client or using your hosting file manager. You can follow the child theme creation tutorial below. For more info, you can take a look at the WordPress codex for WordPress child theme creation.

5 steps to manually create a Divi child theme

Step 1 – Create a Divi child theme folder.  Add a new folder under your WordPress installation themes folder. This will sit next to the Divi theme folder. In this example, it is called Divi-child but you can call in whatever you like.

Divi child theme files and folders

Step 2 – Add a functions.php file. This is what links your child theme to your parent Divi theme. Add the following code to your functions.php file;

function my_theme_enqueue_styles() { 
wp_enqueue_style( 'parent-style', get_template_directory_uri() . '/style.css' );
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'my_theme_enqueue_styles' );

Step 3 – Add a style.css file. This file is where any custom CSS will be added. Add the following code to your style.css file;

Theme Name: Bare bones for Divi
Author: Divi theme examples
Author URI:
Template: Divi
Version: 1.0

You can edit the code above to your details but ensure you keep the “Template: Divi” the same and that you have a Theme Name. All other information is optional but recommended.

Step 4 (optional) – Add a screentshot.png. This is an optional file that allows you to add a custom image for your WordPress dashboard and is particularly good for websites that will have clients accessing them.

Step 5 – Activate your child theme. Navigate to your WordPress dashboard and click on Appearance > Themes. Hover over your newly created Divi child theme and click the Activate button. Congratulations, you just created a Divi child theme from scratch!

activate Divi child theme

How to add to or edit your child theme

Once you have your child theme activated you can now edit the style.css or functions.php files or add more files to edit.

The code you add to the style.css and funcions.php works in addition to the associated parent Divi files.

Any other theme files you add to the child theme will be used in place of the associated parent Divi files.

You will need to copy the original file from the parent Divi theme files and paste it into your child theme folder using the same filename and folder structure.

For example, if you want to edit the footer.php file then copy it from themes/divi/footer.php and paste it into themes/divi-child/footer.php. You can then edit the footer.php file in the child theme and it will override the parent footer.php file entirely.

The file structure below shows a blank child theme that has had the footer.php copied over ready to be customized.

how to create divi child theme

How to update a Divi child theme?

You will update your Divi child theme whenever you need to make customizations that would otherwise involve editing the parent (Divi) theme files.

There is no need to make any other updates to your Divi child theme.

You do not need to update your Divi child theme if you update the parent Divi theme.

When Elegant Themes releases a new updated version of Divi you should update your parent Divi theme so you can get access to any bug fixes, security patches, or new features. With your customizations safely in your child theme, updating Divi will not affect your customizations.

What are premium Divi child themes?

Premium Divi child themes are an extended version of the blank child theme as they already have all the customizations included.

Most of the quality themes will come with a one-click installation process so you can load the entire website in one go. These are a great way to launch a fully functional website in a matter of clicks.

The best place to buy premium Divi child themes

With such a large 3rd party developer ecosystem there are hundreds of Divi child themes available from dozens of developers across the world. Quality and pricing do however vary wildly.

Elegant Themes has created a centralized official Divi marketplace that includes around 300 Divi child themes that have been pre-vetted for bugs and compatibility with Divi.

There is currently 1 free Divi child theme in the marketplace with the rest ranging in price from just $7 right up to $165.

Divi child theme marketplace

By buying a Divi child theme via the official Divi marketplace you will get a product that has;

  • An unlimited site license
  • 1 year of theme updates and support.
  • A 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Released under GPL license

There are other Divi marketplaces out there but I would usually recommend that you use the official Elegant Themes marketplace for extra peace of mind. You can also go directly to the developer where you may also find some lifetime product options that are currently not available on the Elegant Themes website.

With so many child themes available there is a theme for almost every niche you can think of. We regularly have posts outlining the various Divi child themes available for a particular genre of website. Be sure to follow our blog to keep up to date.

How to sell Divi child themes

If you are looking for a place to sell your Divi child themes then you should also check out the Elegant Themes marketplace. The marketplace has the largest community reach by a long way.

The general terms of the marketplace are as follows;

  • 70% commission for each sale
  • No exclusivity requirements
  • Elegant Themes handles all transaction fees and chargebacks, billing, and account support for each customer
  • Products are sold with an Unlimited Site License on a yearly subscription
  • Accepts Divi Child Themes, Divi Extensions, and Divi Layouts
    Sellers are required to respond to all customer support tickets within 48 hours
  • Sales are paid once per month, within 31 days of the end of each month via PayPal

Divi child themes vs Divi layouts

The difference between Divi child themes and Divi layouts is that a child theme is there to create and customize an entire website whereas a layout is a single Divi Builder page, section, row, or module that you can save, re-use, export, and import to other pages, posts, and Divi sites.

Layout packs can indeed give you a full website with separate layouts for each page so a Divi layout pack is much the same as a basic Divi child theme.

Many child themes are used as they contain extra functionality that cannot be created in a layout but there are also plenty of Divi child themes that could have easily been released as layout packs.

Final Thoughts

A Divi child theme can be an essential tool to stop your customizations from being wiped out with a Divi theme update or a premium product that allows you to create a Divi website in a matter of minutes.

A Divi child theme can be extremely useful when used in the right context, so hopefully, after reading this article you have a better understanding of what a child they are, what it can do for you and your website, and where to find a Divi child theme free download.

Drop a comment below if you have any questions.

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