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Working with WordPress Themes

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This chapter describes how to work with themes, which control the appearance of your site and are a framework for your own content.

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

One of the most important elements of any WordPress website is its theme. A theme controls the appearance of your site and is a framework for your own content, such as pages, posts, and media files. A theme isn’t a single file, but rather a collection of files including the following elements:

  • One or more stylesheets that control your site’s appearance. Style sheets use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to specify a theme’s exact layout, fonts, color, and other design elements. The main theme stylesheet in all WordPress themes is named style.css.
  • Image files (*.jpg, *.gif, *.png).
  • Template and function files (with the extension *.php) that control the content on pages, single posts, index pages, comments, and other functionality.

Understanding Theme Differences Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

When you first set up a self-hosted website, WordPress installs the Twenty Eleven theme by default. Although this is a quality theme, you should explore other options before making your final theme choice. When you create a website on WordPress.com, you’re prompted to select a starter theme or accept the default theme. Although themes are essentially the same no matter which version of WordPress you use to create your site, some distinct differences exist as well.

WordPress.org

WordPress.com

Search for and install free themes from the Manage Themes screen

Search for and install both free and premium themes from the Manage Themes screen

Upload external themes downloaded from the Web, including premium themes

Can’t upload external themes from the Web

Customize themes using screens available for your active theme

Customize themes using the Theme Customizer or one of the following screens: Theme Options, Custom Header, or Custom Background

Customize theme design, fonts, and CSS using the Edit Themes screen

Customize theme design, fonts, and CSS by purchasing the Custom Design upgrade

Delete installed themes you don’t want

Can’t delete themes because you don’t install them

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