WordPress is a powerful platform that allows for a lot of customization. One of the ways this is accomplished is by editing the site’s code. This guide will walk you through the basics of editing code in WordPress.
Getting Started: Understanding What Code To Edit
Step 1: Backup Your Site
This one can’t be stressed enough. Before making any changes to your site’s code, always take a full backup. There are several powerful backup plugins available, if you’re not sure where to begin, UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin is highly recommended.
Step 2: Access the Code
There are two main ways to access the WordPress code; via the WordPress Admin Panel or using an FTP client.
Edit Code Via The WordPress Admin Panel
Enter the WordPress Admin Panel by appending
/wp-admin to your website’s URL (for example,
www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin). Under Appearance, click on Editor.
Edit Code Using An FTP Client
Another method is by using an FTP client like FileZilla. This involves downloading the WordPress files to your computer, editing them, and then uploading them back to the server.
Step 3: Understand and Modify the Code
When you’re in the Editor, on the right will be a list of all of the PHP files that make up your theme.
Before you start modifying the code, you should understand what the code does. Hence, it’s essential to learn basic PHP, HTML, and CSS. Several free online resources are available to help you, like PHP Manual and W3Schools.
When you’ve located the code you want to modify, make your changes and click Update File. Check your site to see if the changes have been made successfully.
Step 4: Use Child theme
A child theme in WordPress would inherit all the features, functionalities, and the code of the original theme. These themes allow you to modify or add functionalities to your existing WordPress theme without losing the ability to upgrade the theme.
In the context of editing code, using a child theme means that changes made to the code won’t be lost when the parent theme is updated. WordPress Codex provides a detailed guide on creating child themes.
Use WordPress Plugins to Edit Code
There are also several WordPress plugins that allow you to make changes to your site’s code from the Dashboard. One popular option is Code Snippets which provides a GUI interface for adding snippets of code to your WordPress site.
Note: Exercise Caution When Editing Code
While editing the code of your WordPress site gives you a lot of flexibility and power, it should be done with caution. Even a small mistake can cause big problems and could potentially bring down your whole site. Always take a backup before making changes, and if you’re unsure, consult with a professional.
Editing code in WordPress may seem daunting at first, but with careful methodical approach, there’s no limit to the customizations you can make. Always remember to backup your site before making changes, and if you’re unsure about something, don’t hesitate to seek help.