Am I using a parent or child theme? How do I find out?

Hi all

I am reminded by my dashboard to update the Spirit wpmudev theme that I am currently using. from installed to However, it says clearly that any updates will erase customisations made to theme files, consider using child themes for customisations.

Can someone please explain to a simpleton like me how I would find out if I am using a parent or a child theme? AND if my use of said theme would class as customisations that will be affected by an update. My path so far has pretty much been to choose the Spirit theme and edit it in upfront and now I have my site. So this means I am using a parent theme and updating it will default my site back to the original spirit look appearance?

Thanks for all help, apologies to waste time.

  • Kasia Swiderska

    Hello Tom,

    Spirit Theme is Upfront child theme. Now it is asking you to update Upfront theme (it's parent theme).
    In some time there will be also update for Spirit theme. You should also update it (even it's a child theme).
    When you see this warning about the customization that will be erased - it is about customization in theme _files_ (in standard WordPress themes it is common practice to make changes in files of theme).
    When you customize Spirit you don't work on files - every little change is saved to the database. So updating Spirit (and Upfront) will not erase any of your changes.

    But it is very good practice to do backups before any updates on your site (child, theme and WordPress).

    kind regards,

  • Predrag Dubajic


    You are not wasting our time by any means, we are here to help :slight_smile:

    Spirit is actually child theme of the Upfront theme, so you are using child theme, however entire Upfront system works differently from different WordPress themes.

    To make things more clear, with usual WP themes you will install parent theme and if you want to make some customizations to it you will install child theme and make the changes there, those changes would not be affected by the parent theme update.

    With Upfront you activate child theme, there is no option to use Upfront parent theme at all, it sits in the background and handles its child themes. All your changes made in Upfront editor are actually saved in database so when you update either Upfront or any of its child themes your changes will stay there.

    To sum up, if you only made changes via Upfront editor and you didn't actually edit any of the Upfront or Spirit theme files you are good to go :slight_smile:

    Hope this helps, and let us know if you have any additional questions :slight_smile:

    Best regards,

  • Tom

    Thanks to both Kasia Swiderska and Predrag Dubajic for your quick replies.

    Apologies if it is a very obvious thing that I am asking about. Learning about the wpmudev system as I go, so better to check.

    I will perform a backup of the site using time machine (as recommended best practice) and then update the Spirit theme using the wpmudev dashboard update prompts.

    Many thanks again and a good day to you both!

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