How to Update a WordPress Theme without Losing Customisation

by WP Creative on 2021 April | Posted in WordPress, Wordpress Theme


One of the biggest problems you can face when updating a WordPress website is losing site customisations. No website template is used as it is on a website. Site owners make relevant changes to each template/theme they use to make it more personalised. However, theme updates can destroy these site customisations.

In this article, we will discuss how you can easily update your WordPress website without losing the customisations you have made to your website.

Let’s get started learning about WordPress site management and how NOT to lose your theme changes.

How do Theme Updates work in WordPress?

Each theme developer offers a new update for his/her theme almost every year. Some developers even release new updates bi-annually. It is at your discretion to update or not to update your theme but if you do update, then you will get many new features that were not available previously.

To find out if your WordPress theme requires updates, simply visit your site dashboard and click on the ‘Updates’ page. You will see the number of updates you have to add to your website.

CMS Updates

Similarly, you can also see the WordPress theme updates on the theme page. Simply click on the WordPress dashboard, click on Appearance > Themes > and then select the theme whose updates you want to view.


Now, you can easily update the WordPress theme. The only problem with updating it is that you can lose most of your website customisations made to the WordPress theme.

List of customisations Lost During WordPress Theme Update

Here is a list of customisations that are directly related to the WordPress theme that you have currently installed and activated on your WordPress website.

– Code Added to Functions.php file

If you have made any changes to the WordPress functions.php file, you can lose all those customisations when you update the WordPress theme. The best option to keep these changes safe on your website is to create a backup of the functions that you have added. If you are not sure what functions to back up, you can simply copy the whole functions.php file.

– Changes Made to CSS Stylesheet in WordPress

You will also lose any changes that were made to the CSS stylesheet of the theme file. When a theme file is updated, the updates also impact the CSS stylesheet file. To make sure that your CSS file remains secure, copy all the CSS scripts that you have added to the theme. The theme stylesheet will restore to the default stylesheet and you don’t want to lose all your hard-earned efforts.

Ways to Update Theme Without Losing customisations

Now that we know the customisations that we can lose when we update the WordPress theme, it is time to see how to save these customisations.

You can try the following fixes to reduce the number of customisations lost during a theme update.

1. Add a Code Snippet Plugin

Many code snippet plugins create a copy of your code. This way you don’t lose the codes and scripts that you have added to your website for smooth flow.

Here is the code snippet plugin that you can use to easily create a website without breaking the code. With this code in place, you don’t have to add code to the functions.php file. Instead, you can just add it to the plugin and it will keep a record of it even when you update the theme file.

2. Create a Child Theme

You can also create a child theme to save any customisations that you have added to your WordPress theme file. A child theme saves the customisations made to the stylesheet. So, when you update the original theme, the child theme is not affected. This means that the data on the child theme will remain safe and you can easily update and enjoy the new features that the theme offers.

Creating a Child Theme Can Be Strenuous. Our Experts Can Help! Get in Touch

3. Add CSS Code to Theme Customizer

Another way to keep the customisations to your theme safe is by adding them to the theme customizer menu. By default, almost every theme offers a theme customizer menu with custom CSS. If you add your code to this custom CSS section, the data is not deleted from the server even when the theme is updated. So, it is also a good idea to make customisations to the theme through the theme customizer option.

Theme Customizer

4. Create Backup of Functions.php File

Last but not the least, you can create a backup of the Functions.php file if you are not using the code snippet plugin. The Functions.php file keeps a record of all the scripts that the website will run when it is operational. To ensure that all the scripts on your WordPress website remain intact, just create a copy of the functions.php file on the server and rename it as ‘copy-functions.php’ file. You can then restore this copy if any issue occurs to the WordPress theme files of the WordPress core.

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5. Use CSS Customizer Plugins

You can use a plugin called CSS Hero to easily customize the theme of your WordPress website. The plugin lets you easily change the style of each block, font, or asset on your WordPress website without charging a lot of fees. You can simply create an account with CSS Hero and try the trial version. Once you have polished the design aspect using CSS Hero, you can create a live version for your website.

CSS Hero also keeps a copy of all the changes you have made to your website recorded within the plugin. You can even create a copy of this information on your local drive or save it on a third party cloud server just for easy access.

Which Method is Best for Updating a WordPress Website?

If you want to keep your WordPress theme customisations safe, then the best way to do so is by using a child theme. A child theme enables you to easily replicate the whole parent theme on your website and make additional changes to it. As a result, your customisations and the parent theme, both remain unaltered.


These are all the ways to update your WordPress website without losing your site customisations. If you follow these ways properly, you will be able to easily customize your website theme, make changes to the layout, and create backups of all the data through the FTP server.
It is always important to backup your WordPress file before you update the theme, core files, or plugins. This will ensure that all your customisations remain safe.

All this is hectic right? Why not simply hire a WordPress site expert that can do it all for you? Get in Touch to Know More!

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