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How To Edit WordPress Template Files? 3 Easy Methods

Want to know how you can easily edit WordPress template files? Read this blog.

Picture this: You are the happy owner of a WordPress website, and you have high expectations for how it should appear and work. But there’s a snag: you’re not a coding whiz (or maybe you are, but you’d prefer a simpler method). That’s when altering WordPress template files comes in handy. 

We’re here to show you how to make your WordPress site uniquely yours, whether you’re a tech whiz or just starting. We’ll walk you through three super-easy techniques to edit those template files in this helpful, step-by-step instruction. You’ll be modifying designs and incorporating cool features in no time, all with the goal of improving your WordPress site.

What Are WordPress Template Files?

WordPress template files are a fundamental component of a WordPress theme. They are in charge of regulating the organization and presentation of the material on your WordPress website. The homepage, individual posts, pages, categories, tags, and other elements of your site are all based on the layout, design, and functionality of template files. These PHP-written files frequently contain HTML, CSS, and occasionally JavaScript code.

How To Edit WordPress Template Files?

There are several ways to edit WordPress template files, some common online and offline theme editing practices are introduced here.

Method 1: Edit WordPress Template Files Using Theme Editor

WordPress offers a built-in theme editor. This allows online theme file editing, directly from your browser. Here one should know, that only privileged users can access and modify template files, If you are restricted to accessing or modifying these files in the theme editor, please contact your website administrator to grant you a proper level of privileges.

How To Access:

Administration Screens >>  Appearance >> Theme Editor

theme-Editor-option-in-dashboard-3 - wordpress edit theme


By default currently, active theme template files appear in the right-hand sidebar navigation of the theme editor Windows.
You can also edit other installed themes by selecting them from the drop-down menu in the right-hand sidebar navigation, Don’t worry editing any other installed theme can’t activate them.

Theme Selection

Edit WordPress template files - how to edit a wordpress theme

Method 2: Edit WordPress Template Files Using FTP

If you want to download, edit, and upload your theme files to or from a remote server then FTP is one of the options to perform such offline theme editing tasks.

Step 1: Log in

Log in to your host Server with your FTP credentials like User name, Password, and FTP host URL. We also need an FTP Client like FileZilla, a free FTP client.

Screen Shot: Server Side File Hierarchy, File Downloads.

Step 2: File Download.

Edit downloaded files in any text editor like Notepad or Sublime Text.

Step 3: Upload Files.

Upload edited files again to the host server.

Method 3: Edit WordPress Template Files Using cPanel

Currently, almost all hosts provide cPanel with several different modules like file manager, allowing direct access, upload, and manage files from cPanel without any use of an FTP client. Of course, cPanel offers an FTP module. You can also make use of this FTP module to access and upload your files.

Step 1: Log in

Login to your cPanel with your User name and password provided by the web hosting company.

Step 2: Accessing Files.

Click on the file manager like a module in cPanel, here you can access all your hosted files.

Step 3: Editor Download.

You can either edit any file online or download the file for offline editing.

Step 4: Save or Upload.

Save the changes you made in online file editing or upload an offline edited file either via cPanel or FTP.

theme customization - editing themes in wordpress

Examples of Editing Theme Files

How to change the site’s background color?

One of the answers to this question is to go and edit your style.css, write some CSS codes and it’s done. Style.css is the main stylesheet file required to customize visual components like the appearance, layout, design, color, fonts, etc. of web pages. Because it is available in every theme, that’s why we have taken this file as our example file. Here Twenty Nineteen Ver 1.5 is our working example theme.

A step-by-step procedure to change the site background color.

Select style.css from the hand sidebar

body {
	background-color: #aaf;

Write the code above at the end of the file, and then click on the update file.

editing wordpress themes

See the difference between the default background and the blue color background after modification.

editing themes in wordpress

How To Remove Version Number From WordPress?

WordPress Version number appears in View Page Source, As you know for security reasons it is a good practice to remove or hide the WordPress version number. One of the ways to remove it is by adding some PHP codes in the functions.php file.

WordPress Version Appeared in the view page source.
Now we are going to edit functions.php in Theme Editor.

Dashboard >> Appearance >> Theme Editor
Select functions.php from the right-hand sidebar navigation.
Just write the code given below at the end of the file and click on the update file.

function wphow_wpversion_remove() {
	return ' ';
addfilter('thegenerator', ' wphow_wpversion_remove ');

New code is added at the end of functions.php

Now just for a test go and open your site in a browser and check the Version No in the view page source.
Version No is now removed from the view page source.

How to add a Javascript snippet in functions.php?

There are different places and several available methods to add Javascript snippets to a WordPress site, No matter which method or place you prefer to add your snippet, it will affect either, entire the site or a particular area i.e. a page or a post.

Example Places:

Functions.php, header.php, footer.php files, Gutenberg editor, <head> section of the page, before the </body> tag of the page, are example places where you can add the snippet.

Also Read: Here’s How to Remove category from WordPress post

Example Methods:

Use of plugins, wp_head, wp_footer, wp_enqueue_script() hooks, and adding custom .js files are some example methods where you can add the Javascript snippet.

Step 1: Them Editor & File Selection.

Go to Theme Editor and select the functions.php file.

Step 2: Adding Javascript Snippet.

Paste the code given below at the bottom of the file.
Click On Update file.

function wphow_js_snippet() { 
	console.log("It’s a testing message");
	alert( 'Welcome to' );
add_action('wp_head', 'wphow_js_snippet');

Step 3: Test The Code.

When you refresh your homepage, you will get an alert box message “Welcome to”.

Another confirmation check is, pressing F12 to get the console and you will see “It’s a testing message”. If everything goes fine then it’s done

Customize Additional Features

Not all but some themes like our example theme Twenty Nineteen Version: 1.5 offer additional CSS settings. It means without going to edit any CSS file, you can modify your theme’s look. Here is the step-by-step procedure.

Step 1: Click on Customizer.

Click on Dashboard >> Customize

Step 2: Click On Additional CSS.

Click on Additional CSS

Step 3: Adding CSS Code.

body {
	background-color: #aaf;

It’s a live feature means before publishing you can add additional CSS and also get these code effects side by side. Finally, click on publish to accomplish the task.

Theme Editing Plugins

A lot of free or paid plugins are available in the WordPress repository, offering a simple GUI to customize your theme, without directly going to edit any of the theme template files. Hence without writing a single line of CSS or PHP code, these plugins are a cool way of doing things.

You can search for such plugins by searching for “theme editor” within your WordPress plugin installation screen.

wordbase cheat - editing wordpress themes - customize wordpress
Theme Editing Plugins Search Results

As a Final Observation

As we wrap up this guide, you’ve now discovered three straightforward methods to edit WordPress template files. You now have the skills and knowledge necessary to advance your WordPress website, whether you decide to use the built-in Theme Editor, a child theme, or a specialized plugin. Always make a backup of your work, use caution when editing, and keep up with best practices because, as the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

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