To know whether we can create WordPress child theme of another child theme, let’s first understand what is child themes and parent themes in WordPress.
If any WordPress theme inherits its functionality and styling from another theme then it’s called child theme and it uses the tag “Template:” in its style.css file to specify from which theme it’s inheriting the functionality and styling. The theme from which the functionality and styling is being inherited is called the parent theme.
In WordPress modifying any existing theme is not recommended but instead its recommended to created a child theme of this existing theme and modify it.
Modifying the existing theme is not recommended because if you make any changes in the theme files then you have to make these changes again every time after this theme updation as changes made in the theme files get lost on theme updation so instead if you use the child theme and make changes in it then you can update your theme without affecting the modifications made in your child theme.
Along with the above advantage of making update proof changes in the theme, the child theme also offers many other advantages like improving development time, easiness of code management etc.
Creating a WordPress child theme is very easy. You will find information about how to create a child theme and why to create it on the following post.
We have understood enough information about how to create a WordPress child theme and benefits of using WordPress child theme so let’s move towards the answer for what this article is created.
Is it Really Possible to Create a WordPress Child Theme of Another Child Theme?
Sometime some WordPress theme developers develop their themes as child themes of another base / parent theme and distribute these both child and parent theme to the users. Some of these developers are as following.
The disadvantage of this approach is that now if you make any modifications in the child theme then they won’t be update proof as in this case both the parent and child themes will get updates from the theme developer and on updating these themes any changes made in to these themes will get lost as all the theme files will get overwritten with new files as we have discussed above.
Therefore in WordPress it’s always recommended to the theme developers that they should not provide the themes as child themes but some developers don’t honor this guideline so what should we do in this case if we are using the child theme provided by the theme developer?
Ohh yes i think in your mind the idea might have come to just create a WordPress child theme of your existing WordPress child theme but wait it is not the answer.
If you try to create a WordPress child theme of another child theme by specifying the existing child theme directory name in your new child theme “Template:” tag in its style.css file then you will get the following error message.
The “your-child-theme” theme is not a valid parent theme.
You are getting this error message because in WordPress as of now when i was writing this post only two generations of WordPress themes are allowed that are child theme and parent theme and not any grand child theme or WordPress child theme of another child theme.
So in this case to modify the child theme functionality we can write a small WordPress plugin as discussed here https://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_a_Plugin and develop the code in it using the hooks provided by child and parent themes.
Here the developed plugin will provide us some benefits of child theme but not all like overwriting the theme template files.
The Genesis theme developer as mentioned above have developed some plugins as following to help you to develop this code to modify theme functionality.
If you want to make modification in the theme functionality which is used in multiple sites of your WordPress multisite network then you can either network activate the developed plugin or just use that plugin as a WordPress Must Use Plugin which is automatically enabled on all sites in your mulisite network.
I hope you will be able to make modifications in your child theme update proof way but if you face any issue or have any questions then feel free to ask us on our following free support forum so that we can help you to resolve it.