Jul 14, 2011

Create a WordPress theme | How to create WordPress Theme

First thing to do is to create a sub-folder in the wp-content/themes directory in your WordPress folder. Lets say we name it as "My_Theme". Also note that the name of the folder should correspond to the name of the theme you want to create. To do this you can either use your favorite FTP client or the File Manager tool in your cPanel.

You should first think of the layout of your website, i.e how your website will look..??..In this tutorial we will create a wordpress theme which will contain a header , sidebar , main content area and lastly a footer at the end as shown in the fig.

We will have to create the following files in the directory we made i.e "My_Theme" as I mentioned earlier. Following are the files :-

  • header.php - This file will contain the code for the header section of the theme;

  • index.php - This is the main file for the theme. It will contain the code for the Main Area and will specify where the other files will be included;

  • sidebar.php - This file will contain the information about the sidebar;

  • footer.php - This file will handle your footer;

  • style.css - This file will handle the styling of your new theme;

You can either create those files locally with a simple text editor(like notepad for example) and upload them via FTP or you can use the File Manager tool in your cPanel to create the files directly on your hosting account.

We will now go through contents of each files.

The header.php file

following code should be added to this file


<title>Tutorial theme</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="<?php bloginfo('stylesheet_url'); ?>">
  <div id="wrapper">
    <div id="header">


It basically contains simple HTML code with a line containing a php code and a standard WordPress function. In this file you are dealing with your meta tags such as the title of your website, meta description and the keywords for your page.

After the title the line we add <link rel="stylesheet" href="<?php bloginfo('stylesheet_url'); ?>"> this will tell WordPress to load the style.css file. To handle all the styling/looks of your website. The <?php bloginfo('stylesheet_url'); ?> part of the line is a WordPress function that actually loads the stylesheet(stylesheet.css) file.

Next, we have added the beginning of a "div" with class wrapper which will be the main container of the website. We have set class for it so we can modify it via the style.css file.

The next step we have added a simple label HEADER wrapped in a "div" with class "header" which will be later specified in the stylesheet file.

The index.php file

following code should be added to this file

<p style="text-align: left;"><?php get_header(); ?>

<div id="main">
  <div id="content">
    <h1>Main Area</h1>
    <?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
    <h1><?php the_title(); ?></h1>
    <h4>Posted on <?php the_time('F jS, Y') ?></h4>
    <p><?php the_content(__('(more...)')); ?></p>
    <?php endwhile; else: ?>
    <p><?php _e('Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.'); ?></p>
    <?php endif; ?>

  <?php get_sidebar(); ?>


<div id="delimiter"></div>

<?php get_footer(); ?></p>
<p style="text-align: left;">[/php]

The code in this file begins with <?php get_header(); ?> which will include the header.php file and the code in it in the main page. It uses an internal WordPress function to do this. We will explain this in details later in this tutorial. Then we have placed a Main Content Area text to indicate which section of your theme is displayed in this area.

The next few lines consist of a PHP code and standard WordPress functions. This code checks whether you have posts in your blog created through the WordPress administrative area and displays them.

Next, we include the sidebar.php file with this line - <?php get_sidebar(); ?>. In this file you can display your post categories, archives etc.

After this line, we insert an empty "div" that will separate the Main Area and the Sidebar from the footer.

Finally, we add one last line - <?php get_footer(); ?> which will include the footer.php file in your page.

 The sidebar.php file

following code should be added to this file


<div id="sidebar">
  <h2><?php _e('Categories'); ?></h2>
    <?php wp_list_cats('sort_column=name&optioncount=1&hierarchical=0'); ?>

  <h2><?php _e('Archives'); ?></h2>
      <?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly'); ?>


In this file we use internal WordPress functions to display the Categories and Archives of posts. The WordPress function returns them as list items, therefore we have wrapped the actual functions in unsorted lists (the <ul> tags).

The footer.php file

following code should be added to this file


<div id="footer">




With this code we add a simple FOOTER lable. Instead of this code you can add links, additional text, the copyright information for your theme and additional objects.

The style.css file

following code should be added to this file


body {
    text-align: center;

#wrapper {
    display: block;
    border: 1px #a2a2a2 solid;
    margin:0px auto;

#header {
    border: 2px #a2a2a2 solid;

#content {
    width: 75%;
    border: 2px #a2a2a2 solid;
    float: left;

#sidebar {
    width: 23%;
    border: 2px #a2a2a2 solid;
    float: right;

#delimiter {
    clear: both;

#footer {
    border: 2px #a2a2a2 solid;

.title {
    font-size: 12pt;
    font-family: Latha;
    font-weight: bold;


This simple css file sets the basic looks of your theme. Those lines  set the background of your page and surround the main parts of your site with borders for convenience.

And that is it your theme is ready for use.

From now on you can modify the CSS file, add images, animations and other content to your theme in order to achieve the looks you want for your website or blog. Hope this tutorial helped you achieve what you wanted.

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