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WordPress Basics Documentation

WordPress theme vs. template.

There are 2 terms in WordPress that can be confusing for beginners - theme and template. It would be more complicated if you were using Joomla earlier :) I will explain the difference between the theme and the template term that both are related to WordPress but the meaning is distinctly different for each.

What is WordPress theme?

WordPress theme is responsible for complete design in your WP website. It includes colors, backgrounds for the footer, header, main and any other section. The theme is also responsible for layout elements, for example, what sidebars we have, where they are located, site width etc.

Watch the example how you may change the WordPress theme layout using the theme layout positions and assigning widgets to them.

Themes are often accelerated by theme frameworks that allow users to change many options and fit website to Your requirements ( for example WordPress themes created by PixelEmu ). You can download a ZIP file with the theme and install it in your WP dashboard or install theme directly from repository (free themes). Each theme has files and folders inside. Some of these files can be templates.

What is WordPress template?

A template in WordPress is a layout only for certain pages. In most themes, you can find files single.php or archive.php - template for single post view and archive view. This structure makes that all views can look completely different.

Except for these default WP templates, there are special templates for certain pages (not every theme has these special templates). They are separate files that can be applied to every page in WordPress. You can use them by selecting the desired template in this select when you are editing page:

What is wordpress template

A template can be used for pages where you need completely different look or You just simply want to display left and right sidebar when a theme has only one sidebar.

Remember that you can't just install template like a theme in a dashboard. A template is a part of a theme and if You need to add a new template to an existing theme You need some coding knowledge (HTML, CSS, PHP).

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