How to Edit WordPress Website Templates

WordPress, known for its flexibility and ease of use, is a popular platform for both beginners and experienced web developers. One of the key aspects of WordPress is its template system, which allows users to easily change the appearance and layout of their websites. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of editing WordPress website templates, ensuring that you can customize your site to meet your unique needs and preferences.

Understanding WordPress Templates

Before diving into editing, it’s crucial to understand what WordPress templates are. A WordPress template is a file that defines the layout and design of a webpage on your WordPress site. These templates are part of WordPress themes, which include several templates for different parts of your website (like the homepage, posts, pages, etc.).

Accessing Your WordPress Templates

To edit a template, you first need to access it. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to your WordPress Dashboard: Go to your website’s URL and add /wp-admin (e.g., and log in.
  2. Navigate to the Theme Editor: Go to Appearance > Theme Editor. Here you’ll find the files that make up your current theme, including templates.

Editing Templates

Now, let’s edit a template:

  1. Choose the Template to Edit: On the right side of the Theme Editor, you’ll see a list of template files. Click on the one you wish to edit, such as single.php for individual posts or page.php for standard pages.
  2. Make Your Edits: The selected template will open in the editor. Here, you can make changes to the HTML and PHP code. For instance, you can modify the structure of a post, change how metadata is displayed, or alter the layout.
  3. Use a Child Theme: To avoid losing your changes when your theme updates, it’s recommended to use a child theme. This is a separate theme that inherits the functionality of the parent theme but allows you to make customizations without affecting the original theme.
  4. Save Your Changes: Once you’re done editing, click the ‘Update File’ button to save your changes.

Tips for Editing Templates

  • Backup Your Site: Always backup your site before making changes. This way, you can restore it if something goes wrong.
  • Understand HTML and PHP: Basic knowledge of HTML and PHP is helpful since WordPress templates are written in these languages.
  • Use Comments: Leave comments in your code to remind yourself or inform others about what a particular piece of code does.
  • Responsive Design: Ensure that any changes you make are responsive and look good on all devices.
  • Test Your Changes: Always preview your changes on a staging site or a local environment before applying them to your live site.

Using Page Builders

If you’re not comfortable editing code, consider using a WordPress page builder like Elementor, Beaver Builder, or Divi. These tools provide a drag-and-drop interface to customize your templates without needing to write code.


Editing WordPress templates can seem daunting at first, but with a bit of practice, it becomes a straightforward process. Whether you’re tweaking a template for functionality, aesthetics, or both, the changes you make can significantly impact the effectiveness and appeal of your site. Always remember to back up your site, use a child theme, and test your changes thoroughly to ensure a smooth and successful update to your website.

Editing WordPress templates is a powerful way to customize your website. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced webmaster, understanding how to effectively edit templates can greatly enhance your website’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. Remember to always back up your site before making changes, and consider using a staging environment to test your edits. Happy editing!