Child theme is arguably the best thing that happened to WordPress themes. But still I see many people who create a child theme incorrectly use wordpress functions to refer to the images and stylesheets which result in broken urls. WordPress provides four functions to refer to the different files inside parent and child themes: get_template_directory(), get_template_directory_uri(), get_stylesheet_directory() and get_stylesheet_directory_uri().


Now these tag are self explanatory. They are used to get the template directory’s path and url. These tags will always refer to parent theme’s path even when used from inside the child theme.


Again self explanatory. Right? But they are a bit different as they return always the current theme’s path. It means they will return the parent theme or child theme’s paths depending on from where they have been called.

Let me present you all this in a tabular form for easy understanding.

When InsideWant to refer to?  Use
Parent theme   Current Theme       get_template_directory()
Parent theme     Child theme     get_stylesheet_directory()
Child theme    Parent theme        get_template_directory()
Child theme    Child theme         get_stylesheet_directory()
Theme with no child    Itself            get_template_directory()