I want to make a child theme for my wordpress site (Twenty-Fourteen theme fyi) so that my changes aren't overridden with every update. Apparently I need to create a new subfolder for the child theme in the wp-content/themes folder. Trouble is, I can't find it.

I've tried adding wp-content and wp-content/themes to the domain - it produced a blank white page. Tried searching for it (and just "wordpress") in the spotlight file search (yes I have a mac) and the only thing it came up with was some wordpress folders I installed back in 2010, which I don't even remember doing. Since I just recently set up this site in the past two weeks (May 2014) I'm pretty sure this is not what I'm looking for.

I should mention that I installed Wordpress via one of their sponsored web hosts, Dreamhost. This allowed me to bypass all those crazy setup steps and made the installation a lot easier. But now I have no idea where the files I need to access reside. I've heard people saying (and read here) that I should use an FTP client to access the underlying folders... I have no idea how to do this. That link also mentions "using the file manager provided in your host's control panel". Again, not sure what this is.

Can anybody help?

  • You have installed WordPress on a web server operated by Dreamhost. The files will be on that server, which is in a data center somewhere and not on your mac. Ask Dreamhost how to access the files.
    – s_ha_dum
    May 24 '14 at 14:42
  • @s_ha_dum ah ok... well that sucks. I wouldn't have installed it through them if I knew it would cause problems like this May 24 '14 at 14:58

I am not sure what you were expecting but you seem to misunderstand what WordPress is, how it works, and what it is for.

WordPress is a web application. If you want to use it you have to run it on a web server. If you want people other than yourself to see the site you have to run it on a public web server like that provided by Dreamhost. This isn't a matter of Dreamhost creating "problems". This is just how it works.

You have installed WordPress on a web server operated by Dreamhost. The files will be on that server, which is in a data center somewhere and not on your mac. To access those files you will need software such as FileZilla or whatever web based access Dreamhost might provide.

If you are going to be developing or a theme or child theme, or creating a plugin, I recommend installing a "development" copy on your computer. You don't want to be hacking on a live site. And strongly advise against ever using the file editor built into WordPress for anything but small CSS changes. That editor is like working on airplane while it is in the air-- very dangerous.

You may want to look into desktop clients to make working with WordPress a bit more familiar.


This isn't a "problem"; this is the typical WordPress file structure and - by being on a webhost - the way WordPress works. See https://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress

Your files are not local to the Mac; they are on your webhost. See Filezilla and FTP Clients « WordPress Codex. Or use your web host's file manager in your control panel.

You can develop on localhost; see MAMP. But then you'll need to transfer the theme - as well as possibly the complete database - to the webhost.

To create a child theme, see http://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes and make a new folder for the child theme in wp-content/themes/ on Dreamhost with FTP.

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