I am locally developing a parent theme and child themes simultaneously (perhaps not best practice, but...). It looks something like this:




Rather than copying the parent theme to each local site, I want to be able to work on the parent theme in one place and keep it updated for the child sites as well. I have tried creating an alias (on Mac) to the parent theme folder under each child site, but Wordpress says the parent theme is not installed.

Is there another way to do this? I feel like I'm missing something obvious, but any help is appreciated.

  • You should just set these up as a multisite. Then they all use the same theme directories. Jun 5, 2022 at 13:37
  • These sites will be on separate servers ultimately so that wouldn't work here. Jun 5, 2022 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Got it—needed to use a symlink rather than an alias.

cd ~/child1.local/wp-content/themes/
ln -s ~/parent.local/wp-content/themes/parent/ parent

Figured it out with help from this article.

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