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I would like to know, what is the best practice for updating the header.php file:

From within WordPress editor: Appearance > Editor

or Directly in the header.php file itself (in the www_root)?

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This question leans towards getting some subjective answers, as I think it's a matter of personal preference. The built-in editor works just as well as any other text editor. That goes for any of your theme files, not just header.php.

The benefit of using an external editor (like Notepad++ and using FileZilla to FTP your changes), is that you have the possibility of using 'syntax coloring'.

I highly recommend Notepad++, as it supports multiple document encodings (UTF-8, ANSI, etc) and many scripting languages (with their generally accepted syntax coloring), such as PHP, JavaScript and CSS, your most common languages when working with WordPress.

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    +1 for having the same infrastructure and work flow as I do. :) – tfrommen Mar 26 '13 at 16:14
  • Thank you for your answer. i do actually user Notepad++, great editor. Appreciate the tip – DextrousDave Apr 2 '13 at 5:00
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In my opinion, I never edit using the built-in editor. If you make one PHP mistake and hit the save button, your site will crash and you won't be able to correct your mistake. You'll then have to use FTP or equivalent to modify the file.

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