Opened 7 years ago

Closed 5 years ago

#3113 closed enhancement (maybelater)

Child theme stats does not count for the parent theme

Reported by: averta's profile averta Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: low
Component: Theme Directory Keywords:


Recently, I was aware that If a client uses a child theme, the active install stats does not count for the parent theme too, which does not make sense in my point of view.

I believe that while a child theme is inheriting all the styles and functionalities from the parent theme (it is almost the parent theme), the active install must be counted for the parent theme too. If the child theme was an independent theme, well, It sounds logical to me.

Any comment or advice on this matter is appreciated.

Change History (10)

#1 @Otto42
7 years ago

Ok. Why should they count? Seems like inflation of the numbers to me.

#2 follow-up: @averta
7 years ago

I have already mentioned the reason above.

Using child theme will split the active numbers into several items which is very bad thing for promoting the main theme.
The active install number matters for theme authors because it's one of the main criteria of popularity in the theme directory.

I am sure most of the other authors are not aware of this matter, otherwise, they will discourage their clients of using a child theme (as we intend to do).

I am not sure why you consider this like inflation. Can you use a child theme without the parent theme? Why you cannot? That's because a child theme is almost the parent theme, not an independent item. Consider the nature of them child theme. That is why I emphasize that counting the stats for a child theme is useless and it should be counted for the parent theme.

Maybe those numbers are not important for some authors, but for large teams which are investing considerable time for creating and promoting their themes, of course each single number matters.

#3 @grapplerulrich
7 years ago

If I build a site specific child theme to customize Twenty Sixteen I am still using that theme as a base so my install should still count towards the number of sites that use Twenty Sixteen.

It may be interesting to see how many active installs there are for child themes of Twenty Sixteen that are distributed on

On a general not page should have a better connection between parent and child themes so to make it easier for people to find child themes for specific parent themes.

#4 in reply to: ↑ 2 @xkon
7 years ago

Replying to averta:

That is why I emphasize that counting the stats for a child theme is useless and it should be counted for the parent theme.

A child theme might add more functionality than what the parent theme does. It might even flip the whole theme around and having a totally different look than the parent has because somebody liked 2-3 built in functionalities from the parent, example the gallery output and nothing more. It can have a different author.

Shouldn't the child themes author and that child theme in general get some credit as well since it might have more 'work' into it than what the parent did ?

So imho it's not 'useless' as it might as well be more accurate in some occasions. Rare yes but they do exist.


Why don't we simply explore the option of both getting their +?

Since you are declaring which parent theme you are using in your css with template it could be the key to happiness. Both the 'Theme' as a child theme and the 'template' as a Parent theme could / should be getting a +.

#5 @averta
7 years ago

Look, it seems there is a misunderstanding here, let me be more clear.

My clients want to apply few changes, for instance, to header.php file. They will create an empty child theme and override the template file. So, they are using my theme with a safe method of not losing their changes after the theme update, but what happens to me? I lost all these active installs, for what? For just encouraging my clients to use a safe method.

Therefore, here is the question, where the active install stats for such unofficial child themes are counted?

#6 @averta
7 years ago

@grapplerulrich I would be thankful for your response regarding my last reply.

#7 @grapplerulrich
7 years ago

Therefore, here is the question, where the active install stats for such unofficial child themes are counted? tracks the number of active installs for all themes based on the slug. This information is not public for privacy reasons.

I don't think there is a system in place to track if a theme is a child theme of another theme.

The way I see it the first step would be to see if you could collect some data on the child themes of Twenty Seventeen.

#8 @dd32
7 years ago

Just to confirm, currently is not collecting any data on number of child themes of a theme (or the connection between themes, etc)

I can see an argument for including child themes of a theme in the count, but only if they're not a theme that's hosted on Once a theme is released on it's it's own theme IMHO.

Due to the amount of data that would need to be collected here, I don't think we'll be able to provide any stats here anytime soon though, not even for the purposes of seeing if any change here would be worth it.

I don't think adding stats here would be of benefit to WordPress end-users either, which is arguably what the active_installs number is for.
Lets say a theme has 5k active installs, and then there's 3k child themes - Yes, that theme is used by a lot more than 5k people; However, showing those 3k users as using the parent theme would only lead a end-user to think more people use the parent theme as-is than they really do.

#9 @dd32
7 years ago

  • Priority changed from normal to low

Marking this as Low Priority, as it's unlikely to be something that is worked on IMHO.

#10 @dd32
5 years ago

  • Resolution set to maybelater
  • Status changed from new to closed

Two years I'm going to mark this as maybelater rather than keep it open - it doesn't look like something we're likely to implement.

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