Minimum Template Files for Theme Development

The question:

WordPress has minimum theme template files as

  • style.css
  • index.php

and also some other files as listed here.

If the theme developer wants to build theme with less bells and whistles, what are some of the template files which should be included at minimum? There isn’t any guidelines in the WordPress codex. Only thing that you can find is what files and when to include them. For making use of most of the WordPress functions without any conflict, there doesn’t seem to be specific number mentioned for number of template files.

So how many files should be there when you build a theme from say raw html template?

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

To have the theme listed:

  • style.css

With at minimum this:

Theme Name: Minimum Theme
Description: Test
Author: Test
Version: 1.0

For the theme to be functional:

  • index.php

index.php must have a post loop, so this would be the bare minimum functional index.php

<head><?php wp_head(); ?></head>
if ( have_posts() ) {
    while ( have_posts() ) {
        the_title( '<h3>', '</h3>' );

index.php is the defacto fallback for all template files WordPress might look for. All the rest are entirely optional, though I advise that you use them.

For more information on which templates are possible, see here:

Method 2

Two – styles.css and index.php.
If you’re gonna add additional functionality (some filters or actions) add to list functions.php.
If you’re gonna add additional templates + number of templates
add screenshot of your theme + screenshot.(jpeg|png|gif)

It all depends on you. But minimum requirements are style.css and index.php.

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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