Broken Themes- The following themes are installed but incomplete. Themes must have a stylesheet and a template

4 ways to fix WordPress Child Theme when Parent theme is missing

Broken Themes:

The following themes are installed but incomplete. Themes must have a stylesheet and a template.
Description: Template is missing.

We’ve all experienced that annoying broken Child theme error,  and  sometimes it gets very difficult to resolve the problem and just get on with your web development process.

The following are 4 ways to fix WordPress Child Theme when Parent theme is missing:

1. Check Title Case of Template Name in Stylesheet

Template: template-name 

The above CSS for child- theming (which does all the magic) is apparently case- sensitive. Note:

The case should reflect that of its Parent theme Folder and not of the parent theme name.

This I believe is so that the system can pick up the correct URL path to the parent template. This is always the most common cause of unneeded distress.

2. Ensure that the Parent Theme Is Actually Installed

The Principle of debugging relies on non- assumption. Any experienced developer knows that. Make sure the Parent theme you want to create a child theme for is actually installed and working well.

3. Re- install Parent theme using the WordPress Dashboard and not using FTP (Filezilla etc..)

For some reason, parent themes that are FTP’d may work (rare – though happens at times), and when installed through the WordPress admin dashboard, they do. I have no explanation for this, just experience. Perhaps someone who does could shed more light on this in the comment section below.

4. Ensure that your Parent theme is not a folder inside another folder.

This I have never seen documented anywhere, and believe me I’ve searched. Until recently, I didn’t know that parent themes which have the main files located in a folder inside another folder do affect their child themes (premium themes sometimes come bundled this way). I was once setting up a child theme which was just not not working until I decided to set up the Template as the path of the folder inside the folder containing the Parent theme.

Template: parent-folder-name/inside-parent-folder-name 

And it worked! Shockingly. I wouldn’t recommend doing this though, the better practice is to just move all the Parent files from the nested folder inside the parent theme to the main folder.

I hope this article helped you solve your problem :-) Cheers!

  • tali

    this post saved me ! thank you so much!!!:))))))))

  • Adam Erhart

    This actually happened to me, #4, where my parent theme was inside another folder of the same name, with the Kallyas template. Still haven’t been able to get it to work actually with a child theme.

  • ckdestef

    Great post thanks!!! Although it did not work first time for me, you tipped me to an idea that lead me to my solution. After trying everything to no avail, and saying a little prayer to Jesus for some much needed wisdom, I got the idea to zip up my child theme files and install it through the WP dashboard like you mentioned above for the main theme. In that process, I got a more specific dashboard error that I had not gotten before which indicated the index.php file needed to be present as well. After adding index.php, it worked! Go figure.

  • Ravi

    nice post ..i was facing issue from last 3 days and but with your this post i solved it in 10 sec.. Thanks ..You made my day..

  • ajaxkls

    Thanks so much … number 4 did the trick for me!

  • Kay

    Man… You just saved me from going crazy! Number 1 solved it for me. Thank you!

  • Fhulufhelo Mokhomi

    Thanks you saved my day