WordPress is a very robust platform for websites. You can use wordpress for stand alone websites, blogs, entertainment magazines, even e-commerce stores.
The first step in creating a wordpress site (after installation) is to choose from a large collection of pre-built themes, which for most beginners is all that is needed to get their website up and running. But more advanced users may be interested in modifying the theme beyond what is offered in the standard customized options. This can be done by editing the theme files directly using a mix of HTML, CSS, and PHP.
Many themes allow you to customize items and make changes, but if the creator of the theme sends out a functional update (you will get an automatic notice in your dashboard that there is an update available) it can overwrite some of the changes you have made and reset your theme back to a default setting.
This is why wordpress provides “child themes”. A child theme allows you to duplicate the main (parent) theme, and make changes to the look and layout, without losing your changes if you run an update. The parent theme remains intact, and all your modifications are done to the child.
Without child themes, you would not be able to preserve all the changes you have made to the theme when you edit the main parent files directly. But by using a child theme, only the parent is updated, and everything you have built within your child theme stays untouched.
The easiest way to set up a child theme is to use the WordPress Child Theme Configurator.
This is a great walkthrough of how to set up and use the plugin: