Should I make a clone of the theme or use the original theme files?

There are pros and cons to both of these options that you need to be aware of. I cover both in this article.

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Important Update:

HubSpot recently (soft) launched the ability to create a "Child Theme" giving you the best of both worlds. Customizability and taking advantage of theme updates.

Learn how to create a Child Theme here.

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Let me first break down the Pros and Cons of each approach for you.  We'll start there.

Using the original theme files out of the box.

PRO:

  • When new versions of the CLEAN theme are released and you install the update, those updates are added directly to the theme files your website is using.

CON:

  • The original theme can not be edited at the code level meaning any specific customizations that you'd like to do to any of the theme files (template, modules, CSS, JS, etc.) is not possible. 

Using a CLONED version of the theme.

PRO:

  • Any customizations (at the code level) that you'd like to make or have me make is possible. Cloned versions of a theme are editable. 

CON:

  • Installing updated versions of the theme will not update your cloned version of the theme. It only updates the original theme files.

Wrapping it all up.

Generally, I've recommended that customers clone the original theme prior to use.  While the theme is super flexible and customizable right from the CMS, I've worked with a ton of customers who eventually want to customize something to meet their company's specific use case.

If you don't forsee a specific use-case down the road then I'd say go with the original theme files.