The basics about WordPress template hierarchy

The template files have a big role in WordPress. We use different template files to render the whole WordPress site.

The WordPress have a predefined template hierarchy. That means, to render a specific type page, WordPress always look some template file & if it is absent, then it use another template file.

If we want to deal with themes in WordPress, having a basic idea about these template hierarchy will be useful. Actually, the themes are a collection of template files with some extra files like images etc.

The important template files used in WordPress themes are header.php, footer.php, index.php, single.php, page.php, archive.php & 404.php etc.

Some of these files are used to render the part of web page like header.php & footer.php etc. Some others have predefined function in WordPress site.

Now we can check the priority of these files to render different type pages in WordPress.

I just copied all these information from WordPress Codex. All credits are going to WordPress & its amazing documentation team. My role is only filter that Codex page & republish the essential content.

404 (Not Found) display

Template file used to render a Server 404 error page

  1. 404.php
  2. index.php

Search Result display

Template file used to render a Search Results Index page

  1. search.php
  2. index.php

Custom Taxonomies display

Template file used to render the Archive Index page for a Custom Taxonomy

  1. taxonomy-{taxonomy}-{term}.php – If the taxonomy were sometax, and taxonomy’s term were someterm WordPress would look for taxonomy-sometax-someterm.php.
  2. taxonomy-{taxonomy}.php – If the taxonomy were sometax, WordPress would look for taxonomy-sometax.php
  3. taxonomy.php
  4. archive.php
  5. index.php

Home Page display

Template file used to render the Blog Posts Index, whether on the site front page or on a static page.

  1. home.php
  2. index.php

Attachment display

Template file used to render a single attachment (attachment post-type) page

  1. MIME_type.php – it can be any MIME type (image.php, video.php, application.php). For text/plain, in order:</p>
    1. text.php
    2. plain.php
    3. textplain.php
  2. attachment.php
  3. single-attachment.php
  4. single.php
  5. index.php

Single Post display

Template file used to render a single post page.

  1. single-{post_type}.php – If the post type were product, WordPress would look for single-product.php.
  2. single.php
  3. index.php

Page display

Template file used to render a static page (page post-type)

  1. custom template file – The Page Template assigned to the Page. See getpagetemplates().
  2. page-{slug}.php – If the page slug is recent-news, WordPress will look to use page-recent-news.php
  3. page-{id}.php – If the page ID is 6, WordPress will look to use page-6.php
  4. page.php
  5. index.php

Category display

Template file used to render a Category Archive Index page

  1. category-{slug}.php – If the category’s slug were news, WordPress would look for category-news.php
  2. category-{id}.php – If the category’s ID were 6, WordPress would look for category-6.php
  3. category.php
  4. archive.php
  5. index.php

Tag display

Template file used to render a Tag Archive Index page

  1. tag-{slug}.php – If the tag’s slug were sometag, WordPress would look for tag-sometag.php
  2. tag-{id}.php – If the tag’s ID were 6, WordPress would look for tag-6.php
  3. tag.php
  4. archive.php
  5. index.php

Author display

Template file used to render an Author Archive Index page

  1. author-{nicename}.php – If the author’s nice name were rami, WordPress would look for author-rami.php.
  2. author-{id}.php – If the author’s ID were 6, WordPress would look for author-6.php.
  3. author.php
  4. archive.php
  5. index.php

Date display

Template file used to render a Date-Based Archive Index page

  1. date.php
  2. archive.php
  3. index.php

Archive display

Template file used to render the Archive Index page for a Post Type

  1. archive-{post_type}.php – If the post type were product, WordPress would look for archive-product.php.
  2. archive.php
  3. index.php

These are the file hierarchies to render different type pages in a WordPress site. As stated above, all of this informations are copied from WordPress Codex. You can read the original document at there.

Any way, I believe that this quick reference will help us in our feature WordPress development. Thanks to WP & its Codex.

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