In our WordPress tutorials, we often ask users to add code snippets into the WordPress site. You may find it difficult to do this task especially if you are not experienced at adding code snippets. A small mistake can crush your website and it can have a heavy price.
In this tutorial, we’ll teach you how to safely add custom code snippets to your WordPress site. Before starting the process, make sure you have a backup of your site, otherwise, there will be no step back if you make mistakes.
Let’s talk about the possible options we have to add code snippets. These are the possible options where you can add code snippets to your WordPress site:
- In your active theme’s or plugins files
- In a code snippets plugin
- In your own theme and plugins
Let’s explain each of the options with their downsides and help you to find out the best one.
1. Code Snippets to Function Files
You can directly add code snippets to your active theme’s or plugins function files. For example, if you want to change some text output by your theme, you can simply change the text of the file.
You just need to find out the code markup you want to modify and that’s all. Don’t know where the text is? File Text Finder (Windows OS only!) is a great tool to find file text.
Although it’s very easy to find and modify the themes and plugins files in this way, there are many downsides to adding code snippets directly to the function files.
Your changes will be overridden as soon as you update the theme or plugin. There’s a greater risk editing the theme files as theme loads on every page, your site may become completely inaccessible.
For this reason, many WordPress users don’t update the modified themes and plugins to keep their changes forever, but that’s not a good strategy either, bigger problems can come in the future.
Updates may have security or bug fixes, as well as new features that you’ll want to use, and it can also have fixes that your current WordPress version requires.
Using a child theme can help you keep your changes intact after an update. But there’s a downside too, your changes will apply as long as you use the parent theme.
So it’s never a good idea to add code snippets to your themes and plugins function files. You would like to do this in one scenario only, as a developer or wanna be a developer.
2. Code Snippets to a Snippets Plugin
You can use a code snippets plugin to add code snippets to your WordPress site. The Code Snippets plugin is one of them and we highly recommend the plugin, especially for beginners.
A new “Snippets” menu item will be added to your site after you install the plugin. The plugin comes with all the necessary features you need to organize and apply your code snippets.
There you have options to apply code snippets to front-end or back-end, add descriptions, etc. You can enable, disable, or delete any code snippet at any time just like the plugins.
It comes with a fail-safe switch that detects syntax errors in the code and automatically deactivates a snippet if there’s an error. It’ll protect you from losing access to your website.
3. Code Snippets to Your Own Plugins
WordPress developer or wanna be a developer? You should consider creating your own plugin where you can add custom code snippets. It’ll give you the must needed debugging knowledge.
If you feel comfortable adding your own plugin, that’s the option you should prefer. It’s better than the Code Snippets plugin if you are skilled enough to manage.
PRO TIP: Add your site name as a prefix to function names to make sure that they don’t conflict with any other functions that may exist in your themes or plugins. That’s why we always add bydik_ prefix to function names to avoid conflicts with other functions.
We’ve multiple homemade plugins where we add code snippets regularly for the better user experience. It gives us a better understanding and control over how WordPress works.
Adding code snippets to a WordPress site is not an uphill task. You may not feel comfortable doing it but there are also beginner-friendly ways to do this.
The Code Snippets plugin is the best option to make you comfortable adding code snippets to your WordPress site because it keeps your changes after updates.
And adding code snippets to your own plugin will give you more confidence using WordPress in the coming days. We always recommend this for advanced WordPress users.
That’s it! Please comment and share if you find this article helpful.