WordPress Hooks: The Essential Guide

WordPress hooks

WordPress hooks are a helpful tool designed for developers who make WordPress plugins and themes. In fact, they’re so useful that the creators of WordPress utilize them throughout WordPress core. But what exactly are WordPress hooks and how do you use them?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to effectively use WordPress hooks and dive into the fundamentals. Let’s dive in!

What are Hooks in WordPress?

In a nutshell, WordPress hooks are snippets of WordPress code that grab and execute snippets of other pieces of WordPress code. They essentially allow developers to jump around among various files easily in their themes and plugins.

WordPress hooks come packaged in WordPress core. Every theme and plugin utilizes them, as well.

WordPress Hooks Explained

The main purpose of hooks in WordPress is to allow developers to fundamentally change how the content management system operates without altering the WordPress core files. Because WordPress is open-source, you could mess with core files, but there’s a 99% chance you’d regret it within minutes.

Although it can be a bit difficult to understand for newer developers, it’s absolutely critical to learn how WordPress hooks work. Much of the time, confusion arises because of the terminology WordPress uses. Although the behind-the-scenes action is quite similar to that of many programming languages, the verbiage is different. It’s often easiest to learn how to create and use these by first following examples, reading about them, and then practicing.

In order to write WordPress hooks, you’ll need to be able to code in PHP. PHP is the underlying language for the vast majority of WordPress. You can think of hooks as openings that other PHP functions can latch onto. You can also think of WordPress hooks as callbacks that do something to data or the display before the user sees the data. 

Two Types of WordPress Hooks

There are two major types of WordPress hooks you’ll need to learn:

  • WordPress action hooks
  • WordPress filter hooks

Let’s take a look at these two types of WordPress hooks and how they differ. We’ll also explore a few examples of both action hooks and filter hooks to better illustrate their usage.

The Difference Between WordPress Action Hooks and Filter Hooks

If you’ve spent time reviewing the codex of WordPress, you’ve probably seen these terms casually tossed around. Unfortunately, one of the weaknesses of the codex is that

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This article was written by Kristen Wright and originally published on WordPress News and Updates from iThemes – iThemes.

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