What are Actions in WordPress?

An action can be used to change the way a WordPress site functions or introduce new features in WordPress development. WordPress features a number of preset actions that allow developers to add custom code to particular areas of the core.

One of the key elements that makes WordPress so adaptable is actions. They’re PHP scripts that are ‘hooked’ to a WordPress event. The action will be carried out when the event is triggered.

Plugin and theme developers rely heavily on them. If you’re not a developer, you can add new features to your website by pasting code snippets from the internet. Many of them have actions attached to them.

What is a WordPress Action?

A function’s default behavior will be changed by an action. It accomplishes this by obtaining information from WordPress and then acting on it.

For example, actions can be used to add a menu to a header, activate a plugin, add extra widgets to a sidebar, publish a post, or display a promotional message on a page. They may also send an email to the author once a post is published, load a custom script in the footer, or provide instructions for completing a form to your viewers.

The add action() function is used to add actions. There are various functions in WordPress that allow you to use actions, however these are the most regularly used:

  • add_action(): This adds a function to the do action hook you specified.
  • remove_action(): This detaches a function from a specific action hook.
  • do_action(): The “hooked” functions will be executed here.
  • has_action(): determines whether or not an activity has been registered

Plugin and theme developers use actions to extend the capabilities of WordPress. You may also add code snippets from online tutorials to actions to personalize your theme.

Files for WordPress. This should only be attempted by experienced users who are comfortable altering the functions.php file and have some knowledge of PHP.

Beginners should either utilize a plugin to complete the task at hand or seek professional assistance in editing the code.

We recommend backing up your website before modifying any code on your WordPress site in case of a coding error. If you don’t already have a backup plugin, check out our comparison of the top WordPress backup plugins.

We also advise against directly adding the code to the theme files, since this may result in your adjustments being lost the next time you update the theme.

Instead, add custom code to WordPress using a code snippets plugin, create a site-specific plugin, or create a child theme and edit it rather than the parent theme.

See how to upgrade a WordPress theme without losing personalization in our guide.

What is the distinction between hooks, actions, and filters?

It’s useful to know how actions relate to two other concepts in WordPress: hooks and filters, to gain a better grasp of them. Understanding these three terms together can help you understand the term ‘activity.’

WordPress plugin and theme development is built on hooks. They’re spots where developers can ‘hook’ their custom code into WordPress at certain points and change how it works without having to edit core files.

Hooks are divided into two categories.

  • Action hooks enable you to take action. They let you to add extra functionality to your website and are run when certain events occur, such as when a theme or plugin is activated or when a post is published. They don’t need to send any information back to WordPress once the action is completed.
  • Filter hooks provide you the ability to adjust things. They intercept data in the middle of processing and allow you to alter it before returning it. They’re used to filter data before sending it to a database or a user’s browser.

The WordPress core, themes, and plugins all rely on these action and filter hooks to function. They collaborate to give developers a lot of power over basic WordPress events, filters, and actions.

Developers can also design their own custom actions and filters so that their plugins or themes can be extended by other developers.

WordPress Filter Examples

What does it mean to take action? Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.

Let’s imagine you wish to include a copyright disclaimer in your footer. You may achieve this by editing the footer template directly. Hooking your code to a preset action that’s already being done in the footer is generally easier and better practice.

Add your copyright code to a function in your functions.php file to accomplish this. Then, in the spot where you want your copyright code to be executed, you can add this function to an action.

function copyright_notice() {
   echo "Copyright All Rights Reserved";

Copyright notice is an action that is hooked into the wp footer hook in this example. When the wp footer() hook exists in a WordPress theme’s code, the function copyright notice is called.

In WordPress, actions allow you to output content almost anywhere in your theme. Almost certainly, there is a default hook that will do exactly what you require. In their Plugin API/Action Reference, WordPress provides a list of actions.

We hope you found this article useful in learning more about WordPress actions. You may also find related articles on WordPress tips, tricks, and ideas in our Additional Reading section below.

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