Friday 3 January 2020

How PHP Is Used in WordPress

WordPress is written in many languages, but PHP is one of the primary programming and scripting languages used. Just like WordPress, PHP is open-source, making it one of the easiest languages for building websites these days.

But how exactly does PHP work? Let’s say someone visits your WordPress travel blog website. Before they can see anything, your web server gets a request to serve up your homepage. This means your homepage link (also known as a URL) is asking for a PHP file.

Now that the server knows which PHP code to run, it will execute the proper PHP before it’s ready to be sent back to the web user. The PHP program responsible for your homepage generates the appropriate HTML and sends it to the web user. The raw HTML code generated by the PHP that’s sent is not what will be physically seen. The web user will only see the finished version of your travel blog homepage filled with fun stories and photos of your adventures.

There are many tools you can use to help create the best website. They can help you skip the code writing and jump right into making the perfect website. Check out these tools and free content management systems to help get you started.

What Areas of WordPress Use PHP?

WordPress files, different themes, additional plugins, and various functions are written in PHP. Let’s take a closer look at some of these areas.

Downloading WordPress

When someone starts using WordPress, they’ll meet PHP in that very first download. After going to and downloading the latest version, you can already see how PHP is used in WordPress. The contents of the WordPress ZIP file below shows that the core files are written in the PHP (notice the .php file extension).

Themes and Plugins

Also, when installing a theme on your WordPress website, you will see numerous files written in the PHP language. Let’s look at one of these popular themes – Astra. Below you can see a list of the downloaded files.

Additionally, just like themes, plugins are also mainly written in PHP.

Functions, Hooks, and Classes

Going a bit deeper, WordPress uses PHP for functions, hooks, and classes and it’s what makes WordPress so flexible. They are used to help you extend your WordPress functionality.


Each WordPress theme has a file named (appropriately enough) functions.php. This special file allows developers to define theme features and functions. The file acts as a WordPress plugin and is used to add your own custom code bits in your WordPress. However, unlike a plugin, it will only be recognized in the theme you’re currently using. Let’s look at some of the most well-known WordPress functions.

  • get_theme_mod() – retrieves theme modification value for the current theme.
  • add_setting() – adds a customized setting.
  • apply_filters() – calls the functions added to a filter hook.
  • get_comments_number() – retrieves the amount of comments a post has.
  • add_section() – adds a customized section.
  • is_home() – determines if the query is for the blog homepage.
  • get_sidebar() – loads sidebar template.
  • esc_attr() – escaping for HTML attributes.
  • get_option() – retrieves an option value based on an option name.

These are just a small snippet of the full list of WordPress functions.


If you’ve ever modified, expanded, deleted or changed anything in WordPress, then it’s likely that you used a hook to do it. There are two types, the do-something or action hook and the customization or filter hook. When you want to add, delete or update functionality, you will use the action hook. For example, sending an email or adding instructions. When you want to change (i.e., filter) existing output, you will use the filter hook. For example, attaching links to a post or changing the style of a heading.

There are options you can choose from when you decide to modify your code. You can use the WordPress action hooks reference and filter hook reference to help guide you change the things you want.


A class is an object oriented-programming concept. Classes are useful for making PHP represent everyday objects that we understand (e.g. car, house or store). A good way to look at it is a class can help organize and group your functions, but a function can’t group your classes. For example, we can have a class called car. This car class can have a function called drive() and an attribute called current_speed. Interestingly enough, you don’t need to use functions inside your classes.

Do You Need to Know PHP to Use WordPress?

As a WordPress user, you do not need to learn PHP to build, run or manage a WordPress website. This is one reason WordPress is so user-friendly.

Most people can use WordPress without learning PHP or how to code. However, it’ll open new possibilities if you know PHP. If you know PHP, you will always have the option to change, develop or experiment with your WordPress site. More advanced developers can use PHP for more complicated customizations.

With some basic PHP skills, you can learn common and popular functions that might help make quick and easy, yet significant changes to your WordPress site. It is also possible to change themes and make plugins. Before you know it, you’ll be taking advantage of functions, variables, and strings then using them with WordPress’ hooks, actions, and filters.

Wrapping Up

WordPress is built with PHP. You’ll find PHP throughout its system. PHP is used to download WordPress, to tweak and add functions to your site or to add themes and plugins. PHP is one of the great elements in helping WordPress be the CMS that it is.

1 comment:

  1. hope ad make lots of videos about wordpress <3