The wp_footer and wp_head functions, also known as “action hooks”, are essential for most plugins, otherwise they won’t work properly or at all. Plugins need these hooks in order to add proper code in your theme’s </head> or </footer> area.

Every well-developed theme should have those functions added, but, unfortunately, not all themes are well-developed.

Some plugins will let you know if they require either the wp_footer or wp_head hook in order to work, but some won’t, mostly because they expect a theme to already have these functions added.

Let’s take, for example, our “Lazy Load for Videos” plugin, which let us know that starting with the 2.2.0.4 version, the wp_footer function is required.

wp_footer function required for the lazy load for videos plugin

When you see something like that, you’ll probably want to check if your theme has such function, so let’s see how you can do that.

How to check if a WordPress theme has the wp_footer function

1. Check with your WordPress theme “Editor”

If you don’t have any security measures that prevents this, you need to:

  • Go to Appearance -> Editor.

wordpress theme editor

  • Search for Footer (footer.php) on the right side, then click on it.

WordPress footer.php

  • Now scroll down and see if you have this code <?php wp_footer(); ?> right before the </body> tag. That’s the only place where that function should be added, nowhere else! If it isn’t there, it means your theme doesn’t have it, but I’ll tell you below how to add it.

Note that the code can also look something like this:

<?php
wp_footer();
?>

In order to check quicker, just press Ctrl-F (Command-F for Mac) on your keyboard and add </body> or wp-footer, then press “Enter”.

2. Check with cPanel’s File Manager

All you need to do is to:

  • Log in to cPanel and find File Manager, then click on it.

Siteground cPanel File Manager

  • Go to public_html -> wp-content -> themes -> select the theme you are using.
  • Then search for footer.php, right-click on it and click “View”.

footer.php

  • Now check if you have this code <?php wp_footer(); ?> right before the </body> tag.

How to add wp_footer to a theme

In case you don’t have that function, you could add it yourself! You just need to edit the file through your theme Editor (see point 1), cPanel’s File Manager (see point 2, but click “Edit” instead of “View”) or a 3rd party software (e.g. FileZilla or SmartFTP), by adding this <?php wp_footer(); ?> above the </body> tag.

Enable wp_footer function in WordPress theme

I recommend talking to the theme developer first, if possible, and ask him if it’s ok to do that. You never know what can go wrong!

How to check if a WordPress theme has the wp_head function

1. Check with your WordPress theme “Editor”

The process is like the one shown for wp_footer, except that:

  • You have to click on the Header (header.php).

Theme header.php

  • Now check if you have this code <?php wp_head(); ?> right before the </head> tag. That’s the only place where this hook can be found. If it’s not there, you’ll need to add it yourself, as you’ll see below.

Note that the code can also look something like this:

<?php
wp_head();
?>

In order to check quicker, just press Ctrl-F (Command-F for Mac) on your keyboard, and add </head> or wp_head, then press “Enter”.

2. Check with cPanel’s File Manager

Follow the wp_footer example, but check the header.php file to see if it has the code before the </head> tag.

header.php

How to add wp_head to a theme

The process is similar to wp_footer, except you need to edit the header.php, and add this code <?php wp_head(); ?> right before the </head> tag.

Enable wp_head in a WordPress theme

Of course, don’t forget to press “Save”, “Save changes”, “Update file”, etc., after you made the changes!

I recommend talking to the theme developer first, if possible, and ask him if it’s ok to do that. You never know what can go wrong!

That’s a wrap

Hope our guide was comprehensive enough in order for you to detect or add those essential WordPress action hooks!

If you have any questions or thoughts, please drop a comment or contact us! And don’t forget to share if you enjoyed the article and subscribe below to get more WordPress tutorials directly in your Inbox!


 
 


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