An action is a command that may be issued to modify how a WordPress website functions or add new features. Many predefined actions are available in WordPress, allowing coders to insert their code at particular intervals throughout the core.
WordPress’ actions are incredibly versatile, as they allow you to run pieces of PHP code in correspondence with specific WordPress events. In other words, the action will occur when a particular event is set off.
If you’re not a developer, then don’t worry! You can still add new features to your website by copying and pasting code snippets from the internet. Many of these characters are action-based.
What Is an Action in WordPress?
An action will alter the function’s standard operation. It does so by transforming WordPress data and doing something with it.
Actions may display a promotional message on a page, activate a plugin, add extra widgets to a sidebar, post content, or add a menu to the header. They might also send an email to the author following the publication of a piece, load a custom script in the footer, or provide instructions on how to complete an online form. The add_action() function can be used to create actions. WordPress has several functions that allow you to use actions, but these are the ones that are most often utilized:
- add_action(): This function will add an action to a specified WordPress event.
- do_action(): This function is used to launch an action. It will run the functions associated with the action.
- has_action(): This function checks whether an action has been registered for a particular event.
- remove_action(): This function will remove an action from a specified event.
Functions for Working with Actions
In order to work with WordPress actions, you need to be familiar with the functions that are used to register, launch, and remove them. These functions are listed below:
- add_action(): This function adds an action to a specified WordPress event. It takes two arguments: the name of the action hook and the name of the function to be called when the hook is triggered.
- do_action(): This function is used to launch an action. It takes one argument: the name of the action hook.
- has_action(): This function checks whether an action has been registered for a particular event. It takes two arguments: the name of the action hook and the name of the function to be called when the hook is triggered.
- remove_action(): This function will remove an action from a specified event. It takes two arguments: the name of the action hook and the name of the function to be called when the hook is triggered.
How to Use WordPress Actions
Now that you know what WordPress actions are and how they work let’s look at how you can use them on your website.
First, you must decide what event you want to trigger your action. For our example, we will use the ‘init’ hook, triggered when WordPress initializes.
Next, you need to create a function for your action. This function can be anything you want it to be. For our example, we’re going to create a simple function that displays a message on the screen.
Once you’ve created your function, you need to register it with WordPress using the add_action() function. This function takes two arguments: the hook’s name and the function’s name. In our example, we would use the following code:
add_action( 'init', 'my_function' );
Finally, you need to trigger your action using the do_action() function. This function takes one argument: the name of the hook. In our example, we would use the following code:
do_action( 'init' );
And that’s it! When WordPress initializes, our message will be displayed on the screen. Actions are a powerful tool that can be used to alter the way WordPress works.
What are Hooks?
A hook is a point in the code at which you can insert your code. WordPress has two types of hooks: actions and filters.
- Action hooks allow you to insert your code at specific points in the WordPress code. For example, you could use an action hook to display a message on the screen or to send an email after a post has been published.
- Filter hooks allow you to alter data that WordPress has generated. For example, you could use a filter hook to change how a post is displayed on the screen or add extra information to the RSS feed.
Both action and filter hooks can be found throughout the WordPress codebase. In fact, there are over 50 action hooks and 30 filter hooks built into WordPress.
While action and filter hooks are similar, they serve different purposes. For example, action hooks allow you to insert your code, while filter hooks allow you to alter data.
What are Filters?
Filters are a type of hook that allows you to alter data. WordPress has two types of filters:
Pre_get_posts filters allow you to alter the main query object before executing it. For example, you could use this filter to change the number of posts displayed on the home page or exclude certain categories from the main query.
The_content filter allows you to alter the content of a post before it is displayed on the screen. For example, you could use this filter to add a “read more” link to the end of each post or to display an advertisement before the post content.
Both pre_get_posts and the_content filters are located in the WordPress codebase. In fact, there are over 50 filters built into WordPress.
While filters are similar to actions, they serve different purposes. For example, filters allow you to alter data, while actions will enable you to insert your code.