WordPress Post Templates

WordPress Post Templates is a feature that allows theme developers to create different layouts and styles for individual posts. By using post templates, you can provide a unique look and feel for different types of content on your WordPress website, such as varying the design for specific articles, announcements, portfolio entries, or any other type of post you might have.

Traditionally, WordPress themes come with a single post template (single.php) that is applied to all posts. However, with post templates, you can create multiple templates for different purposes. For example, you might have one template for standard blog posts, another for featured articles with more elaborate styling, and yet another for case studies or testimonials.

To create a WordPress Post Template, you typically:

1. Create a new PHP file in your theme directory.

2. At the beginning of this file, include a WordPress template header to define the template name.

3. Customize the HTML structure and PHP code in the file to design your desired post layout and styling.

4. Once the template is created, it becomes available in the WordPress editor. When editing a post, you can select the template from the ‘Post Attributes’ or similar section.

This feature enhances the flexibility and customization of WordPress sites, allowing for more creative and tailored content presentation. It’s particularly useful for websites that publish different types of content requiring distinct formatting to distinguish them from each other or to highlight particular posts.

When creating a WordPress Post Template, the naming of the file itself does not follow a strict convention like some other template files in WordPress. Instead, the key identifier for a post template is the template name you specify within the file’s header comment block. However, it’s good practice to name the file in a way that reflects its purpose or the type of content it’s designed for, making it easier to identify and manage within your theme’s folder structure.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to naming and setting up a new WordPress Post Template:

1. Create a New PHP File: Begin by creating a new PHP file in your theme’s directory. 

Choose a file name that describes the template’s purpose, for example, template-featured.php for a template designed for featured posts.

2. Add Template Header Comment: At the beginning of this new PHP file, you need to include a PHP comment block that WordPress uses to identify this file as a post template. Within this comment block, you’ll define the template name that will appear in the WordPress editor. Here’s an example of what this header should look like:

 * Template Name: Featured Article
 * Template Post Type: post, page

Template Name is the name that will appear in the WordPress editor when you’re selecting a template for your posts or pages. In this example, it’s “Featured Article”.

Template Post Type specifies for which post types this template is available. In most cases, you’ll use post, page, or both. You can also include custom post types if needed.

3. Customize the Template: After setting up the header, proceed to add HTML and PHP code to the file to define how the posts using this template will be displayed. This includes the layout, styling, and any specific features or functionality you want these posts to have.

4. Use the Template: Once the template file is created and saved within your theme directory, you can select it from the ‘Post Attributes’ section (or a similar area, depending on your WordPress setup) in the WordPress editor when creating or editing posts.

Remember, the name of the file itself can be anything that makes sense to you and reflects its purpose, as long as it ends with the .php extension. The crucial part for WordPress to recognize it as a post template is the template header comment at the beginning of the file.

How to assign a specific post template to a specific category

WordPress does not natively support assigning different post templates based on categories directly through the WordPress admin interface. However, you can achieve this functionality by custom coding within your theme or child theme. Here’s how you can make WordPress use a specific post template for posts in a particular category:

Method 1: Using single.php

Edit or Create single.php: If your theme does not have a single.php file, create one in your theme directory. This file is used by WordPress to display individual posts.

Conditional Checks for Category: Within single.php, you can use conditional tags to check the category of the post and then include the appropriate template part or custom template file. Here’s an example using has_category():

if ( has_category( 'featured' ) ) {
    include 'single-featured.php';
} elseif ( has_category( 'news' ) ) {
    include 'single-news.php';
} else {
    // Default single post layout
    get_template_part( 'default-single' );

This code checks if the post belongs to the ‘featured’ category, then uses single-featured.php. If it belongs to the ‘news’ category, it uses single-news.php. Otherwise, it falls back to a default layout.

Method 2: Using template_include Filter

Another approach is to use the template_include filter, which allows you to dynamically change the template file used for rendering posts based on specific criteria like categories.

Add Filter to functions.php: In your theme’s functions.php file, add a function hooked to template_include that checks the category of the current post and changes the template accordingly:

add_filter( 'template_include', 'custom_category_template' );
function custom_category_template( $template ) {
    if ( is_single() && has_category( 'featured' ) ) {
        $new_template = locate_template( array( 'single-featured.php' ) );
        if ( '' != $new_template ) {
            return $new_template ;
    return $template;

This code checks if the current post is in the ‘featured’ category and changes the template to single-featured.php if it exists.


Child Theme: If you’re making modifications like these, it’s a good idea to use a child theme. This way, your changes won’t be overwritten when the parent theme is updated.

Custom Post Types: For more complex scenarios, consider using custom post types instead of categories. Custom post types can have their own template hierarchy.

Plugin Option: There are also plugins available that might offer the functionality to assign templates based on categories without writing code.

These methods require a basic understanding of PHP and WordPress theme development. Custom coding allows for great flexibility but ensure to test your changes on a staging site before applying them to your live site to prevent any disruptions.

Page/Website Builders

WPBakery Page Builder:

Custom Post Templates: WPBakery does not offer a direct way to create templates for single posts from the WordPress admin dashboard like some other page builders. However, you can design post layouts using WPBakery elements and then apply these designs within your theme files or by using custom post types and applying WPBakery content to those.

Using a Child Theme: To apply different designs for specific categories, you may need to edit your theme’s single.php file or create a new template file in your child theme that checks for post categories and then loads different WPBakery layouts accordingly.

Integration Plugins: Some third-party plugins are designed to extend WPBakery’s functionality and might offer more straightforward ways to apply custom post templates based on categories. These plugins can provide additional shortcodes or widgets that you can use within your theme files.

Visual Composer:

Theme Builder: Visual Composer offers a theme builder functionality that allows you to create custom layouts for your posts and pages, including single post templates.

Dynamic Content and Templates: With Visual Composer, you can design templates that include dynamic content fields, ensuring that your post’s specific content (like the title, content, and featured image) is correctly displayed.

Display Conditions: Visual Composer allows you to set display conditions for your templates, enabling you to specify that certain templates should only be used for posts in specific categories, making it straightforward to have varied designs for different content types.


Creating Templates: Brizy provides a Theme Builder that lets you create templates for your posts, including specific designs for single posts. You can use the Brizy editor to design these templates visually.

Dynamic Content: Like other page builders, Brizy supports dynamic content, allowing you to design templates that dynamically display post titles, content, images, and more.

Conditions for Display: When setting up your post template in Brizy, you can specify conditions for its application, such as applying the template to posts within certain categories. This feature makes it easy to design different layouts for different types of posts.

General Considerations:

Ease of Use: All three page builders offer a drag-and-drop interface for designing your site, making it easy to create custom layouts without coding.

Dynamic Elements: Utilize dynamic elements within these page builders to ensure that your post templates correctly display the content of each post.

Conditions and Application: Look into each page builder’s documentation or support forums for specific instructions on setting conditions for your templates, as the exact process can vary.

Using WPBakery, Visual Composer, or Brizy, you can achieve detailed customization of your post layouts, including applying different templates based on categories. Each builder has its strengths and unique features, so the best choice depends on your specific needs and preferences.