A WordPress sidebar is a theme feature, which is basically a vertical column provided by a theme for displaying information other than the main content of the web page. The usage of sidebars changes and it depends on the choices of the theme designer.
Sidebars play a vital role in designing the layout of a WordPress website for displaying the content other than the main articles of a website.
For example, a short list of recent articles, a list of pages, or popular articles on a website can easily be displayed across the entire site.
This term actually refers to two different things in WordPress:
- Dynamic Sidebar: It is a container for a set of widgets, which can be set by the user with the Widgets screen in the admin.
- Sidebar Template: It is basically a theme template that displays content.
Given below functions are used to give the functioning sidebars to a theme:
Register several Sidebars:
register_sidebars( $count, $args );
It registers one or more than one sidebars to be used in the current theme. There is only one sidebar in many themes, for this reason, the count parameter is optional and defaults to one.
The $agrs parameter will be passed to register_sidebar() and its format will be followed, with the exception of the name, which is written with sprintf() to insert or append a unique number to each sidebar if the count is plural.
Register single sidebar:
register_sidebar( $args );
An associative array i.e the optional $args parameter will be passed as the first argument to every active widget callback. If a string passes instead of an array, it will be passed through parse_str() to generate an associative array, the basic use of these arguments is to pass theme-based HTML tags to wrap the WordPress widgets and its title.
Display sidebar on the theme:
dynamic_sidebar( $sidebar );
This function calls each active widget callbacks in order, which prints the markup for the sidebar. If in case you have more than one sidebar. You should assign this function with the name or number of the sidebar you want to print. This function returns a true value on success, while false on failure.
How to create a custom WordPress sidebar?
You can use custom sidebar plugins for this. However, this simple tool enables you to replace your core WordPress sidebar with more customizable options. Using it you will be able to create multiple new sidebars and assign them to specific pages, posts types, and categories.
Step1. Create your first custom WordPress sidebar –
Once the plugin starts running, you will find an option to create a sidebar. Now, create a new sidebar under Appearance in the widget on your dashboard. Click on it, you can now choose a name and a description for your custom sidebar:
Step2. Specify the location for your new sidebar:
After your new custom sidebar is created, it won’t appear on your front end until you tell the plugin where it should go. For this return to the custom sidebars section under appearance in widgets option. Here find the sidebar which you want to add to your site and click on the sidebar location:
Then from the extensive list of criteria including sidebar and footer options, save changes and it will be all set.