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How to Add and Use Widgets in WordPress (Step by Step)

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Do you want to learn how to add and use widgets in WordPress?

Widgets allow you to add different functionality to your WordPress sidebars and other widget-ready areas, all without writing any code.

In this article, we will show you how to add and use widgets in WordPress so that you can quickly customize your site.

How to add and use widgets in WordPress (step by step)

What Are Widgets & Why Do You Need Them in WordPress?

Widgets are blocks of content that you can add to your WordPress sidebars, footer, and other widget areas of your website.

This can be an easy way to add image galleries, social media feeds, quotes, calendars, popular posts, and other dynamic elements to your WordPress website.

You can find your widget area by going to Appearance » Widgets in your WordPress admin dashboard.

Here, you will see a list of your available widget areas. In the example below using the Astra theme, there are multiple areas where you can add widgets, including the sidebar, header, and footer.

Widget menu example

The areas where you can place widgets are defined by your WordPress theme, so it could look different depending on the theme you are using.

With that said, let’s show you how to easily add widgets to different areas of your WordPress website.

How to Add a Widget to a Sidebar in WordPress

There are multiple ways you can add widgets to your WordPress sidebar area.

The easiest way is to navigate to Appearance » Widgets and then click the upward arrow in the sidebar widget section to expand the widget section.

Expand sidebar widget

Then, click the ‘+’ icon to bring up the widget block menu.

Here, you can search for a widget by name. Or, click the ‘Browse all’ button to bring up a menu of all the available widgets.

Click add widget block icon

To add a widget to your sidebar, simply click on that widget, and it will automatically be added to your sidebar.

Then, all you have to do is click the ‘Update’ button, and the widget will now be live on your website.

Add widget and update

The widgets page isn’t the only way to add widgets to your WordPress blog.

You can also add widgets by using the WordPress theme customizer. First, navigate to Appearance » Customize and then click the ‘Widgets’ option.

WordPress sidebar customizer widget

This brings you to a page where you can customize your widget options.

To add a widget to your sidebar, simply click the ‘Right Sidebar’ menu option.

Click right sidebar widget

After that, click the ‘+’ add block icon to bring up the widget block menu.

Then, select a widget block, and it will automatically be added to your sidebar.

Click to add block to sidebar widget

The process of adding a widget is the same as above.

Once you have finished making changes to your widget area, click the ‘Publish’ button to push your changes live.

Save sidebar widget changes in customizer

How to Remove a Widget in WordPress

Removing a widget in WordPress is as easy as the process of adding one. Simply navigate to Appearance » Widgets in your WordPress dashboard.

After that, click on the widget block that you want to delete.

Click widget block to delete

Then, at the top of the widget block, click the three dots ‘Options’ button. This brings up a menu that lets you move and delete the widget.

To delete the widget, simply select the ‘Remove block’ option.

Click options and remove widget block

Deleting the widget will remove it from your sidebar and delete the widget settings or any options you selected.

Sometimes, you might want to remove a widget, but save the settings and changes you have made for the future.

To do this, click the ‘Drag’ icon at the top of the widget.

Click drag icon to move widget

Then, drag the widget to the ‘Inactive widgets’ section.

Before you exit the page, make sure to click the ‘Update’ button to save your widget settings.

Drag to inactive widget

If you want to use that widget again, then simply drag the widget block from the ‘Inactive widgets’ section to an active widget section.

What Kinds of Widgets Are Available for WordPress?

A default WordPress installation comes with built-in widgets, including recent posts, tags, a search bar, categories, a calendar, and more.

WordPress available widget blocks

However, most WordPress plugins and themes also come with their own widget blocks that you can add to your site.

For example, the WPForms plugin can be used to create contact form pages, but it also has a widget that lets you add forms to any widget-ready area of your site.

WPForms widget example

Similarly, many other themes and plugins add widgets, so their users can add things to their WordPress widget areas without writing any code or HTML.

You can even create your own widget to add a completely custom widget to WordPress. For more details, see our guide on how to create a custom WordPress widget.

We hope this article helped you learn how to add and use widgets in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to choose the best blogging platform and our picks for the best business phone services for small business.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

24 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. mohadese esmaeeli says

    Hi, thanks for the article. I understood from the guide that plugins extend the capabilities of the site, but what exactly is the difference between a widget and a plugin? Both add features and capabilities to the site.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Widgets are used to add something visual to your site or content while a plugin can add anything to your site is one way to think about it :)


  3. Aneesa says

    while seeing the Appearance->Widgets, following message appears:

    Your theme has 5 widget areas, but this particular page does not display them.
    You can navigate to other pages on your site while using the Customizer to view and edit the widgets displayed on those pages.

    but after this, there are no areas mentioned like in this article, you have “right sidebar” and “header”… kindly help me

    • WPBeginner Support says

      It sounds as if your theme has some custom design options, we would recommend reaching out to the support for your specific theme and they can help clarify how you can modify your widgets with their tools.


  4. Muhammad Yousef says

    If theme has only footer widgets then how can we add widgets in sidebar and menus section

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would either want to consider changing themes or using a page builder if the theme you are using does not have the option to add widgets where you would like.


  5. Veronique says

    I want to change the wording for the Comments section of my blog, but when I go to Widgets, no widgets are shown for the footer.

  6. Scott LaPierre says

    Can you use Gutenberg blocks in the widget area of your site, or only on posts and pages?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Only on posts and pages at the moment but maybe as Gutenberg gets updates there will be something :)


  7. Robert says

    I want to add icon widgets on home page and have them link to my categories. I do not have a widget “area” on my home page(this is where i want to put them). Only widget areas are bottom of pages. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  8. Bill Casey says

    Not a comment but a question.
    In the WordPress admin area, if I expand Appearance I see only ‘Themes’, ‘Customise’ and ‘Editor’ – no ‘Widgets’.
    How do I get ‘Widgets’ to appear here?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hi Bill,

      Try switching to a default theme and see if you can see widgets in Admin area. If you do, then this means that your theme does not have any sidebars or widget ready areas defined and that’s why you cannot see widgets under appearance.


  9. lorie says

    Thank you for your post on this. You saved me from banging my head against the wall longer than necessary. ;)

    • Larry Alman says

      I am rebuilding a website with very little experience with WordPress. In the Widget section or page I clicked something and it now says manage with live preview. I cannot add a widget. How do I get rid of this so I can add a widget that I downloaded? Thank you for your time.

  10. Jonny says


    I was looking to find out the maximum number of widgets you can add to wordpress. I may end up having a widget per page!

  11. Kelly says

    Thanks so much. I’ve been struggling with what and where for widgets, great clear post. Thank you.

  12. ted bergman says

    You create very good stuff for us beginners. A printer version of your articles would be very useful.

  13. Howard Lee Harkness says

    Very timely post. I was about to make some instructional videos for my virtual assistant on how to maintain my site widgets. Using this post as a backgrounder should make that much easier.

    I have recommended to her to start followinging WPBeginner — I would not be surprised to see her develop more WP expertise than I have :)

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