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How to Create Custom Single Post Templates in WordPress

Do you want to create a custom single post template in WordPress?

Custom single post templates allow you to use different layouts for your individual blog posts. Many WordPress themes come with a few different page templates, and you can also create your own if needed.

In this article, we will show you how to easily create custom single post templates in WordPress. We’ll share multiple methods, so you can choose one that works best for your needs.

How to create custom single post template in WordPress

Note: This tutorial requires you to edit WordPress theme files. If you haven’t done this before, then check out our tutorial on how to copy and paste code in WordPress.

When Do You Need a Custom Single Post Template?

Sometimes you may want a different look and feel for certain posts on your website. For instance, you may want to use a different layout for featured articles or stories in a particular category.

This is where you’ll need a custom single post template in WordPress.

By default, WordPress uses the single post template based on WordPress template hierarchy. All themes come with a single.php template which is used as the default for all your single posts.

Some themes may also include additional templates or layout choices that you can use.

It is very much like creating a custom page template. Most WordPress themes also come with page templates that you can use while editing a page in WordPress.

Choosing a page template

Having said, let’s take a look at how to easily create custom single post templates in WordPress. We’ll show you multiple methods, so you can use the one that works best for you.

Creating a Single Post Template in WordPress using The Block Editor

This method does not really create a post template and is limited in flexibility. However, it is the easiest way to save your own single post layouts and then reuse them.

The default WordPress block editor comes with a built-in feature that allows you to save and reuse blocks. One such reusable block is called the Group block.

The group block basically allows you to put several blocks and entire post layouts into one group. You can then save this group block and reuse it in your other posts.

Let’s take a look at how to use the group block to save your custom post templates.

First, you need to create a new post in WordPress. After that, simply add a group block to the content area.

Add group block

Now you can start adding blocks into the group block to create a single post layout. You can add any blocks you want including columns, media and text, cover images, and more.

Add blocks to the group

Once you are satisfied with the layout you have created, you need to take your mouse up and select the group block. Click on the three-dot menu icon and then select the ‘Add to Reusable Blocks’ option.

Add reusable block

Next, you need to provide a name for the reusable block and then click on the Save button. WordPress will now save your reusable block including all the blocks inside the group block.

You can then edit any existing post on your website or create a new one. On the post edit screen, simply click on the add new block button and look for your saved block under reusable blocks.

Reuse block

Add the block to your post and WordPress will load your entire group block with all the blocks and settings as you saved them.

This method allows you to save your custom layouts. However, it does not allow you to change how your theme handles single posts.

If you would like greater flexibility then continue reading.

Creating a Custom Single Post Template in WordPress Using Beaver Builder

The easiest way to create a custom single post template is by using Beaver Builder. It is the best WordPress page builder plugin on the market and allows you to create a post template without writing any code or modify your WordPress theme.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the Beaver Builder plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Beaver Builder page and switch to the license tab to enter your license key.

Beaver Builder license key

You can find this information under your account on the Beaver Builder website.

By default, Beaver Builder is enabled for Pages in WordPress. You need to make it available for posts as well.

To do that, switch to the Post Types tab under Settings » Beaver Builder page. From here you need to check the box next to the ‘Posts’ option.

Enable Beaver Builder for posts

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Post Types’ button to store your changes.

Now that everything is set up let’s create a custom post template.

Simply create a new post in WordPress and on the post edit screen click on the ‘Launch Beaver Builder’ button.

Launch Beaver Builder

This will open the Beaver Builder interface with a live preview of your website. You can start adding modules and rows to your existing layout by clicking on the Add button at the top right corner of the screen.

You can also select a template as a starter point. There is even a blank template to give you clean slate to begin with.

Select a Beaver Builder template

Once you have chosen a template, you can edit it by simple point and click. You can also add rows and columns and fill them with modules and elements to create your custom layout template.

Adding Beaver Builder modules

Feel free to experiment with different modules and play around with their settings.

Once you have created something that you would like to use as your post template. It is time to save it.

Beaver Builder allows you to save your layouts as a template and then reuse them with other posts. Simply click on the menu at the top-right corner of the screen and select Save Template.

Save your custom Beaver Builder post template

You’ll be asked to provide a name for your template. After that click on the Save button to store it.

Name and save the template

Now, let’s see how to use this custom post template when creating posts.

Simply edit a post or create a new one and then launch the Beaver Builder to edit the post.

Next, you need to click on the Add button at the top right corner of the screen and then switch to the Templates tab. From here you need to select ‘Saved Templates’ from the Group dropdown menu.

Load your custom template

Beaver Builder will now load your saved custom layout and you can then start adding content for your new article.

Using Theme Settings for Custom Single Post Layouts

Many popular WordPress themes come with built-in settings to customize the appearance of your single post template.

If your theme supports these settings, then you’ll be able to find them on the post edit screen. The options available may change depending on the theme you are using.

For instance, this is how the Astra theme offers customization options when editing a single post.

Astra theme single post template customization

Using these options, you can change sidebars, hide headers, title, menus, and more.

On the other hand, many of the top WordPress themes come with ready-to-use templates that you can use.

If your theme includes single post templates, then you will find them under the Post Attributes tab while editing a post.

Choosing a template when writing a single post

These templates are complete layouts that you can use.

Manually Creating Custom Single Post Templates in WordPress

This method is a bit advanced as it requires you to edit theme files, copy and paste code, and optionally add custom CSS.

First, you need to open a plain text editor on your computer like Notepad and paste the following code inside it:

<?php
/*
 * Template Name: Featured Article
 * Template Post Type: post, page, product
 */
 
 get_header();  ?>

This code defines a new template called Featured Article and makes it available for post, page, and product post types.

You can save this file as wpb-single-post.php on your desktop.

Next, you need to upload it to your current WordPress theme folder using an FTP client.

After that, you can log in to your WordPress admin area and create or edit a post. Scroll down a little on the post edit screen, and you will notice the new Post Attributes meta box with an option to select the template.

Select your custom post template

You will see your ‘Featured Article’ custom template listed there.

Right now your template is essentially empty so selecting it will simply display a white screen.

Let’s fix this.

The easiest way to do that is by copying the code from your theme’s single.php file and use it as a starting point.

Open the single.php file and then copy everything after the get_header() line.

Paste this code in your wpb-single-post.php file at the end. Now you can save this file and upload it back to your server.

However, this will look exactly the same as your current single post template. You can now start making changes to your custom single post template.

You can add your own custom CSS classes, remove sidebars, create a full-width template or anything you want.

Create Custom Single Post Templates Based on Category

Want to use a custom single post template based on categories? For example, posts in the travel category can have a different layout than posts in photography.

Here is how you can do that.

First you need to add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

/*
* Define a constant path to our single template folder
*/
define(SINGLE_PATH, TEMPLATEPATH . '/single');

/**
* Filter the single_template with our custom function
*/
add_filter('single_template', 'my_single_template');

/**
* Single template function which will choose our template
*/
function my_single_template($single) {
global $wp_query, $post;

/**
* Checks for single template by category
* Check by category slug and ID
*/
foreach((array)get_the_category() as $cat) :

if(file_exists(SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->slug . '.php'))
return SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->slug . '.php';

elseif(file_exists(SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->term_id . '.php'))
return SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->term_id . '.php';

endforeach;
}

This code first checks to see if WordPress is requesting a single post. If it is, then it tells WordPress to look for the template in /single/ folder of your WordPress theme.

Now you need to add template files defined by this code.

Connect to your WordPress hosting using an FTP client or File Manager in cPanel and go to /wp-content/themes/your-theme-folder/.

Inside your current theme folder, you need to create a new folder called ‘single’.

Now you need to open this folder and create a new file inside it. Go ahead and name this file single-cat-{category-slug}. Replace {category-slug} with your actual category slug.

For example, if you have a category called ‘News’, then you will create single-cat-news.php file. If you have a category called ‘Travel Tips’, then create a template single-cat-travel-tips.php, and so on.

Creating single post template for categories

Now, these template files will be totally empty. As a starting point, you can copy the contents of your single.php file from your theme folder and paste them inside each of these templates.

After that, you can edit these templates to make your desired changes.

Once you are done, you can go to your website and view a post. It will use the template that you have created for the category where this post is filed.

Now let’s suppose you have a post filed in two categories News and Travel Tips. WordPress will automatically show the template for ‘News’ because it appears first in alphabetical order.

On the other hand, if you filed a post in a category and didn’t create a template for that category, then WordPress will fallback to the default single.php template of your theme.

Create Custom Single Post Template for Specific Authors

Let’s suppose you want posts written by a specific author to look different on your website. You can do that by using the same technique we showed for categories.

First you will need to add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

/**
* Define a constant path to our single template folder
*/
define(SINGLE_PATH, TEMPLATEPATH . '/single');

/**
* Filter the single_template with our custom function
*/
add_filter('single_template', 'my_single_author_template');

/**
* Single template function which will choose our template
*/
function my_single_author_template($single) {
global $wp_query, $post;

/**
* Checks for single template by author
* Check by user nicename and ID
*/
$curauth = get_userdata($wp_query->post->post_author);

if(file_exists(SINGLE_PATH . '/single-author-' . $curauth->user_nicename . '.php'))
return SINGLE_PATH . '/single-author-' . $curauth->user_nicename . '.php';

elseif(file_exists(SINGLE_PATH . '/single-author-' . $curauth->ID . '.php'))
return SINGLE_PATH . '/single-author-' . $curauth->ID . '.php';

}

Next, you need to connect to your website using FTP or File Manager in cPanel and then go to /wp-content/themes/your-theme-folder/.

If you haven’t already created a folder called /single/ inside it, then let’s go ahead and create it now.

Inside this folder, you need to create a template using the author’s username in the template name. For example, single-author-johnsmith.php.

This template will be empty, so you can copy and paste the contents of your theme’s single.php template and use it as a starting point.

You can now visit your website to view a post created by the specific author. It will now use the template you created.

That’s all for now.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create custom single post templates in WordPress. You may also want to see our article on how to create a custom WordPress theme from scratch without writing any code.

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Reader Interactions

67 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. I am getting this message when I try to use the code:

    Warning: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, function ‘my_single_template’ not found or invalid function name.

    Any ideas as to why?

  2. All good but it breaks the default single.php.

    In other words this “On the other hand, if you filed a post in a category and didn’t create a template for that category, then WordPress will fallback to the default single.php template of your theme.” is not working.

    Any solution?

  3. Hi, I am trying to follow the step:
    Open the single.php file and then copy everything after the get_header() line.
    Under:
    Manually Creating Custom Single Post Templates in WordPress
    However, I don’t have any “get_header()” function in that file.

    • Your specific theme may have some unique coding, we would recommend reaching out to the support for your specific theme and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  4. Thanks for this. All my auto generated files (author, not found etc) are using my site template then putting a white section with white text on thepage. its also starting at the top of the page (so its white text on a white background mostly hidden behind a page header)

    I believe your article will help me sort this mess out.

    Thank you

    • Our article should help and if you reach out to your theme’s support they may be able to assist as well :)

      Admin

    • The templates should still be found under the top right section in the content panel

      Admin

  5. Am I correct in thinking that once you create a custom post template php file, for it to work as a template, you still need to code the php file, as there is no way to save a new post as a template. Is this correct?

    Thank you for your help.

    • That is correct, for changing the template unless you are using a page builder there is not a method to set it up without coding.

      Admin

  6. Hello Author,

    I followed the steps as you mentioned. I have CPT albums. single-albums.php copied same code to other file wpb-single-albums.php and added template code like /*
    * Template Name: custom template
    * Template Post Type: albums
    */
    and changed some required changes. But after selecting this template in edit post but it displays default one (single-albums.php) page.

    How can i fix this please help

    • You may want to check the current working template to ensure you have the post type correct

      Admin

  7. Thanks for your great post. I have 2 questions: Are single post templates the same with custom post type templates? If the are different, can you show me how to create a custom post type template?

  8. hello
    than you for the post
    i did everything and worked like i wanted.
    but i had a small problem
    after adding the code to function.php single.php stopped showing data
    is there anything i can do?

  9. Hi, Thanks for your Tutorial…

    As per your tutorial I have created a custom Post type. But now I am facing an issue with comment. While submitting the comment it redirected to search…
    Pls suggest a solution for this..
    Thanks in Advance

  10. Hello.

    I’m using this & enjoying it greatly! :)
    However, I’m finding the following warning in my error logs around this code:

    [warn] mod_fcgid: stderr: PHP Warning: Use of undefined constant SINGLE_PATH – assumed ‘SINGLE_PATH’ (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP)

    Any thoughts on how to fix that?

    Your snippet starts with “define(SINGLE_PATH,…” so I’m not sure what else to do here.

    • That error is saying it wants SINGLE_PATH to be surrounded by single quotes (”) which you can do for that warning :)

      Admin

  11. So I followed your steps and its working for the new category slug single page but not for the default single.php.

    How can I get this to work? Perhaps the default single.php path is wrong?

    Thanks!

  12. Hi,

    I am overthinking this but…if I want every blog post to look the same, do I just create the Layout (I use Divi theme), use the above first method (make a new version of single.php named properly) and choose that every time I want to create a post? That simple?

    Also, to add the custom CSS, do you add to the php file, and how? Where within it do you add it? How should it look? That’s the part that I haven’t yet found any reference on how to do. Can you do an example based on just having every blog post look one way?

    Thank

  13. Hi, thanks dfor great tutoriasl. It is working amazing but not for new categories, which doesnt have special template. Unfortunatley it is not getting the code from default single.php file. I will appreciate some help how to make it work.

  14. Hi, Thanks for the tutorial!

    I have a question. How would we apply custom CSS that would only effect the Posts pages?

    Thanks

  15. What if you want to make your new template the default for everything. So that anytime a post is created it is automatically selected as the default template?

  16. I bet there are plugins that you can use to do the job without the hassle of coding and child themes. It would’ve been great if you’d researched and shared that in this post too.

  17. I use your method but I can’t set custom css for this posts.
    for example in function.php when I check is_page_template(‘single-cat-news’) the statement not getting true and my custom css for this kind of post not running. what should I do in this case?

    • True.
      I’m also having this problem. The full-width template works well for post and pages but when it comes to custom post type, the CSS codes don’t work and goes back to normal page size without a sidebar.
      I’m having a hard time finding a solution to that problem.

  18. Need some additional help with this…

    Following the instructions on this page (along with the small modifications noted within my comments on 12/2/17 and 12/12/17), I’ve been able to get this working reliably.

    HOWEVER, I’ve run into the issue where using this method to call a custom template does not seem to get registered with the call of body_class classes.

    For example, if I set a custom template on a page (where I’m using WordPress’ “Template” drop-down within the “Page Attributes” sidebar in the editing view – then the body_classes that are output would include that template name.

    Such as:

    <body class="page-template-my_custom_template page page-id-2..."

    But, using this method, the body classes just return:

    <body class="page-template-default page page-id-2..."

    Any idea on how to ensure the body classes reflect a custom single post template?

    • Here’s the answer (for my theme, at least – your experience may vary).

      Adding the following to [b]functions.php[/b] did the trick for me:

      add_filter('body_class','add_category_to_single');
        function add_category_to_single($classes) {
          if (is_single() ) {
            global $post;
            foreach((get_the_category($post->ID)) as $category) {
              // add category slug to the $classes array, starting with 'category-'...
              $classes[] = "category-$category->category_nicename";
            }
          }
          // return the $classes array
          return $classes;
        }
      
  19. I created a single-cat-news.php file for “News”. My “News” category has two child: “Camera” and “Smartphone”. The post in “Smartphone” display in single-cat-news.php (S after N in alphabet), but the post in “Camera” display in default single.php (C before N in alphabet). I want post in “Camera” display in single-cat-news.php, what must I do? I selected both “News” and “Camera” for my post.

  20. Im viewing your Blog from last 2 years. I explored whole web to find this but i got the correct working code from here i just love your Blog keep it up :)

  21. When using this approach to specify a custom post template for a single post within a specific category, I was finding that WordPress was NOT defaulting back to single.php in instances where a single-cat-WHATEVER.php file didn’t exist for a specific category.

    I fixed this by adding the following line before the end of the function:

    else
    return SINGLE_PATH . '/single.php';

    So that, this code:


    /**
    * Checks for single template by category
    * Check by category slug and ID
    */
    foreach((array)get_the_category() as $cat) :

    if(file_exists(SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->slug . '.php'))
    return SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->slug . '.php';

    elseif(file_exists(SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->term_id . '.php'))
    return SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->term_id . '.php';

    endforeach;
    }

    Became this:


    /**
    * Checks for single template by category
    * Check by category slug and ID
    */
    foreach((array)get_the_category() as $cat) :

    if(file_exists(SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->slug . '.php'))
    return SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->slug . '.php';

    elseif(file_exists(SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->term_id . '.php'))
    return SINGLE_PATH . '/single-cat-' . $cat->term_id . '.php';

    else
    return SINGLE_PATH . '/single.php';

    endforeach;
    }

    Does this seem like the right approach? Or, is there something else that I may have done to break the default functionality?

  22. Thank you for this clear ‘how to.’

    One note: for those of us using a CHILD THEME, I’ve found that changing…

    define(SINGLE_PATH, TEMPLATEPATH . ‘/single’);

    to:

    define(SINGLE_PATH, get_stylesheet_directory() . ‘/single’);

    (within the “Define a constant path to our single template folder” section) ensures that child theme’s directory is checked for single templates instead of the parent theme’s directory.

    This may also be the reason that it’s not working for some of the other commenters above.

    Good luck, everyone!

    • Thank you so much for your help! I was wondering why it kept pointing me back to the parent theme instead of the child theme.

  23. I cannot get this to work for me, the template never shows in the post editor even after clearing my cache.

  24. Thank you for this article.
    I will want to know how I can further customise the layout of this single custom post template, like placing an image in the post before the content and in the footer.

  25. Hi,
    I need to change the order of 3 things in the post page which they are in the bottom of the article:
    1-a pagination plugin.
    2-an ad.
    3-social share icons.

    I want to make them in the following order (vertically):
    1-the ad
    2-the social share icons
    3-the pagination plugin

    How can I do that please?

  26. Thank you for your great tutorials. I am having trouble with this one. I added the code to my functions.php but I’m not getting the single post template. Do I need to make a call to the function or does WordPress do that? Is there some way I can debug the function?

    I just want posts of a particular category to display differently when you link to them.

  27. I wanted to make a custom post page where registered user of my site can able to post without using wordpress’s default post.php

  28. Hi! Thank you for this tutorial, but I’m quite new to web design and I started creating a whole wordpress theme. Everything works fine on my website, but I am trying to make it possible to add pages that all use a template I created, (like the page of a product in a catalogue) but I have no idea how to do that. I first tried to do so by creating a page template in which I put loops that display the content of an article or a page, such as its title, its text and the values of some custom fields. To do so I used a query_posts, but it requires to put the post’s or page’s id with “page_id=” or “p=”, which means the template is for one specific page, and I would have to create a template for each new page I add to this catalogue , and precising the id of the page/post manually in it, while what I wanted was to create a single template for all the pages of the catalogue…
    So while doing my research to find a solution, I found your article, and I tried to create a post using the new single post template, but no matter which template I select in the list, when I go to the url of the post it displays my home page… I’m probably doing everything wrong, and I’m not even sure I understood what a single post is and if it’s really what I need… I would really appreciate it if you could give me some clues on what I should do to solve my problem, or if there’s some tutorial somewhere that could help me…
    Thank you,

    Pierrick.

    • Hi Pierrick,

      We are not sure we understand your problem completely. However, if you just want to create a template to be used by any page then custom page template is the right approach. Since you want users to be able to see any page, this means you don’t need to use query_posts, your loop will begin with the standard

      <?php if ( have_posts() ) : while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
      //
      		// Post Content here
      		//
      	} // end while
      } // end if
      ?>
      

      Admin

  29. Hi,

    I have a local setup with WP 3.7.x and Template Post Type: post, page, product is not available.

    How can i create seperate caterory php files for each post category???

    single-{slug}.php
    category-{slug}.php

    all doesn’t seem to work

    Any tips?

  30. I have set this up to work with categories, however when I select a post that does not have a category it fails to pick up the default template and does not display the post. I suspect my theme may be at fault. How would I hard code the single.php in the parent directory as the default to use if no category template exists ?

    Works perfectly if I copy the single.php into the /single/single-cat-name.php file but I don’t want 40+ duplicate files.

    • first copy single.php to the /single folder

      then include this code right before the endforeach;

      else

      return SINGLE_PATH . ‘/single.php’;

  31. This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you for spelling this out so simply! It leaves me with a question though: I removed my sidebar but now there’s just an empty space where it used to be. How can I stretch the main content section to cover the entire space? Thanks again!

    • Hi Lyssie,

      That’s because your theme has defined content area width relative to the sidebar. You need to use inspect tool to find out which CSS class your conntent-area uses and then adjust by adding custom CSS to make it full width.

      .page-template-full-width .content-area {
          width: 100%;
          margin: 0px;
          border: 0px;
          padding: 0px;
      }
      
      .page-template-full-width .site {
      margin:0px;
      }
      

      Please see our guide on how to create full width page in wordpress

      Admin

      • Thanks for the fast response! This was very helpful! Now, if I see:
        div id=”primary” class=”content-area”>

        when I use the inspect tool, which is the class my content area uses?

        • Oops, that didn’t come out right.
          div id=”primary” class=”content-area”
          main id=”main” class=”site-main” role=”main”

          article id=”post-4773″ class=”post-4773 post type-post status-draft format-standard hentry category-travel-2″
          div id=”featured-image”
          /div

  32. That’s a great article and should helps a no-coder person like me. Customization of template would be something scary that you might break the theme altogether. Do you recommend make the custom template on a child theme or is it okay to do it right on the theme. Thanks a bunch.

    • Hi Joe,

      You will not be changing any of your theme’s existing files. Instead, you will be creating a new file. If anything goes wrong you can simply delete the template and your site will be back to normal.

      Yes creating a child theme is the recommended best practice.

      Admin

      • When I put the file in my child theme, I see it in the drop down box but it doesn’t actually apply.

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