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How to Add Sticky Posts in WordPress Custom Post Type Archives

Recently one of our users asked us if it was possible to add sticky posts to custom post type archives. By default, WordPress has the sticky functionality available for posts, but not for other post types. In this article we will show you how to add sticky posts in WordPress custom post type archives. Before we move forward, you would probably want to learn how to create custom post types in WordPress.

Adding Sticky Posts in Custom Post Types

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Sticky Custom Post Types plugin. After activating the plugin, go to Settings » Reading and scroll down to the section Sticky Custom Post Types. Next, you need to choose the custom post types where you want Stick This option to be enabled.

Enabling sticky posts for custom post types

Now what we have done here is that we have added sticky posts feature to our custom post types. Sticky posts in custom post types will be displayed on the front page just like regular sticky posts.

The problem is that by default WordPress only shows sticky posts on the home page. It does not show sticky posts on archive pages.

Displaying Sticky Posts in Custom Post Type Archives

Lets assume that you have a custom post type for Movie Reviews with sticky posts enabled using the plugin we have mentioned above. Now you want your sticky posts in movie reviews post types to be displayed differently and on top of non-sticky regular movie reviews. Like this:

Showing a sticky post on a custom post type archive page

To achieve this goal, first thing you need is an archive template for your custom post type like this: archive-post-type.php. Learn how to create custom post type archive page. For example, if you have a custom post type movie-reviews then your archive page template should be archive-movie-reviews.php. If you do not have a template, create one. Simply copy the contents of archive.php in your theme’s directory and paste them into a new file archive-your-post-type.php.

The next step is to add this code in your theme’s functions.php file:

function wpb_cpt_sticky_at_top( $posts ) {
    // apply it on the archives only
    if ( is_main_query() && is_post_type_archive() ) {
        global $wp_query;
        $sticky_posts = get_option( 'sticky_posts' );
        $num_posts = count( $posts );
        $sticky_offset = 0;
        // Find the sticky posts
        for ($i = 0; $i < $num_posts; $i++) {
            // Put sticky posts at the top of the posts array
            if ( in_array( $posts[$i]->ID, $sticky_posts ) ) {
                $sticky_post = $posts[$i];
                // Remove sticky from current position
                array_splice( $posts, $i, 1 );
                // Move to front, after other stickies
                array_splice( $posts, $sticky_offset, 0, array($sticky_post) );
                // Remove post from sticky posts array
                $offset = array_search($sticky_post->ID, $sticky_posts);
                unset( $sticky_posts[$offset] );
        // Look for more sticky posts if needed
        if ( !empty( $sticky_posts) ) {
            $stickies = get_posts( array(
                'post__in' => $sticky_posts,
                'post_type' => $wp_query->query_vars['post_type'],
                'post_status' => 'publish',
                'nopaging' => true
            ) );
            foreach ( $stickies as $sticky_post ) {
                array_splice( $posts, $sticky_offset, 0, array( $sticky_post ) );
    return $posts;
add_filter( 'the_posts', 'wpb_cpt_sticky_at_top' );

// Add sticky class in article title to style sticky posts differently

function cpt_sticky_class($classes) {
			if ( is_sticky() ) : 
			$classes[] = 'sticky';
	        return $classes;
		return $classes;
	add_filter('post_class', 'cpt_sticky_class');

The above code would move your sticky posts to the top, and if your theme is using post_class() function, then it would add sticky in the post class.

You can style your sticky posts by using .sticky class in your stylesheet. Example:

.sticky { 
background-position:right top;

Styling sticky posts

We hope this article helped you add sticky posts in custom post type archives. For questions and feedback please leave a comment below.

Source: Tareq Hasan

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11 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Hi,

    I’m banging my head right now….
    I’m using this plugin, it works fine, I can see it in the admin, and on the data base, I can see it update the sticky_posts in wp_options. But, when I try to use ‘post__not_in’ => get_option(‘sticky_posts’), it doesn’t filter any thing.
    So I try to var_dump(get_option(‘sticky_posts’)), and all I get is the id of the ‘normal post’, not the full list of id who I can see are in the wp_options/sticky_posts.

    Which mean if I try to use is_stiky in my loop, it only work in ‘normal’ post, not in CPT, which is logic, since get_option(‘sticky_posts’) is not working properly…. Any idea how I can fix that ? it’s driving me crazy :D

  2. You can use this Sticky Post Switch Plugin
    It also enables the featuere for custom post types

  3. This works good however it makes it sticky on every page of a paginated archive. Is this how the built-in sticky functionality for standard posts work too?

  4. How could i set this up to work with a custom taxonomy archive page?
    I’ve tried adding ‘is_tax’ and ‘is_category’ instead of the is_post_type_archive() on line 4 of your function but it just breaks the page.

    I’m missing something obviously but can’t seem to find it.
    Any ideas?

  5. Thanks. Is it possible to adapt this tutorial to display sticky posts onto a specialized page template, rather than on the archives page? If so how might I accomplish this?

    • if the custom taxonomy is displaying post types with sticky posts support, then you can display it in the same manner. Instead of archive-post-type.php template, make changes in taxonomy-custom-taxonomy.php template.


  6. Thanks. This is useful.
    But if it’s possible not using a plugin to add sticky functionality to custom post types?
    Can you share the snippet?

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