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How to Easily Display Code on Your WordPress Site

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Do you want to display code in your WordPress blog posts?

If you try to add code like regular text, then WordPress will not display it correctly. WordPress runs your content through several cleanup filters each time you save a post. These filters are there to make sure someone does not inject code via a post editor to hack your website.

In this article, we will show you the proper ways to easily display code on your WordPress site. We will show you different methods, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

How to easily display code in WordPress posts

Why Display Code on a WordPress Website?

If you are writing blog posts on technical topics or creating documentation for your products, then showing code snippets is really useful. Your users can simply copy the piece of code and add it to their website.

However, displaying code on a WordPress website is not that straightforward.

WordPress will interpret the snippets as functional code and try to implement it on your website instead of displaying it as text. It would also not show the code accurately, which would lead to errors when users enter them on their website.

Besides, WordPress uses multiple filters as security measures. It filters the content to prevent hackers from injecting malicious code into the content editor and hacking your website.

That said, there are different ways you can show code in WordPress. You can click the links below to jump ahead to your preferred section:

Method 1. Display Code Using The Default Editor in WordPress

This method is recommended for beginners and users who don’t need to display code very often.

Simply edit the blog post or page where you want to display the code. On the WordPress content editor screen, add a new Code block to your post.

Add code block to your WordPress posts

You can now enter the code snippet in the text area of the block.

The code block will show a preview of your code.

Add code to your blog post

After that, you can save your blog post and preview it to see the code block in action.

Once you are satisfied with the appearance of your code, go ahead and publish your blog post.

PHP code displayed in WordPress

Depending on your WordPress theme, the code block may look different on your website.

Method 2. Display Code in WordPress Using a Plugin

For this method, we will be using a WordPress plugin to display code in your blog posts. This method is recommended for users who often display code in their articles.

It gives you the following advantages over the default code block:

  • It allows you to easily display any code in any programming language.
  • It displays the code with syntax highlighting and line numbers.
  • Your users can easily study the code and copy it.

First, you need to install and activate the SyntaxHighlighter Evolved plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you can go ahead and edit the blog post where you want to display the code. On the post edit screen, add the ‘SyntaxHighlighter Code’ block to your post.

SyntaxHighlighter code block

You will now see a new code block in the post editor where you can enter your code.

After adding the code, you need to select the block settings from the right column.

Change Syntax Highlighter code settings

First, you need to select the language for your code, like PHP, CSS, Java, etc. After that, you can turn off line numbers, provide the first line number, highlight any line you want, and turn off the feature to make links clickable.

Once you are done, save your post and click on the preview button to see it in action.

Code displayed with syntax highlighting

The plugin comes with a number of color schemes and themes.

To change the color theme, you need to visit the Settings » SyntaxHighlighter page.

SyntaxHighlighter settings

From the settings page, you can select a color theme and change SyntaxHighlighter settings.

You can save your settings to see a preview of the code block at the bottom of the page.

Code block preview

Using SyntaxHighlighter with Classic Editor

If you are still using the old classic WordPress editor, then here is how you would use the SyntaxHighlighter plugin to add code to your WordPress blog posts.

Simply wrap your code around square brackets with the language name. For example, if you are going to add PHP code, then you will add it like this:

private function get_time_tags() {
        $time = get_the_time('d M, Y');
        return $time;

Similarly, if you want to add an HTML code, then you will wrap it around the HTML shortcode like this:

<a href="">A sample link</a>

Method 3. Display Code in WordPress Manually (No Plugin or Block)

This method is for advanced users because it requires more work and does not always work as intended.

It is suitable for users who are still using the old Classic editor and want to display code without using a plugin.

First, you need to pass your code through an online HTML entities encoder tool. It will change your code markup to HTML entities, which will allow you to add the code and bypass the WordPress cleanup filters.

Now copy and paste your code into the text editor and wrap it around <pre> and <code> tags.

Adding code manually in classic editor

Your code would look like this:

&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;/home.html&quot;&gt;This is a sample link&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

You can now save your post and preview the code in action.

Your browser will convert the HTML entities, and users will be able to see and copy the correct code.

Manually displaying code in WordPress

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily display code on your WordPress site. You may also want to see our ultimate list of the most wanted WordPress tips, tricks, and hacks and how to increase your blog traffic.

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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

34 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. Dennis Muthomi says

    I think the plugin is great for its job, but…

    one feature I’d love to see added is a copy button.

    Currently, users have to manually highlight and copy the full code block, which can be tedious, especially for longer snippets.
    A single-click copy option would tremendously improve the user experience.
    That way, readers could easily grab the code without accidentally missing any part of it when they highlight the code.

  3. Jiří Vaněk says

    Is there a possibility to have a copy code button in the plugin so that the user does not have to copy the code to the clipboard manually?

      • Jiří Vaněk says

        Thank you for answer. This is a great shame, because it makes a lot of work easier. Sometimes it happens that even line numbers are copied into the code using the manual method. Elementor has a widget for the code that the copy button has and it’s great. I will follow the update of the article if necessary.

  4. Ravish says

    Hi, first of all, Thanks for this blog.

    I want to add codes for any problem in different languages (e.g. Python and C++). How can we do that?

  5. Nimesh says

    This is great.
    If it wasn’t for this, I would’ve used a separate plugin for input code snippets.
    I’m still using WordPress’s classic editor and will add the code snippets to my posts as mentioned in this.
    Thank You for this amazing share!

  6. Induwara says

    This article is very useful. I installed the plugin and it works well. There’s a problem with my theme that when I put a code from the block editor the theme displays it with the background color so it’s impossible to see the code. I’m a big fan of WpBegginer!

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Glad our guide was helpful, you should be able to reach out to your theme for assistance with that issue.


    • WPBeginner Support says

      You could place the code as we have in this article and note beneath it where it came from Github. There may be plugin options as well for embedding the code directly


    • WPBeginner Support says

      It is not required but for sites that wish to show code to their users, these are some methods they can use.


  7. Christian says

    There’s a typo on the word ‘Syntax’…no wonder I was getting no results when I copied paste the text on WordPress plugin search! ;-)

    Synatx Highlighter Evolved plugin

  8. Dave Mackey says

    I think there is a problem with Syntax Highlighter Evolved in latest versions of WordPress. I, and others, are having it incorrectly display html entities. See support forums for more.

  9. John D says

    Personally, I use WP-GeSHi-Highlight, which uses the standard GeSHi codes. I think I used a predecessor of the plugin featured here, but I had difficulty finding the language codes.

    • Thomas A. Reinert says

      I do absolutely agree. They´re pretty well formatted and syntax-highlighted, they´re forkable and they´re versionable too. So WP GIST is the way to go for me at least..

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