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How to Edit WordPress Code – HTML, CSS, PHP (Easy Guide)

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Site management is a tricky business which a normal webmaster doesn’t want to bother with. That’s why site hosting solutions prevail in the market. Site management systems like WordPress take up the tricky business to themselves and leave you with the main business.

Normally, WordPress comes with a predefined code and settings. Most of the website owners don’t bother making any changes, however, there always comes a time when you desire hitting the next level. At this stage, you might want to make changes in the basic infrastructure to mould it better to your needs.

In order to accomplish this, you need to learn how to
edit WordPress code. This is the topic of today’s article. We’ll school you on how to make changes in the code to get what you want. You can use either of these methods:

edit wp code


  •         Edit Your WordPress Source Code via FTP (In 4 Steps)
  •         Edit Your WordPress CSS
  •         Edit Your WordPress JavaScript Files
  •         Edit Your WordPress Source Code via the Theme Editor
  •         Edit Your WordPress Theme Without Coding

If you are familiar with the basics and came here to know about a specific method, you can simply navigate to that from the sequence given above. Let’s get on the drill.

The Benefits of Editing Your WordPress Code

Cutting some extra slack is always beneficial and desirable. When it comes to website management, WordPress does a hell of a job. But there comes a time you want to make your site more personalized.

For this reason, the knowledge of how to
edit WordPress code is always beneficial. It can help you be better in charge of your content and better optimize your site for achieving desired outcomes.

Moreover, if you have the knowledge of how the code works, you can better troubleshoot during problems with the hosting. You can also customize your website better according to your liking.

Sometimes, editing the code is the only option for getting the desired results. Consider the situation when you want to add advanced features in your theme or when you want to add HTML effects on your blog posts such as striking highlighted text bodies.

The benefits of being able to alter your WordPress code are numerous, however, you need to do it correctly. Editing the code wrongly can result in bad situations as well so think well before doing it.

When it comes to coding, there are little to no flexibilities. It always has to be pitch perfect in order to work. Even the slightest of discrepancies can result in failure of code to run.

This is a serious task which needs to be handled by serious people. You have to follow the steps very efficiently knowing very well what your main objective is. You also need to have a clear picture of what tools you are going to implement and in how much time?

Are you doing this just for the purpose of learning or do you want to make genuine changes in website customization?

If you are just playing around with code for learning purposes, it is best that you make a child theme for starters. The benefit to this is that the changes in code are not directly implemented on your website.

As a result, your website will not get affected if you mess up the code. You can also preview the results of your code for better results.

You should only engage with the section you want to learn and not make changes in unwanted areas. By doing this, you’ll both waste time and increase the risk domain.

Before starting, you need to have an HTML editor for this task. You can edit the code by using this tool. There are several options available such as notepad ++ for Windows or Text Wrangler if you are a Mac user.

You will also need to get an FTP client established and a modern search engine for this task. You also need to decide the amount of time you can invest in the task as the results will greatly vary depending upon that.

If you don’t have enough time for the task, you can hire a professional and outsource this task as well. This will make things easy for you.

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Getting Started with Editing the Source Code of Your WordPress Theme

If you are not previously aware, WordPress uses four different computer programming languages for its source code, and they are HTML, JavaScript, CSS and PHP.

These are different programming languages having some fundamental differences. They mainly differ in syntax. Each language comes with its own code and serves different purposes.

For starters, HTML is responsible for content structure and CSS is related to the appearance. For certain functions, you will need specific languages.

Let’s go deeper into the subject for further understanding:

HTML or HyperText Markup Language controls the structure of content. If you can manage to alter the HTML code, you can make any type of changes you want in your content. These include adding content such as text, images, videos and whatnot.

For this task, you’ll normally need a WordPress editor. There are two kinds in general, visual and text. Right now, we are concerned with the text editor. In a
classic editor, you can switch between them very easily as they are located in parallel.

However, the same is not the case when it comes to the latest
Gutenberg Editor:

 In that, you can use either of the two paths:

  •         Click the three-dot menu button on each block.
  •         Click on the three-dot menu on the upper left side for editing the whole post.

However, in order to edit WordPress code in the homepage, you will need a different method. For this, you will add a custom HTML in the widget areas. Follow Appearance > Widget.

From there, you can either edit HTML of the available widgets or add more from the custom HTML menu. In order to do that, you will choose the targeted widget first, make changes and then save it:

Alternatively, you can also put new widgets using the custom HTML menu. The options can vary based on your active theme.

This is one of the powerful methods of going around with the issue however this solution is not prescribed. Reason being that it gets too tricky at times.

The method is not very secure and can result in bad things for your website if mishandled. But if you feel confident with your coding skill set and you think you can do it, we can help you.

  •         First of all, you will have to establish an FTP credential login.
  •         After that, open the FTP client and enter details of the FTP host, username and password.
  •         Once you manage to connect, you will have direct access to WordPress source code.
  •         After that you can select the files you wish to edit and right-click on it. Select the edit option from the drop-down and save changes after you            are finished.

This section is dedicated to the case where you only want to edit your WordPress CSS or add custom CSS to your WordPress. For this, you don’t need to apply any special code editors or SFTP.

You will only need to access the WordPress customizer for this. With this option, you can look at the results before they are implemented which is a great plus point.

In your WordPress dashboard, go to
Appearance> Customize:

After that, look for additional CSS in the WordPress customizer:

Now you are having access to a code editor where you can add the required CSS. As you add the CSS, you can preview the changes you made in the live CSS preview:

In your WordPress layout, there will be a file that contains the code for the JavaScript files. Without it, you can’t access the files. Most of the themes in WordPress are shipped with a couple of JavaScript files which may be hosted elsewhere and ‘called’ by code in your header.php, footer.php or other template files.

If you’re writing your own JavaScript, you will need access to your work within WordPress. There, you can make files and edit using the Theme Editor. These files have a .js extension.

wordpress edit

If you are adding the JavaScript using a third-party plugin, then you are basically summoning an external file hosting in a remote location. When you have to use that file, you will simply need to call it.

You can use the following script in order to make the call to the file:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”https://mk0wpbuffsv2lxgilx63.kinstacdn.com/scripts/myJavaScript.js”></script>

The best place in order to call the Java file is basically dependent upon how you want to use the script. You can implement it on your site multiple times or once.

You might be aware of the fact that WordPress ships with a built-in editor that makes you able to modify files online. You will use the Theme Editor in order to access all types of files that make up the development part of your website. They include HTML, JavaScript, CSS and PHP.

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If your WordPress is working and you can access backend, the source code can be located as Appearance> Theme Editor:

You can change anything in design and structure here as you like:

However, if you are using multiple themes or are using an adult theme combination, you can switch between themes from the upper-right corner of the editor.

In order to select specific theme files for editing:

The exact files available here will be based on the theme you are using. However, you should find these:

  •         style.css is your stylesheet. It has design-related items such as your theme’s fonts and colors.
  •         functions.php contains the PHP code which is used in altering WordPress’ default features.

You must save the changes you have made using the WordPress Theme Editor. In order to do so, you will need to click on the Update File button at the bottom of the screen.

If there are errors in your codes, WordPress will not allow you to save changes. This gives the Theme Editor an edge over FTP i.e. Theme Editor is safer.

WordPress is an open-source platform for managing websites. This makes the hosting solution very flexible and strong. However, for people not very fond of coding, it can become weary sometimes.

To your luck, you can still make a lot of changes to your WordPress if you are not interested in coding. In this section, we are going to discuss the method of editing which does not require any coding from the webmaster.

It should be obvious that the changes you are able to make are far less in scale than those made through custom coding. Still, you can do a lot with the WordPress customizer. You need to locate as
Appearance> Customize:

In this section, you will get a guided map of customizing the WordPress theme you have chosen. You can start with the high-level items under the Site Identity. This enables you to change the website’s colours, menus, homepage etc.

You can also use additional plugins for more editing options:


There are many tools and plugins that can help you in customizing the appearance of your website. For a visual style editing, you can use Yellow pencil which is a freemium plugin with great options.

visual style editor

This makes easy design changes. You can also preview your changes by this method. You can also consider the Microthemer WordPress CSS Editor.

This is a live CSS editor for WordPress. You can customize using this plugin with great accuracy and ease. If you want to make some major changes other than style and appearance, you can go for Ultimate Tweaker


WordPress plugins can help you with many tasks on the WordPress layout. However, sometimes coding becomes inevitable. This post is designed to help you in that case and after reading through it, you should have got a great deal of knowledge.

The WordPress Theme Editor and FTP are the best ways to go about whilst editing your WordPress applications code.In addition, The Theme Editor is the safer and recommended option.

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