A widget is a small block of content that performs a specific function and can be added to certain areas of a WordPress website such as sidebars, footers, or other widgetized areas. Widgets are used to display information or functionality that is not part of the main content of the website.


Widgets were introduced in WordPress 2.2 and have since become an integral part of WordPress websites. They allow users to easily add features and functionality to their site without having to write any code. Widgets are typically drag-and-drop elements that can be rearranged within their designated widget areas.

Types of Widgets

There are many types of widgets available for use on WordPress websites, including:

  • Navigation menus
  • Search bars
  • Lists of categories
  • Tag clouds
  • Recent posts
  • Social media icons
  • Custom HTML code

Advanced users can also create their own custom widgets using PHP code.

Adding Widgets

Adding widgets in WordPress is simple and straightforward. Users can access the widget settings by navigating to Appearance > Widgets in the WordPress dashboard. From there, they can drag and drop widgets into the desired widget area and configure them according to their needs.

Alternatively, widgets can be managed from the WordPress Customizer, where users can see a live preview of their changes.

Widgets and Gutenberg

With the introduction of Gutenberg and full-site editing, there has been some speculation that widgets might be deprecated. The block editor allows users to create custom blocks that can perform many of the same functions as widgets, such as displaying a list of recent posts or social media icons.

However, widgets are unlikely to be fully deprecated any time soon because WordPress prioritizes backward-compatibility. Many websites still rely heavily on widgets, and removing them would cause significant compatibility issues for those sites.

Furthermore, while the block editor can replicate many widget functions, there are still some things that widgets do better. For example, widgets can be easily added to specific widget areas like sidebars or footers without having to create a custom block for each one.