Function and usage of get_category_template() in wordpress


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    The get_category_template() function in WordPress is used to retrieve the path of the category template file used in the current or parent theme. This function plays a key role in the WordPress template hierarchy, which is a system that WordPress uses to choose which template file to use for different kinds of content.

    Function Signature:

    get_category_template(): string


    • Retrieves the Path of the Category Template: It looks for the appropriate category template file in the current or parent theme's directory.

    Description and Hierarchy:

    The function follows a specific hierarchy to determine which template file to use for a given category page. This hierarchy is as follows:

    1. category-{slug}.php: First, it looks for a template file named after the category's slug. For example, if the category slug is 'news', it will look for 'category-news.php'.
    2. category-{id}.php: If the slug-specific template is not found, it searches for a template file named after the category's ID. For instance, if the category ID is 2, it will look for 'category-2.php'.
    3. category.php: As a fallback, if neither of the above files is found, it defaults to 'category.php'.

    Template Hierarchy and Filters:

    • Filterable Hierarchy and Path: The template hierarchy ($type_template_hierarchy) and the template path ($type_template) for this function are filterable. This means developers can modify which template files are checked and in what order, using the dynamic hooks where $type is ‘category’.

    Related Functions:

    • get_query_template(): This function is closely related to get_category_template(). get_query_template() is used for retrieving the path to various query-based templates, including the category template.

    Return Value:

    • Type: string
    • Description: It returns the full path to the category template file that is being used.

    Example Usage:

    In a WordPress theme, you might use get_category_template() to include the correct category template file dynamically. For example:

    $template_path = get_category_template();
    if ( $template_path ) {
        include( $template_path );

    This code snippet retrieves the path to the appropriate category template file and includes it in the WordPress loop. This is useful for theme developers who want to ensure that their theme correctly displays content for various categories, adhering to the design and structure defined in the respective template files.

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