How to Use jQuery in WordPress: 2 Methods (Manually and Using a Plugin)

WordPress developers use JavaScript and libraries to create interactive elements on a web page and simplify the coding process. Among the most popular options is jQuery.

What makes using jQuery in WordPress special is the extensive plugin ecosystem. Instead of writing a jQuery script from scratch, developers can save time by employing reusable code snippets to customize WordPress plugins and themes.

If you want to create engaging websites using jQuery, this article will guide you through the entire process. We’ll also discuss what jQuery is, its key advantages, and how to add jQuery to WordPress.

jQuery is a JavaScript library used for creating dynamic front-end components, such as rotating sliders. Its lightweight code enables web developers to manipulate HTML elements and validate data more efficiently.

Why Use jQuery

Apart from its plugin ecosystem, other reasons to use a jQuery library in WordPress are:

  • Beginner-friendly. Since it uses a simple and short text format, jQuery code is easy to read and write.
  • Compactness. A jQuery file is usually smaller than plain JavaScript, letting you perform the same tasks with fewer characters.
  • Cross-browser compatibility. Popular browsers that support jQuery include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
  • AJAX support. Developers can implement AJAX to build a responsive and user-friendly website.
  • Lower bandwidth usage. jQuery can execute animation effects directly on the user’s browser, resulting in lower bandwidth usage.

How to Use jQuery in WordPress

There are two ways of adding jQuery scripts to a WordPress site – manually or using a WordPress plugin.

Let’s start with the manual method.

Adding jQuery Manually

If you have experience with JavaScript and WordPress development, follow these steps:

1. Switch to the Compatibility Mode

Before you start adding your own jQuery scripts to WordPress, it’s crucial to understand jQuery’s compatibility mode.

By default, jQuery uses the $ sign as a shortcut:

$(document) .ready (function() {
$("button") .click (function () {

However, other JavaScript libraries on your site also implement the dollar sign in their syntax. To avoid conflicts, enter the compatibility mode by replacing the $ sign with jQuery.

Take a look at the following code:

jQuery(document) .ready (function() {
jQuery("button") .click (function () {

The only problem with this mode is, writing jQuery instead of the shortcut means incorporating more characters, leading to bloated scripts.

To solve this issue, pick a new variable name to replace the dollar sign. The most common one is $j.

Simply add this code at the top of your jQuery scripts:

var $j = jQuery.noConflict()

2. Make a Script File

After that, create a custom script file with the .js extension. Hostinger users can follow these steps:

Important! For beginners, we recommend creating a WordPress child theme first. This way, you can customize the styling, layout parameters, and scripts without changing the parent theme directory.

  1. Access hPanel Hosting Manage.
  2. On the left menu, select Files File Manager.
  3. Enter public_html wp-content.
The wp-content folder in hPanel's File Manager
  1. Open the themes folder and select one of the installed themes.
  2. On the left menu, click New Folder and name the folder js.
  3. Click New File to create a new .js file – for instance: new_script.js.
Newly created .js file in the theme's folder
  1. Add jQuery scripts to the file.
  2. Repeat the same steps to customize WordPress plugins.

Pro Tip

If you’re unsure how to code a script, our guide What Is jQuery? A Beginner’s Introduction to the jQuery Library explains its main features.

3. Add Code Into the functions.php File

Before adding inline scripts to WordPress, locate the functions.php file in the theme’s folder.

The functions.php file in the theme's folder

Open the file and add the following jQuery function at the top:

function add_my_scripts() {
    wp_enqueue_script( ‘new-script', get_template_directory_uri() . '/js/new_script.js', array( 'jquery' ), '1.0.0', true );
}
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'add_my_scripts' )

Make sure to replace new-script and new_script.js with the actual file names.

By inserting the wp_enqueue_script function into the PHP code, users can add a custom script and inform WordPress that it relies on jQuery.

It also helps WordPress locate the script file and customize the theme based on your jQuery scripts.

Adding jQuery via a WordPress Plugin

If adding scripts to WordPress manually is too technical for you, we recommend using WordPress jQuery plugins.

Here’s how:

1. Pick a Plugin

WordPress offers various plugins to create interactive websites with jQuery. Here are our top picks for different use cases:

  • jQuery Updater. While jQuery comes pre-loaded with WordPress, the platform often uses an outdated version. jQuery Updater ensures that your site automatically installs the latest version of this JavaScript library.
  • Advanced Custom Fields. This tool is suitable for adding custom fields to posts and pages. Some of its jQuery-based fields include Color Picker, Google Map, Date Picker, and Time Picker.
  • jQuery Validation For Contact Form 7. This plugin lets you display error messages when users enter invalid data on Contact Form 7. You can create validation rules for URLs, dates, credit cards, and phone numbers.
  • jQuery Post Splitter. Compatible with most WordPress themes, this plugin lets you split posts and pages into sliders.

Although installing these plugins simplifies the website designing process, you still need a basic knowledge of JavaScript and jQuery libraries to use them.

Conclusion

Knowing how to use jQuery in WordPress is crucial for any site owners and developers.

jQuery offers a lightweight solution to create interactive elements, edit pages, and customize the overall look of a WordPress website.

To add jQuery scripts manually, switch to its compatibility mode, create a script file, and customize the functions.php file in your theme’s folder.

For beginners, WordPress jQuery plugins like Advanced Custom Fields will help with the process.

We hope this article will help you develop a more unique and engaging website. Good luck.

Author
The author

Brian F.

Brian is a word addict and SEO fanatic that loves telling tech and digital marketing stories. Driven by his devotion to quality, he constantly looks for better ways to deliver content that inspires people.