How to Use WordPress do_shortcode

Extending site functionality is easy with the help of shortcodes. To place them on any part of your website, you can use the WordPress do_shortcode function. Here, we will show you how to apply it. So, let’s start by exploring the basics of WordPress shortcodes!

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What Exactly is Shortcode?

Shortcode is a snippet of code, which allows you to execute a function like displaying content. For example, if you create a slider using the MetaSlider plugin, you need to embed the plugin’s shortcode into your site to show the slider.

However, you can only embed it on the site’s body or widget. Otherwise, the content won’t show up. To solve this problem, you can use WordPress do_shortcode function. It allows you to embed the shortcode anywhere you want – including the header. Here’s how it looks:

<?php echo do_shortcode( '[your shortcode goes here]' ); ?>

To apply this function, you need to access and tweak the theme files. Don’t forget to make a full backup of your WordPress site and use the WordPress child theme beforehand to avoid data loss if something goes wrong.

How to Use WordPress do_shortcode?

Now, let’s try adding a shortcode using WordPress do_shortcode. For instance, let’s assume you want to include a slider in your theme’s header using MetaSlider – make sure you’ve installed the plugin. However, you don’t have any widget for the header area.

So, you need to embed the shortcode of the slider to the theme’s header file. To do so, use the following steps:

  1. Click on MetaSlider on the left sidebar of the WordPress admin dashboard.
  2. Copy the shortcode at the bottom right of the page.
    metaslider shortcode in wordpress dashboard

If you notice, the MetaSlider’s shortcode is already inside the WordPress do_shortcode function. You can then proceed with editing the theme’s header file by accessing your hosting provider’s file manager or an FTP client like FileZilla.

The following steps will show you how to edit theme files with Hostinger’s File manager – it can be applied in an FTP client as well:

  1. Access your hPanel and click on File Manager
  2. Go to the public_html folder and navigate to wp-contents -> themes.
  3. Find and access your currently active theme folder.
  4. Open header.php, then scroll down the page and put the do_shortcode function above the </header> tag.
    metaslider wordpress do_shortcode function in hostinger file manager
  5. Save and check how your website looks.
    result of wordpress do_shortcode function in display

Sometimes, editing theme core files can break your WordPress template. To solve it, you should alter the CSS to make your website look better. Check our tutorials on how to inspect CSS styles with Chrome and download CSS cheatsheet.


Now you’ve learned how to use shortcodes and display them using the WordPress do_shortcode function. Just put it into the theme’s file, and you’re ready to go! Don’t forget to backup your site before editing the file to avoid the risk of losing data.

Do you have any questions regarding the topic? Drop a comment below!

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The author

Emma Y.

Emma is a Content Production Team Lead at Hostinger. With 6+ years of content marketing experience and extensive IT knowledge, she takes care of content strategy and quality. She is also getting an additional degree in Cyber Security, loves yoga, and longboarding.