Want more control over your content? A WordPress custom fields plugin will do just that by allowing you to create and manage custom fields more easily.
Custom fields can be assigned to a post or page to provide arbitrary extra information known as metadata. You can add these manually in the Gutenberg editor — but this built-in functionality is limited to text fields and requires you to edit theme files. A plugin, on the other hand, can help you add a whole range of fields including text, image upload, number, dropdown, and checkboxes or to display custom fields without having to code.
Let’s take a closer look at this type of WordPress plugin below.
What are WordPress custom fields plugins?
WordPress custom fields plugins are tools that help you quickly and easily add and manage custom fields so you can enrich your posts, pages, forms, and other parts of your site with structured data also known as metadata.
You can add custom fields manually via the Gutenberg editor. Once you enable custom fields in your preferences, you can simply add key/value pairs, in which the key is the name of the metadata element and the value is the information that will appear in the metadata list on the post.
This process is simple enough, but to display this metadata on a post or page, you’ll have to edit your theme files. Editing theme files is always risky — if you add code in the wrong place or accidentally delete something, you could break a part of your site.
It’s also possible to use these default custom fields to achieve more complex actions, like to store an expiration date for a post or to style them to match your branding, but that requires extra coding. For a deep dive into this manual process, check out this video by eInstructor:
WordPress custom fields plugin will provide more flexibility and ease of use. Let’s check out some of your best options below.
Best WordPress Custom Fields Plugins
- Advanced Custom Fields
- Meta Box
- Checkout Field Editor (Checkout Manager) for WooCommerce
- Custom Field Suite
- WordPress Creation Kit
- Smart Custom Fields
- Woocommerce Custom Product Addons
Best for: WordPress developers
Advanced Custom Fields is a premium plugin designed to enable WordPress developers to have more control over their custom field data. With this plugin, users can quickly and easily add range, button group, checkbox, select, true/false, color picker, date picker, time picker, link, and more field types all over their WordPress dashboard, including to posts, users, taxonomy terms, media, comments and custom options pages. They can then display the custom field values in any theme template file using functions like get_field().
Advanced Custom Fields has even more advanced features for re-using, customizing, and managing your custom fields, which you can learn about in our ultimate guide.
- 30+ field types
- Developer-friendly functions to display custom fields in any theme template file
Pricing: Free version available. Premium plans start at $49 per year.
Best for: Controlling visibility of custom fields
Pods is a free plugin designed to enable you to customize your content in one place. With this plugin, you can not only create custom content types and settings pages — you can also create custom fields like color pickers and radio buttons and add them to any content type. These can be added via blocks, shortcodes, widgets, or templates known as “Pod Templates.”
You can also control the visibility of these fields by user role or responsibility. That way, only trusted users can access and use these custom fields.
- 26 field types
- Visibility feature allows users to restrict custom fields to admins only or by role or responsibility
3. Meta Box
Best for: Generating and adding custom fields without coding
Meta Box is a premium plugin customizing your posts, pages, taxonomies, settings pages, and other parts of your website with meta boxes and custom fields. It supports over 40 field types, including date pickers, Google Map embeds, and dropdown menus.
What sets Meta Box apart from other WordPress custom fields plugin is its Online Generator. With this feature, you choose your field options and the code will automatically be generated. All you need to do is copy and paste it into the functions.php file of your child theme.
- 40+ field types
- Online Generator automatically generates code for you to copy and paste to display custom fields anywhere on your site
Pricing: Free version available. Premium plans start at $149 per year.
Best for: Adding custom fields to WooCommerce checkout pages
Checkout Field Editor is a premium plugin that enables you to add up to 13 custom field types to your WooCommerce checkout pages. You can also edit, hide, rearrange, and delete the default WooCommerce checkout fields. You can customize both the default and custom fields by changing the label name, styling them wtih CSS classes, or adding a field description, placeholder, validations, label class, input class, and much more.
You can also set up conditional rules that control when and where these fields appear on checkout pages. They can be displayed based on user roles, product specifications, the shopper’s cart details, or the field values entered.
- 17 field types
- Customization options, including conditional rules, for displaying custom fields
Pricing: Free version available. Premium version starts at $49.
Best for: Enhancing built-in functionality to add more custom field types
Custom Field Suite is a simple, free plugin for enhancing the built-in functionality of WordPress custom fields. If you want to add more than text fields, you can use Custom Field Suite to add textarea, WYSIWYG, date, color, True / False, select, file upload, relationship, term, user, loop (repeatable fields), hyperlink, and tab (group fields). To display custom fields, you still have to use the get method in your template files.
There are some placement rules you can set to control where a group of custom fields appear. To do more, like create a set of sub fields which can be repeated or clone an existing field or field group, you’ll have to use a premium plugin like ACF.
- 14 field types
- Placement rules for controlling where field groups appear
Best for: Creating a template for custom fields that can be reused
WordPress Creation Kit is a premium plugin that bundles three tools for creating and maintaining custom post types, custom taxonomies, and custom fields.
What makes WCK unique is its Swift Templates module, which simplifies the process of creating and displaying custom fields on your site. Using the Custom Fields Creator, you can create a new field group by simply filling in some text and select fields. This will be your “Swift Template.” Then go to a page, post, or custom post type, fill in this field group, and check the box that says “use template on this post.” Finally, you’ll have to add some HTML to display the custom fields on the front-end of your site.
- 18 field types
- Swift Templates module makes it easy to display a custom field group that repeats
Pricing: Free version available. Premium plans starts at $54 per year.
Best for: Creating custom fields and field groups that repeat
Smart Custom Fields is another simple, free plugin for extending the built-in functionality of WordPress custom fields. With this plugin, you can add text fields as well as textarea, WYSIWYG, date picker, date / time picker, color picker, select, radio, checkbox, image, file, related posts, related terms, boolean, and message fields.
To display all custom fields or custom fields of a particular group, user, or other criteria, you can use get methods in your template files.
Note: This plugin is written in Japanese but can be translated using GlotPress.
- 15 field types
- Checkbox for making custom fields and field groups into repeater fields
Best for: Adding custom fields to WooCommerce product pages
WooCommerce Custom Product Addons is a premium plugin for adding over 20 custom fields to WooCommerce product pages. This can help you provide or collect important purchase information from customers, like requests for engraved text or custom pricing.
Supported field types include a custom price formula, color picker, google map place selector, and help text.
- 22+ field types
- Field types are highly configurable with drag-and-drop builder
Pricing: Free version available. Premium version starts at $39.
Choosing Your WordPress Custom Fields Plugin
If you’re looking for more control over your custom field data and WordPress edit screens, then try one of the WordPress custom fields plugin above. A plugin will help you create more types of custom fields, customize them, and manage them easier than WordPress’s built-in functionality.
Originally published Mar 9, 2022 7:00:00 AM, updated March 11 2022