February 7, 2023

What Are WordPress Custom Post Types?

Every day, over 500 websites are created with the free version of WordPress.org. The popularity of WordPress is no mystery. It is by far the most powerful platform for website development for both the novice and the professional alike.

While you can create many things in WordPress traditionally, there are plenty of ways to expand and enhance your website design. One way you can achieve this is by leveraging WordPress Custom Post Types, or CPTs.

Why would you want to use a custom post type? There are a ton of best-use cases. Keep reading to discover how useful custom post types can be for your website.

What Are Custom Post Types?

Out of the box, WordPress supports 2 main post types – Pages and Posts.  For most websites, those 2 post types are sufficient for creating all of the pages of the website as well as the blog articles we’re all familiar with.

But what if you had information you wanted to display on your website that does not quite fit into the design or constraints of the main post types?

For example, how do you go about displaying a list of employees – each with a title, department, phone number, email address and social media links?

One way would be to create a separate page for each employee and then enter each piece of information on a separate line.

Depending on the number of records you have, this could become a nightmare, not only to input but to update and manage over time.

The other way is Custom Post Types.

With custom post types, you can go beyond pages and posts. You can create different content that is custom-tailored to the data you are dealing with. You can add new fields to represent your data, as well as new screens to streamline the data-entry process.

Examples in WordPress Development

Site managers and developers love custom post types because they can add new content and functionality without handling complex code each time you need something.

Some common custom post types that you might already be familiar with include content like calendars, events,  and testimonials.  Other very popular CPTs are WooCommerce Products.

You can also create your own CPT for your company’s employees, job posts, directory listings and restaurant menus.

Creating a custom post type allows you to also add new menu item, just like the ones for media, pages, and posts. It is a simple way to view your CPT separately. With a familiar admin interface, you can edit, remove, and add new records.


You can enhance your custom post type with taxonomies. Taxonomies are a way for you to group and classify content in WordPress.  For example, a standard post in WordPress has tags and categories, which are various types of taxonomies.

Using taxonomies makes grouping content a snap! For instance, if you create a new CPT for your company’s employees, you could create a taxonomy called “Departments”  with values such as sales, marketing, customer service, and accounting.

This way, in the post type, you can assign each employee to one or more departments. Then, you can pull this information out on your website in order to display your employees based on what department they are in.

Custom Fields

This is another superb way to enhance a custom post type.  Custom fields are essentially information that relates to each of your records.  Unlike taxonomies which are about the grouping and classification of records, custom fields are specific to each record.

In our example of company employees, the employee title, phone number and email are all examples of custom fields that are specific to that employee.

You can create various types of custom fields including text, images, checkboxes, dates, numbers and more.

Custom Post Types Plugins

There is no interface that is built for creating custom post types on a WordPress website. Therefore, there are two solutions to help you with your custom development. You can either create CPTs manually by using PHP code and specific WordPress functions designed for that purpose. Or, you can use one of the many reliable Custom Post Type plugins available for WordPress.

If you’re not familiar with WordPress platform development, using a plugin that does all the hard lifting for you is probably the better approach.

Custom Post Type UI

If you’re only looking to register new custom post types with minimal functionality, the Custom Post Type UI plugin is your safest bet.  With over 1 millions active installs, this is one of the most popular plugins for creating CPTs.  CPTUI provides a simple interface to help create and mange CPTs and their taxonomies.  However, if you are looking for advanced features, such as creating custom fields and a way to display the custom post type records on the frontend, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Advanced Custom Fields

Advanced Custom Fields (better known as ACF) is arguably the most popular WordPress plugin for adding custom fields to any post type.

Advanced Custom Fields proposes over 30 types of fields including textboxes, text areas, buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, true/false, file, date picker, and more.   The PRO version adds advanced field types such as repeater fields, ACF blocks, content layout manager, option pages and gallery fields.

Unfortunately, the ACF plugin lacks the functionality of creating the custom post types themselves.  You can, however, pair the versatility of the ACF plugin with the simplicity of the CPTUI plugin to develop the advanced custom post type functionality neither plugin can accomplish on their own.

Pods by Pods Framework Team

Where the ACF and CPTUI plugins fall short, the Pods plugin excels.

The Pods plugin is a complete solution for creating custom post types, taxonomies, and custom fields.  You can use Pod Templates to display your data anywhere on the frontend as well.

You can also extend and customize any post type, not just the custom post types you can create.  For example, you can add new fields to pages and posts if you needed to.

This is a powerful plugin that developers can utilize to add custom functionality to any WordPress website.  And the best part is the plugin is free!

WordPress Custom Post Types for Website Development

Now that you know all about WordPress custom post types and how they can make your website more dynamic, you can put this practice into reality. With custom post types, you achieve better organization, whether it is for your website front end or to use as a CMS internally.  Start leveraging the flexibility of CPTs in your WordPress development and instantly improve data entry and record management for your custom WordPress content.

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