WordPress “Widgets” not showing? What to do?

What is a widget in WordPress?

A widget is a block of content that adds extra functionality to certain places of your website like the sidebar, and footer, which is designated programmatically from the active theme.

If you have visited a website, you would have certainly seen certain links on the sidebar, a subscription form, a brief about us in the footer, a contact number in the header, and very rarely ads just above the navigation on the header, or any other pre-designated area of the website.

You might also see the stunning modern homepage slider designs, but they are not a part of widgets.

WordPress Widget populating important information on the sidebar, courtesy – ScanJunction.com

All this can be done without even writing a single line of code. Quite surprised? That is the power of WordPress.

This is only to make the creation of the website design and placing the content easy. Apart from themes, many plugins add widgets to elaborate on the functionalities they support.

Some of the widgets that you can add to your websites are Categories, Forms, Calendars, Social Icons, etc. The most commonly used place for widgets is the sidebar. Let us see how to add a widget to the sidebar in the latest version of WordPress, which is 6.0.1.

How do I add a widget to the sidebar in WordPress?

To add a sidebar to the WordPress instance, the first thing you need to do is to go to the widget area.

To go to the widget area, you need to look for “Appearance” in the left sidebar of the Admin Dashboard. Of course, you should be logged in as an Administrator.

Yes, you guessed it right! You need to select the “Widgets” from there. There you go! This will bring you to the Widgets area where you can see a popup, that says “Welcome to block Widgets”.

You can select the next link in the bottom right corner of the popup, or you can close the popup and follow the instruction that we going to write here.

Now what you will see is a separate list of different widgets that your theme supports. These widgets are displayed in the form of accordions that you can expand or contract using the down and up arrows that will be displayed on the extreme right of the accordion.

Widget Area displaying the list of widgets in the form of accordions

Clicking on the second red box where you can see a down arrow, expands the accordion showing us what is inside the widget.

This is what you see when you click on the down arrow on the accordion.

The expanded footer widget which is empty

The above widget is a footer widget area that, when expanded is not showing anything. Since the widget is empty, it is showing a “+” mark.

You can use the plus mark to add blocks because we are using Gutenberg. So, essentially, you can add the blocks that are provided for you via Gutenberg.

Add Gutenberg blocks by clicking on the plus mark

Any block that you add will be displayed in the Footer Area, which can be seen from the front end.

In our example, I have written: “This is Footer1”.

On the website for public view, you can see the following:

How do I add a widget to my WordPress theme?

The process of adding widgets to your WordPress theme is called Widetizing. What we did in the previous section is, that we added blocks to an already existing widget.

What if we wanted more widgets? In such cases, we need to write code. The first thing we should work towards accomplishing is registering a widget area.

We can do that by adding the following code to the functions.php that can be found from the same Appearance menu and “Theme Editor”.

Go to Theme Editor

Click on “I Understand” from the popup.

Click on “I Understand”

From the right sidebar, please select functions.php.

Select functions.php

Copy and paste the below-mentioned code:

 * Register our sidebars and widgetized areas.
function arphabet_widgets_init() {

	register_sidebar( array(
		'name'          => 'Home right sidebar',
		'id'            => 'home_right_1',
		'before_widget' => '<div>',
		'after_widget'  => '</div>',
		'before_title'  => '<h2 class="rounded">',
		'after_title'   => '</h2>',
	) );

add_action( 'widgets_init', 'arphabet_widgets_init' );

Similarly, you can paste the following code into “sidebar.php”, if you don’t have the file create it and paste it there.

<?php if ( is_active_sidebar( 'home_right_1' ) ) : ?>
	<div id="primary-sidebar" class="primary-sidebar widget-area" role="complementary">
		<?php dynamic_sidebar( 'home_right_1' ); ?>
	</div><!-- #primary-sidebar -->
<?php endif; ?>

List of widgets in WordPress

In the latest version of WordPress, apart from the classic widgets, you can also add Gutenberg blocks. But the typical widgets are as follows:

How do I restore classic widgets in WordPress?

If you have the latest version of WordPress, then you will be having the modern widgets that are linked to Gutenberg blocks.

If you are not familiar with this and you want to go to the legacy widgets that are also called by the name Classic Widgets, you need to install a plugin. Yes, it is that simple.

To install a plugin, you need to go to “Plugins > Add New Plugins”.

Add new plugin

Go to the search bar on the top right and search for “Classic Widgets”.

Top right Search bar

Install the first result by clicking on the “Install Now” button.

Click on the Install Now button to install the plugin

Now you need to activate the plugin like so.

Activate the Classic Widgets Plugin

You are done! You can go to the Widgets area from the Appearance menu and check for yourself the Classic Widgets and enjoy working on them.

WordPress widgets not showing in the admin

If you are not able to see the widgets from the administration dashboard, don’t panic. Relax. Nothing is lost. All you have to do is follow the below steps one by one and stop where it fixes the problem.

Sounds good?!

Let’s begin:

1. Check if logged in as an Administrator

See if you have logged in as an administrator or some other role.

To do that, see if you can see the Users link in the left sidebar in the Admin Dashboard. If you cannot see Users, you have not logged in as Administrator. We suggest you log out and log in as an administrator to see the widget area.

Select Users if you can see the link

If you can see the “Users” link, go ahead and click, and you should see the list of users.

Check the log-in name against the list of user names till it gets matched,

Check the top right corner to see your user name and match that against the list of users. See the Role, if it is admin and you are still unable to see the widgets, please go to the next step.

2. Deactivate the current theme and activate a default theme

Go to Appearance > Themes.

Go to themes

Select a theme that starts with twenty and activate it after hovering on it.

Active the default theme by hovering on it

Now see if you can see the widgets. If you can’t see it even now, please move to the next and final step.

3. Deactivate all the plugins and check

Go to the Plugins section from Appearance > Installed plugins.

Go to Plugins > Installed plugins

Select all from the top-left check box, select Deactivate from the above drop-down and apply to de-activate all the plugins.

Deactivate all the plugins

You will see that the widgets are seen now. Now, select the plugins one by one and start activating them until you see one plugin after activating which the widget vanishes or stops working.

This plugin is the culprit. Write to the author of the plugin or delete the plugin forever.

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