How to Display Recent Posts in WordPress


Do you want to show your recent posts in WordPress? Displaying recent posts helps your users find them easily. You can add recent posts in your sidebar, after the end of your post content, inside your post content with a shortcode, in your footer widget areas, and basically anywhere else that you like. In this article, we will show you how to display recent posts in WordPress with a plugin, widget, shortcode, and the manual method with the recent post function.

A WordPress page with recent posts listed

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Using The WordPress Recent Posts Widget

WordPress comes with a built-in default widget to display recent posts in your site’s sidebar or any widget ready area. Inside your WordPress admin, simply visit Appearance » Widgets and add Recent Posts widget to a sidebar.

Using the default WordPress recent posts widget

The built-in recent posts widget is very basic. You can provide an alternate title to the widget, show date, and add the number of posts you want to display. Next, click on the save button to store your widget settings.

Using Recent Posts Widget Extended Plugin

As you noticed that the built-in widget we mentioned above is quite limited, and it doesn’t even allow you to show thumbnails or excerpts which is often a priority for users.

What if you wanted to display thumbnails and excerpts with your recent posts? What if you wanted to limit them to specific categories or tags?

Well, that’s when Recent Posts Widget Extended plugin comes in handy.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the WordPress Recent Posts Widget Extended plugin. Upon activation, simply visit Appearance » Widgets and add Recent Posts Extended widget to a sidebar.

Recent posts extended widget settings

Recent Posts Extended widget comes with a lot options and gives you full control on how you want to display recent posts on your WordPress site. You can show thumbnails, excerpts, limit categories and tags, ignore sticky posts, and much more. You can even use the widget to display recent posts from any other post type on your site.

Recent posts with thumbnail and excerpt in  sidebar widget

Displaying Recent Posts in WordPress Using Shortcode

Adding recent posts to a sidebar is fairly easy, but what if you wanted to show recent posts inside a WordPress post or page? The easiest way to display recent posts in WordPress posts and pages is by using shortcodes.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Display Posts Shortcode plugin. It works out of the box and there are no settings for you to configure.

Simply edit a post or page where you want to display your recent posts. Next, use the shortcode [display-posts] with your own parameters inside the post. The plugin offers a whole range of parameters that you can use with the shortcode. Here are some examples:

Display 5 recent posts with thumbnails and excerpt

  [display-posts posts_per_page="5" image_size="thumbnail" include_excerpt="true"]  

Display recent pages instead of posts

  [display-posts posts_per_page="5" post_type="page"]  

Change the order to title instead of date.

  [display-posts posts_per_page="5" orderby="title"]  

Display recent pages under a specific parent page.

  [display-posts posts_per_page="5" post_type="page" post_parent="5"]  

For a full list of parameters visit the plugin’s documentation.

You can also use these shortcodes inside a text widget, but first you will need to enable shortcodes in your text widgets by adding this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site specific plugin.

  add_filter('widget_text', 'do_shortcode');  

Displaying Recent Posts Manually in WordPress Theme Files

More advanced WordPress users may want to add recent posts directly in their WordPress theme files. There are multiple ways to do this, but the easiest one is to use the built-in WP_Query class. Simply add this code where you want to display the recent posts.

  <ul>  // Define our WP Query Parameters  <?php $the_query = new WP_Query( 'posts_per_page=5' ); ?>    // Start our WP Query  <?php while ($the_query -> have_posts()) : $the_query -> the_post(); ?>    // Display the Post Title with Hyperlink  <li><a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a></li>    // Display the Post Excerpt  <li><?php the_excerpt(__('(more…)')); ?></li>    // Repeat the process and reset once it hits the limit  <?php   endwhile;  wp_reset_postdata();  ?>  </ul>  

This code simply displays five most recent posts with their title and excerpt. The WP_Query class has tons of parameters that allows you to customize it any way that you like. For more information please refer to the codex.

We hope that this article helped you learn how to display recent posts in WordPress. If you want to customize the display of your recent posts without writing any code, then you may want to check out CSS Hero, a WordPress plugin that helps make design customization easy – see our full CSS Hero review.

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