A plugin I'm working on requires jquery to be loaded before the content is processed. Some stock themes, like 2010, 2011 and 2012 (I believe) put the JS in the footer.

How can I force the scripts to be loaded in the header (I will notify users of the plugin that the plugin requires this)?

  • 3
    if you need jQuery to load in the head, you're probably doing something wrong.
    – Milo
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:00
  • For example, if I wanted a simple jQuery("body").css("background-color","red"); executed from within a shortcode in the body, I can't do it. Let's say my shortcode is [body color=red] but jquery isn't loaded till the footer, then my code won't work.
    – Branndon
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:14
  • The script that includes that line can be declared a dependent of jquery, just try it, it will work. You may have to wait until document ready, but you're going to be doing that for most jquery stuff anyway. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:20
  • 1
    enqueue an external script and pass shortcode-specific data via wp_localize_script, or output the script inline in the footer.
    – Milo
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:21

5 Answers 5


The normal behavior of wp_enqueue_script is to put the script output into the head section, the parameter $in_footer is optional and defaults to false. So, you can load jQuery with your plugin into the head and, assumed your dealing with well programmed themes/plugins, it won't load again, because wp_enqueue_script prevents this by default - additional information about that here.

  • Maybe the default is in the head, but some default themes put it in the footer, and for themes that try and put it in the footer, I'd like the option to overwrite that function, and place it in the head.
    – Branndon
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:13
  • Sure, I understood that clear and correctly. And my answer is designed to help you with that, because if you've load it into the <head>...</head> you've done what you're asking for. Btw Milo is right in his comment, I wouldn't necessary say you did something wrong, but you can most certainly change your approach, which would lead to not making it necessary to load jQuery into the head - consider doing that, because it is better, best pratice. @Branndon Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:20
  • But your reply and most replys here imply that I'm trying to load a script file, and not a bit of code. The code is dynamic, and changes per page load. Am I missing something? Can I use wp_enqueue_script on a piece of code rather than a complete file?
    – Branndon
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:24
  • I'm guessing you're working with inline scripts, it would better not to do that anyway. Besides that, generally you can put any inline script code into a script file. Take a look at Milo's second comment for starters and take the keywords to use the search function on here to get to know more about your possibilities, they have been asked and answered multiple times. Good luck! @Branndon Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:29
  • 1
    Thanks @ialocin, I see that wp_localize_script is a good route to head down. Thanks for the detailed replies!
    – Branndon
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:44

The third parameter of wp_enqueue_script() allows you declare dependencies for the script you're enqueueing, i.e. what other scripts are required for them to run.

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'include_script_that_depends_on_jquery' );

function include_script_that_depends_on_jquery() {
    wp_enqueue_script( 'my_script.js', '/path/to/my_scripts.js', array( 'jquery' ) );

That way, no matter where any theme, plugin, whatever loads jquery, your script will always load later, assuming they follow best practices as well and don't deregister it.

  • The thing is, I need to execute jquery code, not a scripts file.
    – Branndon
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:12
  • I think it would help if you edited your question with what you actually need to do. It may be possible not to do it inline. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:41

For example, if I wanted a simple jQuery("body").css("background-color","red"); executed from within a shortcode in the body, I can't do it. Let's say my shortcode is [body color=red] but jquery isn't loaded till the footer, then my code won't work.

In your shortcode handler You could return an HTML placeholder element or JavaScript variable, and then hook onto wp_footer with another function that "runs" jQuery.

function wpse_139154_shortcode( $atts ) {
    // Awesome code

    wp_enqueue_script( 'jquery' ); // Will output in the footer if not already in the head
    add_action( 'wp_footer', 'wpse_139154_shortcode_script', 100 ); // Ensure we run after wp_print_footer_scripts

    return <<<html
    var arguments = arguments || {}; arguments.backgroundColor = "{$atts['color']}";

function wpse_139154_shortcode_script() {
    echo <<<html
<script>jQuery( "body" ).css( arguments );</script>

Accoriding to the WP Reference for wp_enqueue_scripts

wp_enqueue_script( string $handle, string $src = false, array $deps = array(), string|bool|null $ver = false, bool $in_footer = false )

The last parameter is responsible for where the script will be loaded. There are some snags which can change his behaviour ! Try to find and comment/remove this lines from your function.php file

remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_print_scripts');
remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_print_head_scripts', 9);
remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 1);
add_action('wp_footer', 'wp_print_scripts', 5);
add_action('wp_footer', 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 5);
add_action('wp_footer', 'wp_print_head_scripts', 5);

The purpose of this six actions is to automatically move JavaScript code to page footer making the last parameter from wp_enqueue_scripts unuseful! If this actions can not be removed, then you can change the priorities of them. From 5 to 9999 per example. Play with the priorities to find the right one for you.

You also need to check if the are some dependencies specified in the $deps array.Witch gone force the script to be loaded after resolving them.

Don't try any dirty hacks, it is a bad practice

Happy coding


First, dequeue the jQuery enqueued by the theme. Then enqueue it again.

function jquery_at_header() {
    // De-Queue current jQuery 
    wp_dequeue_script( 'jquery' );

    // Re Enqueue jQuery
    wp_enqueue_script( 'jquery' );

    //Then your script
    wp_enqueue_script( 'script-name', plugins_url( 'js/scrip-name.js' , __FILE__ ), array( 'jquery' ), '1.0' );
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'jquery_at_header', 5 );

You might need to play with the priority to get what you need.

  • 1
    No, you do not need to be dequeueing jquery, this way leads to madness. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 16:46
  • @AndrewBartel why is that? If jQuery is enqueued in footer, is there any way to move it to the head without dequeuing it first? No, flame intended, but that worked for me.
    – Abhik
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 19:54

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