I have registered three custom taxonomies. All three of these custom taxonomies are attached to my custom post type.

There is only one taxonomy out of the three registered, that I would like not accessible what so ever on the frontend of the website.

What is the best solution for this?

I have been playing around with specifying different arguments while registering the taxonomy, but nothing seems to work.

$args['show_in_nav_menus'] = false;
$args['query_var'] = false;
$args['public'] = false;

Should I just hook into template_redirect and do a is_tax() check? If it's the taxonomy I want disabled, just redirect to the custom post type archive?

  • 1
    Which arguments? Explain "nothing seems to work"? What effect are you looking to achieve and what do you see instead?
    – s_ha_dum
    Apr 5, 2014 at 13:14
  • Using that settings you are not able to query the taxonomy using urls... but nothing prevent to query taxonomy using a custom query (new WP_Query(...))
    – gmazzap
    Apr 5, 2014 at 13:26
  • I just don't want the URLs to work for that taxonomy... period. Apr 5, 2014 at 13:27
  • 1
    @MichaelEcklund So, what you have done so far is enough.
    – gmazzap
    Apr 5, 2014 at 13:58

4 Answers 4


s_ha_dum's answer didn't work for me, but this did:

 * Completely disable term archives for this taxonomy.
 * @param  string $taxonomy WordPress taxnomy name
function kill_taxonomy_archive($taxonomy){

    add_action('pre_get_posts', function($qry) {

            if (is_admin()) return;

            if (is_tax($taxonomy)){



  • I like the set_404();. Neat idea. Jan 20, 2016 at 20:50
  • +1 — This is more the "Wordpress way" than the accepted answer. Ideally, there should be a "has_archive" arg, like post types...
    – Sebastien
    Oct 21, 2016 at 7:30
  • This generates a notice Undefined variable: taxonomy in ... [location] Any way to avoid that? Sep 6, 2017 at 18:07
  • 1
    Did you pass a taxonomy name when you called kill_taxonomy_archive? Sep 6, 2017 at 21:19

WordPress taxonomy provides flexibilities to set its properties while registering it. To disable WordPress taxonomy archives, set "public" as "false" as shown in below example code. This will remove "View" action link from taxonomy screen and also redirect the user to website homepage when trying to access url of taxonomy manually.

enter image description here


// Register Custom Taxonomy 
function custom_taxonomy() { 
  $labels = array( 
    'name' => _x( 'Taxonomies', 'Taxonomy General Name', 'text_domain' ), 
    'singular_name' => _x( 'Taxonomy', 'Taxonomy Singular Name', 'text_domain' ), 
    'menu_name' => __( 'Taxonomy', 'text_domain' ), 
    'all_items' => __( 'All Items', 'text_domain' ), 
    'parent_item' => __( 'Parent Item', 'text_domain' ), 
    'parent_item_colon' => __( 'Parent Item:', 'text_domain' ), 
    'new_item_name' => __( 'New Item Name', 'text_domain' ), 
    'add_new_item' => __( 'Add New Item', 'text_domain' ), 
    'edit_item' => __( 'Edit Item', 'text_domain' ), 
    'update_item' => __( 'Update Item', 'text_domain' ), 
    'view_item' => __( 'View Item', 'text_domain' ), 
    'separate_items_with_commas' => __( 'Separate items with commas', 'text_domain' ), 
    'add_or_remove_items' => __( 'Add or remove items', 'text_domain' ), 
    'choose_from_most_used' => __( 'Choose from the most used', 'text_domain' ), 
    'popular_items' => __( 'Popular Items', 'text_domain' ), 
    'search_items' => __( 'Search Items', 'text_domain' ), 
    'not_found' => __( 'Not Found', 'text_domain' ), 
    'no_terms' => __( 'No items', 'text_domain' ), 
    'items_list' => __( 'Items list', 'text_domain' ), 
    'items_list_navigation' => __( 'Items list navigation', 'text_domain' ), 
 $args = array( 
  'labels' => $labels, 
  'hierarchical' => false, 
  'public' => false, // Set it to false, which will remove View link from backend and redirect user to homepage on clicking taxonomy link.
  'show_ui' => true, 
  'show_admin_column' => true, 
  'show_in_nav_menus' => true, 
  'show_tagcloud' => true, 
  • This is the only right answer. For those who may want to filter existing taxonomies, they can use register_taxonomy_args filter.
    – user75665
    May 2, 2021 at 12:18
  • 1
    Instead of public = false , add another variable in array publicly_queryable = false which will not show view option, public= false will remove whole option from the menu in admin panel. Nov 3, 2022 at 9:56

I'm not sure why @chris-herbert wrote it the way he did, but if you add this to your function file, this will force any navigation to that archive to go to your 404 page.

add_action('pre_get_posts', 'kill_taxonomy_archive');
function kill_taxonomy_archive($qry) {

    if (is_admin()) return;

    if (is_tax('tax-slug')){

To guarantee that your taxonomy is never queried on the front end, you could strip it from all front end queries.

  function($qry) {

    if (is_admin()) return;

    $kill = 'genre'; // kill this taxonomy

    $tax_query = $qry->get('tax_query');
    if (empty($tax_query)) return;

    $relation = false;
    if (isset($tax_query['relation'])) {
      $relation = $tax_query['relation'];

    foreach ($tax_query as $k => &$tax) {
      if (isset($tax['taxonomy']) && 'genre' === $tax['taxonomy']) {

    if (1 < count($tax_query)) {
      $tax_query['relation'] = $relation;



Using a closure should make the callback hard to remove.

You may also want to implement the redirect as you speculated but doing so wouldn't prevent secondary queries in page templates or widgets from retrieving the taxonomy or could cause trouble if you try to redirect late in a page load.

  • I voted down to discourage people using this hacky technique. See the @chris-herbert answer below, which is more in the WP thinking (still not ideal tho but it's WP fault).
    – Sebastien
    Oct 21, 2016 at 7:32
  • Agree with Sebastien - the 404 approach is much better, and works well.
    – Dan Smart
    Jan 19, 2017 at 15:14

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