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 '14 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 '14 at 13:26
  • I just don't want the URLs to work for that taxonomy... period. – Michael Ecklund Apr 5 '14 at 13:27
  • 1
    @MichaelEcklund So, what you have done so far is enough. – gmazzap Apr 5 '14 at 13:58

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)){



|improve this answer|||||
  • I like the set_404();. Neat idea. – Michael Ecklund Jan 20 '16 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 '16 at 7:30
  • This generates a notice Undefined variable: taxonomy in ... [location] Any way to avoid that? – Armstrongest Sep 6 '17 at 18:07
  • 1
    Did you pass a taxonomy name when you called kill_taxonomy_archive? – Chris Herbert Sep 6 '17 at 21:19

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.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 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 '16 at 7:32
  • Agree with Sebastien - the 404 approach is much better, and works well. – Dan Smart Jan 19 '17 at 15:14

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