A plugin creates a set of pages and a template. There must be some method to assign the template to one of the pages. I've attempted to adapt the method shown at filter reference template_include without success.

The page slug is member-register, the template file name is member-content-template.php.

Some of the things that don't work include:

  • locate_template(): I suspect that because the template was created by a plugin it is not found by a function that appears to only search themes.
  • is_page(): If given the argument of the page's title, slug or id returns false.


As I have little experience with WordPress, I work in small increments to see what yields results. Attempts include such things as:

$template = locate_template(['member-content-template.php']);

Which results in string(0) "" Or:

   $is = is_page(3350);

Which results in bool(false) The same is also true for is_page('member-register') and is_page('Register')

If any of the above had yielded acceptable results I would have built a callback as suggested in the filter reference.

Edit #2:

Code snippets:

rma.php (the plugin code)

$page_definitions = array(
'member-register' => array(
    'title' => __('Register', 'rma-member-auth'),
    'content' => '[custom_register_form]', 
    'class' => 'Rma\Pages\Register',
    'function' => 'createRegisterForm',
    'template' => 'Rma\Templates\member-content-template.php',
    $templater = new PageTemplater($templates);
    add_action('plugins_loaded', array('Rma\Templates\PageTemplater', 'get_instance'));
    $pages = new PageLoader();


public function pageCreator($page_definitions) {
    foreach ($page_definitions as $slug => $page) {
        // Check that the page doesn't exist already
        $query = new \WP_Query('pagename=' . $slug);
        if (!$query->have_posts()) {
            // Add the page using the data from the array above
                        'post_content' => $page['content'],
                        'post_name' => $slug,
                        'post_title' => $page['title'],
                        'post_status' => 'publish',
                        'post_type' => 'page',
                        'ping_status' => 'closed',
                        'comment_status' => 'closed',
                        'post_template' => $page['template'],
  • Please show us what you have tried.
    – Milo
    May 11, 2017 at 15:25
  • @Milo Various attempts included in edit.
    – geoB
    May 11, 2017 at 16:06
  • did you try template_include()?
    – rudtek
    May 11, 2017 at 16:17
  • @rudtek The attempts shown above were derived from the documentation for template_include(). Had the attempts been successful I would have built a filter based on template_include().
    – geoB
    May 11, 2017 at 16:22
  • The important part is when you do things. If you're checking is_page when the functions file is loaded, the query hasn't run yet for WP to know what page it is.
    – Milo
    May 11, 2017 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


locate_template function searches your current theme's folder for template name(s). If your templates are in a root folder of your theme, use:

$template = locate_template( 'member-content-template.php' );

otherwise, precede the name of a template with subfolder's name ( no slash in front ):

$template = locate_template( 'templates/member-content-template.php' );

To load a template ( if found ) add true as a second parameter of locate_template function:

$template = locate_template( 'member-content-template.php', true );

Update: To load a tempate in your plugin, use filter 'template_include':

function my_template_loader_filter() {
    function my_template_loader( $template ) {
        $my_template = locate_template( 'member-content-template.php.php' );
        if ( ( '' != $my_template ) && is_page( 'member-register' ) )
            return $my_template ;
        return $template;
    add_filter( 'template_include', 'my_template_loader' );
add_action( 'after_setup_theme', 'my_template_loader_filter' );
  • As mentioned in the question, the template is created in a plugin, so I can only assume for now that locate_template() may return a template. Nor does this indicate how to assign such a template should one be returned to a page also created in the same plugin.
    – geoB
    May 11, 2017 at 22:16
  • Check 'Update', for how to load a template in your plugin. May 11, 2017 at 22:41
  • The plugin currently loads a template; it cannot yet assign that to a page. I'll update my question with code snippets show template & page creation.
    – geoB
    May 11, 2017 at 23:48

As I seem to have just learned, a page created in a plugin is not considered a page for purposes of adding a template. Instead, I found that the following additions worked:


$id = get_page_by_title('Register')->ID;

and, in PageLoader:

public function updateRegisterTemplate($id) {
    $meta_key = '_wp_page_template';
    $meta_value = './member-content-template.php';

    return update_post_meta($id, $meta_key, $meta_value)

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