I have a site-plugin to centralize most of the theme customization. I want to override the default footer.php template with a customfooter.php (removes the Proudly Powered by WordPress) stored inside the /plugins directory structure. I found this resource on StackExchange, one here, and tried some. Obviously, I am making errors. Could someone please advise how to achieve this without touching the theme files / directories?

add_filter( 'theme_page_templates', 'force_customization', 101 );
function force_customization( $newtemplate ) {
       if ( is_singular( 'footer' ) ) {
        $newtemplate = plugin_dir_path( __FILE__ ) . 'customization/customfooter.php';
     return $newtemplate;

Any / all help is welcome.

Kind regards


2 Answers 2


You cannot override header / footer templates from a plugin, you'll have to change the theme.

theme_page_templates can be used to change the general template for the post type page. That template then uses get_header() and get_footer(), which in turn include header.php / footer.php (optionally header-$name.php, if a parameter has been passed to get_header(), same for get_footer()).

  • Thank you for the insight. Just to clarify - Are you pointing to a constraint for theme_page_templates or instead suggesting that footer.php cannot be overridden using any WordPress method? For instance, I tried using the is_page_template too, but it does not work. I am a newb with WP and coding and trying to centralize customization to ease ongoing management of my site. Is it possible to achieve? Any / all suggestions are welcome. Thank you Oct 22, 2017 at 7:17
  • The latter. You cannot make WP use a different file than footer.php from outside the theme. If you're working in the theme/child-theme, you can use get_footer("special") and it will prefer footer-special.php over footer.php (but still fall back on footer.php if the other one doesn't exist). You'll have to create a child theme and make your modifications there.
    – janh
    Oct 22, 2017 at 8:25
  • Thank you very much. I have been trying to work this for some time and your response helps to move on :) Kind regards. Oct 22, 2017 at 9:24

Here's how I added a custom header and footer to my custom plugin.


function _get_header($name, $require_once = TRUE, $args = []) {
  return load_template(dirname(__FILE__) . "/includes/{$name}.php", $require_once, $args);

function _get_footer($name, $require_once = TRUE, $args = []) {
  return load_template(dirname(__FILE__) . "/includes/{$name}.php", $require_once, $args);

Create your templates:

  • /includes/my-header.php
  • /includes/my-footer.php

In your template file, e.g. single-custom.php:

_get_header('my-header'); //<- name of file without extension.
_get_footer('my-footer'); //<- name of file without extension.

Here are the twentytwentyone files from WP:

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