I'm trying to develop a wordpress theme with a hero slider, I use some 3rd party slider widget inserted to the hero widget area I've defined as sidebar-hero in my functions.php file.

I'm using this code to display the hero slider:

<?php if(is_active_sidebar("sidebar-hero")) : ?>
    <?php dynamic_sidebar("sidebar-hero");?>
    <script type="text/javascript">document.body.classList.add("hero-widget-enabled");</script>
<?php else: ?>
<div class="carousel-page-container container">
    <div class="header-filter" style='background-image: url(/wp-content/themes/sometheme/assets/images/demo/back.png)'>
        <div class="header-filter-gradient"></div>
<?php endif;?>

Now the problem is, I add the custom slider to the sidebar-hero widget area, it shows the slider. I remove the slider from the widgets, it shows the default image. But when I disable the slider from the extensions page without removing it from the widget area, it still tries to show the dynamic sidebar.

The is_active_sidebar() method returns true even if there are any widgets displayed in the widget settings page on the sidebar-hero widget area.

Do you have any solutions for this issue? Is it a wordpress bug, or am I doing something wrong?


wp_get_sidebars_widgets() shows this output (which smartslider3-2 should not be included because it's plugin is disabled):

array(6) {
  array(11) {
    string(10) "archives-2"
    string(10) "archives-4"
    string(6) "meta-2"
    string(8) "search-2"
    string(8) "search-4"
    string(6) "text-2"
    string(12) "categories-2"
    string(14) "recent-posts-2"
    string(17) "recent-comments-2"
    string(6) "text-3"
    string(11) "tag_cloud-2"
  array(3) {
    string(12) "categories-3"
    string(11) "tag_cloud-1"
    string(10) "calendar-1"
  array(1) {
    string(14) "recent-posts-3"
  array(1) {
    string(7) "pages-2"
  array(1) {
    string(11) "tag_cloud-3"
  array(1) {
    string(14) "smartslider3-2"
  • Where and how are you calling is_active_widget? Please edit your question and add the relevant code.
    – janh
    Dec 27, 2017 at 12:22
  • That should be is_active_sidebar. Thanks for the heads up. Corrected.
    – tpaksu
    Dec 27, 2017 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


In this case I would simply check if the slider plugin is activated - so your conditional statement would look like this:

 <?php if ( is_active_sidebar( 'sidebar-hero' ) && 
            is_plugin_active( 'slider-plugin-dir/slider-plugin-base-file.php' ) 
 ) : ?>

wp_get_sidebars_widgets in your case works as expected - it checks for the widgets in wp_options table and keeps the widget because it is still there. It makes sense - deactivating the plugin is not the same as removing the widget and this function is not intended to check for widget's dependencies.

  • The widget that user added to the sidebar may vary. I don't limit the user to use one type of slider plugin.
    – tpaksu
    Dec 27, 2017 at 13:09
  • Oh, sorry then, I don't understand entirely what you're trying to achieve. What do you insert into widget then if it's supposed to work with any slider plugin? Any shortcode? Dec 27, 2017 at 13:14
  • Nope, any slider plugin such as Revo Slider, Smart Slider, Soliloquy slider can be inserted by the user. Or if he/she doesn't care about the display, he/she could insert any other plugin widget as well. I don't care about what's inserted, but the template enforces user to use a slider widget for the completeness of the theme.
    – tpaksu
    Dec 27, 2017 at 13:15

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