I am trying to create a custom archive index page for a custom post type. I can't get it to work, I have followed this guide: https://codex.wordpress.org/Creating_an_Archive_Index.

Here's what I have been trying:

1. Created a custom post type:

function references(){
         'labels'       => [
             'name'          => __('Cows'),
             'singular_name' => __('Cow'),
         'public'       => true,
         'has_archive'  => true,
         'supports'     => ['title', 'editor', 'thumbnail'],
         'rewrite'      => array(
           'slug'       => 'cows'
add_action('init', 'references');

2. Created a archive-cows.php page for all the custom post type's posts.

if ( have_posts() ) {
    while ( have_posts() ) {
        // Post Content here
    } // end while
} // end if

3. Created a template called Cows in file: cows.php

    Template name: Cows


    'type' => 'monthly',
    'post_type' => 'cows',

4. Created a new page (backend) and assigned it to template: Cows

At the moment WordPress is loading archive-cows.php (because post type slug: cows and page template slug: cows), where I would like it to load cows.php template file, and then in that template load the archives for cows (would not like to use a custom query without a archive page).

  • You should add a loop about all posts from your custom post type inside the cows.php template. Thats create a list if all posts from this post type and list theme. see wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/165793/…
    – bueltge
    Jan 5, 2018 at 9:39
  • Isn't best practice to use a archive-something.php to list all of the desired posts? If a user visites domain.dk/custom-post-archive-slug it would be blank if use of template file? :)
    – simon
    Jan 5, 2018 at 10:01
  • This template is for a view on a archive, not in a best practice to reference inside a template.
    – bueltge
    Jan 7, 2018 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


The first parameter passed to register_post_type is the post type key which is used by the theme template hierarchy. register_post_type documentation.

The cows.php is a page template, so to use it create a new page and select the 'Cows' template. You will need to alter the slug of this page so it doesn't conflict with the existing www.example/cows of the post type archive page.

  • Sorry. I forgot to change register_post_type from references to cows, in this example. Locally I use another setup. Hope this isn't misleading. It's edited now. So with the current edited setup it is not working :)
    – simon
    Jan 5, 2018 at 10:25
  • Hmm. It doesn't seems to work. I can't get wordpress to display a custom index archive page, and then all the post for the archive/post-type. It's the wp_get_archives function that I can't get to work properly I think.
    – simon
    Jan 5, 2018 at 11:05
  • To confirm, you need to view the page, not the post type archive. Eg. www.example.com/your-page-slug not www.example.com/cows. Also, you'll need to be running WordPress 4.4 or above to use the post_type parameter in wp_get_archives
    – Andrew
    Jan 5, 2018 at 11:47

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