I'm using the theme-check plugin to check my theme for errors and recommendations, I'm using get_template_part() in theme files like header.php and index.php but in functions.php I'm using include_once() theme-check is not pointing at these, it's pointing at include_once used in a widgets.php file which is included in functions.php

my question is should we use get_template_part() instead of all include_once() and include() or just use it for getting frequently used markup only ? I know it's only recommended to use get_template_part() but I like to follow best practices and recommendations.

thanks in advance.

  • Looking at plugin code from some of the core contributors and other WP experts, I've never seen get_template_part() used this way although it doesn't seem wrong. The point of the function, though, is to reuse parts of code which would differentiate it from the need to include a file once. I'm interested in seeing what others have to say about this. Apr 7, 2012 at 14:23
  • Those are recommendations, if you're not including template part it's more simple to use include_once().
    – Mamaduka
    Apr 7, 2012 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


Your functions.php doesn’t create output, so you should use locate_template().


locate_template( 'php/functions.nav-menu.php', TRUE, TRUE );

You’ll find this function in wp-includes/theme.php. The first parameter is the file path relative to the theme root, the second tells WordPress to load it (or not), and the third to load it just once.

Now a child theme can override the file by just placing a file with the same name to the same place in its own theme root.

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