Solving issues with sidebars on your WordPress website

Solutions to most common issues when using sidebars

Showing one or more sidebars on your website is useful to display any kind of information which is related to your website. You can further provide additional information for your website visitors when displaying latest articles, recent comments, authors, custom menus, tags, advertisements and banners or whatever else you like. In case you encounter issues when using sidebars with your WordPress theme, please see this support article of most common issues and their solutions.

MacBook and Paper
Image Source: markusspiske – Pixabay.com / License: CC0 Public Domain

What is a sidebar?

Technically a sidebar (widget area) is a specific area of your WordPress theme where you can display widgets. Most WordPress themes offer one sidebar which is shown on the right or left side of a website. Some WordPress themes (e.g. MH Magazine) can display a second sidebar on your front page, posts, pages and archives as well. In general the number of available sidebars and other widget areas always depends on the particular WordPress theme which you are using.

How many sidebars does your WordPress theme have?

When using the popular MH Magazine WordPress theme you can choose to display up to two sidebars on your WordPress website if you like. By default, when you activate the MH Magazine WordPress theme for the first time, one sidebar is activated. To enable the second sidebar on your website, please navigate to Appearance => Customize => Theme Options => Layout – General in your WordPress dashboard and select two sidebars from the particular drop-down menu.

The number of available sidebars and widget areas always depends on the particular WordPress theme which you are using. That means in order to figure out how many sidebars and widgets areas there are available in your theme, you can check the features overview, theme demo and theme documentation of your WordPress theme. Depending on the available options in your theme, you can enable additional sidebars and display your sidebar on the right or left side of your website.

How to place widgets into the sidebar in WordPress

In general, there are two ways to place widgets on your WordPress website, you can either use the widgets page via Appearance => Widgets in your WordPress dashboard or make use of the Theme Customizer under Appearance => Customize. Which approach you choose depends on your personal preferences. We feel that the widgets page gives you have a better overall overview of all available widgets and widget areas in comparison to the customizer in WordPress.

On the widgets page, you can see all of the available widgets. The white / gray colored widgets are default WordPress widgets, and the widgets highlighted in blue color are the custom widgets that come with WordPress themes by MH Themes which have been specifically designed and developed solely for the particular WordPress theme your are using.

custom widgets

To place widgets into the available widget areas of your WordPress theme, simply drag your preferred widget into your chosen widget area until an outline of the widget appears, as shown in the image below. Then just drop the widget into the particular area.

drag widgets

As soon as you’ve placed a widget into the widget area, it will expand and display its available options. You can now customize the widget contents, e.g. filter your posts based on categories or tags. Please also see this video tutorial section: How to place sidebar widgets.

How to place widgets into the second sidebar in MH Magazine

After you have enabled two sidebars in the MH Magazine WordPress theme, you can navigate to Appearance => Widgets in your WordPress dashboard and place widgets into your second sidebar. You can use widget area Sidebar 2 for the second sidebar on posts, pages and archives and widget area Home 12 for the second sidebar on your widgetized front page.

For a better understanding: The (Global) Sidebar widget area is your default sidebar for posts, archives and regular pages. When you activate the second sidebar, then Sidebar 2 is your second sidebar for posts, archives and pages. Regarding your front page – you can use the Home 6 widget area as sidebar (if you’re not using the large slider in Home 1) and if you have enabled the second sidebar, Home 12 will be the second sidebar on your front page.

Please also note, if you are using the Theme Customizer, but can’t find certain widget areas, then you are either browsing a page where these particular widget areas aren’t available OR in case you can’t see Home 12 or Sidebar 2, then it’s very likely that you haven’t enabled the second sidebar for your layout within the theme options under Appearance => Customize => Theme Options => Layout – General.

What are Home 12 and Sidebar 2 widget areas in MH Magazine used for?

Within the Theme Customizer under Appearance => Customize => Theme Options => Layout – General there is an option to enable a second sidebar. By doing so, you will activate the Home 12 widget area which is being displayed on your widgetized front page; and you will also activate the Sidebar 2 widget area, which is being displayed on your posts, pages and archives. You can now simply drag & drop widgets into these sidebars to display selected content as you like.

How to change the position of the default sidebar in WordPress

If supported by your WordPress theme, you can change the position (left / right) of your default sidebar. For the MH Magazine theme this option can be found under Appearance => Customize => Theme Options => Layout – General in your WordPress dashboard. The position of your default sidebar affects all widgets which have been placed into the particular Sidebar widget area.

How to disable the sidebars on your WordPress website

Some WordPress themes by MH Themes include an option to disable sidebars on your website completely. For the MH Magazine theme this option can be found under Appearance => Customize => Theme Options => Layout – General in your WordPress dashboard. When using this option to disable the sidebars, your content will automatically strech to full-width of the content area.

If your WordPress theme doesn’t include such an option, you could use tools like Firebug or your browsers inspection tool to inspect the elements on your site and then add your own CSS code based on your personal requirements to hide the sidebars on your website. If you’re not familiar with CSS and/or HTML, then these tutorials might be helpful as well:

In case you want to hide the sidebar(s) on pages only, then you could have a look if your particular WordPress theme includes a Full-Width page template. You can see this when editing the page and then check the available page templates under Page Attributes on the right side of the editor.

How to display different sidebars for different pages in WordPress

In case you want to display custom sidebars for particular pages, this is only possible by custom development or when using a suitable plugin like for example Custom Sidebars. By using this or similar plugins, you can create individual sidebars independently for certain pages.

Custom Sidebars Plugin
Image Source: Screenshot – WordPress Plugin Directory

You have not found a solution to your issue?

In case you have not found answers to your questions in this support article, please also take a look at our other support topics, as it is very likely that you will find your answer there. If you have purchased a WordPress theme by MH Themes and have a valid license to gain access to theme updates and support, then you may also send a support request for additional assistance.

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2 Comments

    • Hi Nikolas, it seems you’re not using one of our WordPress themes. You may want to contact the developers of your WordPress theme for further analysis and support. It’s possible that there is an issue with post excerpts in your WordPress theme or there may be a plugin confict.

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