WordPress Widgets Not Showing in the Admin Dashboard (Easy Fix)

Are your widgets not showing up in the admin dashboard within WordPress? Here's how to fix the error and get straight back to your writing.

WordPress Widgets Not Showing in the Admin Dashboard (Easy Fix)

The widgets are considered an important component of a website, and they can be imported easily while using WordPress. However, every now and then, weird things can happen to the sidebars within WordPress, and you may notice that your widgets have disappeared. So, why this happens and what should you do?

When the widgets are not showing in the dashboard, it means that you are not logged in to WP as an admin, therefore you do not have access. Also, there may be a problem with the plugin you are using. So, you would have to check your log-in info or deactivate the theme you are currently using.

In this article, I will discuss thoroughly the issues that may arise with widgets while using WordPress and why they actually happen. Also, I will provide steps that will help you solve these problems. Usually, these issues can be resolved quickly, so it will not take much of your time.

Why Are Your Widgets Not Showing Up In WordPress?

Issues that happen inside the WordPress admin, while creating a website, can be quite annoying, but there is usually a quick solution to resolve them. So, missing widgets are not excluded from this case. However, the problem with missing widgets is not something you should worry about.  

So, why do these issues happen? In most cases, when you are not logged in properly to your WordPress account, your widgets might disappear from your dashboard. By properly, I refer to not being logged in as the administrator.

Therefore, the first thing you need to check when widgets are missing is your account information with which you have logged in. If you are logged in as a regular user, you will not have access to the widgets section. In this case, you would have to log out, and then log in as the Administrator.

If the first thing does not work, and your widgets section is still missing, then you should head over to check your WordPress theme. Usually, when you install and activate a new theme, some of the sidebars might disappear, including the widgets. So, you would have to deactivate the current theme you are using and activate any default WordPress theme.

These are usually the most common things that cause the widgets section to go missing. However, sometimes the above-mentioned solutions might not work. In this case, you would have to try to deactivate all of the plugins one at a time and check.

I would recommend backing up all of your databases before trying the last two solutions. It is always better to be on the safe side, than losing all of your data when you are still not sure what is causing the problem.

In some cases, it is possible that none of these solutions work. Therefore, you would have to reach out to the developer of the theme and ask for help. This happens because sometimes the themes are not developed and tested thoroughly, so some of the sidebars do not work properly.

How do you add widgets to the WordPress admin dashboard?

Once you decide which widgets you want and need for your website, you will be required to install them. You should keep in mind that using too many widgets might be difficult for the users to notice them. Therefore, you should stick to using two or three of them, and make them noticeable on your website.

If you still want more widgets, you can always install them in the footer area, where they are not so important. However, if your theme allows usage of extra widget areas, then you will have to decide which widgets should be put there. But, always check that they fit the layout and the style of your site.

Before adding the widgets, keep in mind that there are three ways to do this:

  • Use the widgets that come with the selected WordPress theme
  • Use the plugins directory to add a third-party widget
  • Purchase a premium plugin that includes a widget

Adding widgets included in the WordPress theme

Since there are too many widgets available at your disposal, sometimes it might be difficult to choose which one to use. However, many WordPress themes include widgets that you may find quite useful to your website. Therefore, it is smart to browse them first and see whether some of them you find convenient for your site.

So, if you find something that works for you, use that. It will save you time and money, and the installation process is quite simple.

Once you find the section with the available widgets, you should drag the widget to the sidebar for its activation. If you want to deactivate the same widget and delete its settings, you should just drag it back.

Widgets that are pre-installed in the WordPress theme usually include:

  • Archives: for links that are outdated to be archived by month
  • Calendar: suitable for putting a date on your posts
  • Custom HTML: flexible for typing and pasting content into HTML
  • Navigation Menu: shows the navigation menu in a separate way from the one you created
  • Recent Comments: a section with recent comments along with links to them
  • Tag Cloud: a list of tags along with links to the archive’s section
  • Categories: a list that enables the user to see all of the categories used in your site
  • Gallery: a display of the images used on your website
  • Pages: a list of the pages on your website
  • Recent Posts: a widget that encourages users to read them
  • Search: a basic search box to enable navigation through the website
  • Text: any text that is included on your website
  • Video: suitable for embedding videos from YouTube, or other streaming services
  • Image: enable displaying an image from your media library
  • Audio: allows you to embed a podcast, a song, or audio clips

Adding widgets from the plugins directory

The WordPress plugins directory is a place where you can find different types of widgets, and I should warn you that the choice is not easy as well. However, sometimes even the plugins directory will not satisfy your needs, so you would have to purchase a premium plugin.

The premium plugins might include widgets with more functions and a more intuitive interface. But, in many cases, the free plugins have the same functionality, therefore be sure to make your search thorough.

Tips for finding the proper widget

  1. Decide what you really need from a widget. Determine which of its functions you really need, so your search would be easier.
  2. Check the widgets that are already installed within the selected WordPress theme. In many cases, they have the functions you are trying to find.
  3. Look into the Plugin Directory. You can access it by selecting ‘Plugins’ and then choosing ‘Add New’. You should try to search with and without the word ‘widget’ because sometimes the focus is not on the widget itself.
  4. Finally, if nothing from the free directory suits your needs, you should look into the premium plugins. You can also look into the WordPress recommendations before making the purchase.

Once you have decided on a widget that you will use, you will need to install it on your dashboard. It is up to you to decide where you are going to put the widgets depending on the widget areas provided by your theme. However, if your theme does not include widget areas, you should look into some alternative themes.

There are two ways in which you can add the widgets to your dashboard. You can do it through the ‘Customizer’, or through the ‘Widget’ section in your dashboard.

If you go for the first way, you would have to choose ‘Appearance’, then ‘Customizer’, and finally ‘Widgets’. Here, you will be able to customize your widgets and add them to the place you want them to show.

If you go via the ‘Widget’ section, you will have to select ‘Appearance’, then ‘Widgets’. Finally, you will have to choose ‘Customize’, and then click ‘Widgets’.

You should remember, that some widgets may be suitable in multiple areas, not only the sidebar. That completely depends on the theme you choose to use for your website.

Most of the themes include their widget sections in the sidebar or the footer. However, some themes allow widgets to be included in different areas on the website. To check the widgets areas, you will have to go to the WordPress admin and you will see all the areas that your theme allows.

If you are determined to use widgets in different areas of your website, you should try to find a theme that will allow that. To achieve that successfully, it is best to use a framework theme.

To summarize, finding what is wrong with your widgets and why they are not showing is relatively easy, and the solutions take only a few simple steps. Also, the adding of widgets to your dashboard does not include some special programming skills, so you can do it by yourself. Therefore, you are only required to do thorough research.