How To Use the_content Function And Filter In WordPress [Guide]

WordPress the_content function

Any WordPress developer knows that in order to display the content of a page/post they can use the_content() function. In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at this function as well the_content filter that WordPress provides.

Using WordPress the_content Function + Arguments

The function definition according to looks like this:

the_content(string $more_link_text = null, bool $strip_teaser = false)

As you can see, the function accepts 2 arguments:

  • $more_link_text – let’s you use custom text for “Read More” link.
  • $strip_teaser – defines if the teaser content before the $more_link_text should be stripped.

Let’s say you want to display the content and have the “Read More” link say “Continue…”. Here is how you can do it:



The WordPress the_content Filter

In some cases, you want to modify the text that is being displayed by the the_content function. Thankfully, WordPress provides a filter that we can use exactly for that purpose.

Here is how the filter is being used by the function:


$content = apply_filters('the_content', $content);

Adding Custom Hooks To the_content filter

Let’s say we have a function that adds social share links called append_social_share_buttons that appends social share buttons to the post content. Here is how we would use it:


add_filter('the_content', 'append_social_share_buttons');

function append_social_share_buttons($content) {

    // Your function's logic that appends social share buttons

    return $content;


Difference Between the_content and get_the_content Functions

As you can see on the image below, the_content function uses get_the_content internally to do all the heavy lifting.

WordPress the_content function
WordPress the_content function body

So these functions are very similar. However, there are main 2 differences that are worth mentioning:

  1. the_content() function will automatically echo/display the contents of the current post whereas the get_the_content() function will only return the result and not display.
  2. get_the_content() allows you to pass the post object or a post ID and that post will be used to get the contents from. On the other hand, the_content() function will ALWAYS display the contents of the current post.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, you can use the the_content() function to display the contents of the current post and the the_content filter to control what’s being displayed. They can both be used to customize your WordPress website in a way that suits you and your needs.

About The Author

Andriy Haydash

Andriy Haydash

Andriy Haydash is a WordPress Expert who helps people build and launch successful WordPress membership and e-learning websites.

Note: Not all of the articles are written directly by me.
Affiliate Disclaimer: Some links in the post may be my affiliate links

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