How to Add Code to WordPress (GTM or GA4)
9 min.

No matter how low- or no-code your website builder is, learning how to add code to WordPress is often essential for the design and customizability of your website. So, let us help you a bit with this task through developer insights.

We’ll focus mainly on how to add Google Tag Manager code in WordPress, as well as Google Analytics.

Preparing Your WordPress Site for Code Integration

Before integrating Google Tag Manager (GTM) or Google Analytics 4 (GA4) into your WordPress site, it’s essential to prepare your site to ensure the process goes smoothly and without any issues. Here are the key steps to get your site ready:

Ensuring Your WordPress Site is Updated and Backed Up

  • Update WordPress: Make sure your WordPress site is running the latest version. This not only ensures compatibility with the latest tools but also keeps your site secure.
  • Update Themes and Plugins: Check that your theme and all plugins are up-to-date. Outdated themes or plugins can cause compatibility issues or conflicts with GTM or GA4.
  • Create a Full Backup: Before learning how to add code to header in WordPress (or to any other space), it’s crucial to have a recent backup. Use a reliable backup plugin or your hosting provider’s feature to create a full backup of your site, including the database, themes, plugins, and media files.
WordPress Update

Checking for Compatibility with Themes and Plugins

  • Test on a Staging Site: If possible, test the integration on a staging site first. This helps identify any conflicts or issues before going live.
  • Compatibility Check: Some themes or plugins, especially those related to SEO or analytics, might have specific settings or features that could interfere with GTM or GA4. Review their documentation or check with the developers for any known compatibility issues.
  • WordPress pages how to change for Code Integration: If you’re looking to add custom code, understanding how to change WordPress pages is crucial. This knowledge is essential not just for adding tracking codes like GTM or GA4 but also for overall site customization.
  • Plugin Support: Ensure that any plugins you plan to use for the integration are compatible with your version of WordPress, as well as with your theme and other plugins.

By carefully preparing your WordPress site, you can create a stable and compatible environment for getting to know how to add Google Analytics code in WordPress. This proactive approach helps avoid potential problems and ensures that your GTM and GA4 integration provides accurate and reliable data for your website analytics.

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Method 1: Adding Elements Directly to WordPress Theme Files

Adding Google Tag Manager (GTM) or Google Analytics 4 (GA4) elemets directly to your WordPress theme files is a straightforward approach. However, it’s important to really learn how to add tracking code to WordPress to avoid any issues. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Add Snippets to header.php or footer.php

  • Locate the Code Snippet: First, get the GTM or GA4 snippet from your Google account.
  • Access Theme Files:
    • In your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Appearance’ > ‘Theme Editor’.
    • Select the active theme from the list on the right.
  • Edit header.php or footer.php:
    • Find header.php or footer.php in the theme files list. The choice depends on where you are instructed to place the code (usually in the header).
    • Click on the file to open the editor.
  • Insert the Element:
    • Place the GTM or GA4 code snippet as instructed by Google. Usually, GA4 codes go right after the opening <head> tag, and GTM codes just after the opening <body> tag.
    • Be careful not to overwrite or remove any existing materials.
  • Save Changes:
    • After inserting, save your changes by clicking ‘Update File’.

The Importance of Using a Child Theme to Prevent Losses on Theme Updates

  • Avoiding Overwrites: When you update a WordPress theme, it overwrites the theme files. If you add the code directly to the parent theme’s header.php or footer.php, you will lose the changes when the theme updates.
  • Using a Child Theme: To prevent this, use a child theme. A child theme inherits the functionality of the parent theme but allows you to make changes to theme files without losing them on updates.
  • How to Set Up: If you don’t have a child theme, you can create one or use a child theme generator. Once set up, replicate the header.php or footer.php file in your child theme and add the elements there.

By following these steps and using a child theme, you can safely train how to add code to head in WordPress. This method ensures that your tracking and analytics setup remains intact, even when you update your theme, providing continuous data collection for your site analytics.

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Method 2: Using Plugins for Code Insertion

Plugins are all the juice! You can integrate Hubspot with WordPress with one and learn how to add widgets to WordPress with another.

For those who prefer not to edit theme files directly, WordPress offers plugins specifically designed for inserting snippets like GTM or GA4. They provide a user-friendly interface and ensure that your code persists through theme updates.

Introduction to Plugins that Facilitate Code Insertion

Plugins like “Insert Headers and Footers” are popular choices for easily adding snippets to your WordPress site. They allow you to insert any code or script, including Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager, without needing to edit your theme files directly.

How to Install and Use These Plugins to Add GTM or GA4 Elements

  • Installing the Plugin:
    • In your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Plugins’ > ‘Add New’.
    • Search for “Insert Headers and Footers” or a similar plugin.
    • Click ‘Install Now’ and then ‘Activate’ the plugin.
  • Accessing Plugin Settings:
    • Once activated, navigate to the plugin’s settings. This can typically be found under ‘Settings’ in your WordPress dashboard.
  • Inserting the Code:
    • In the plugin settings, you will find fields to insert scripts in the header, body, or footer of your site.
    • Copy and paste your GTM or GA4 snippet into the appropriate section as instructed by Google. For example, GA4 code usually goes in the header, while GTM might require the materials in both the header and body sections.
    • Save or update the settings to apply the changes.
  • Testing the Integration:
    • After adding the code, check to ensure that it’s working correctly. You can use tools provided by Google or check the page source to see if changes appear in the site’s HTML.

Using a plugin to learn how to add Google Analytics code to WordPress is an efficient and less technical method compared to editing theme files. It’s ideal for users who aren’t comfortable with coding or for those who want a quick and straightforward way to manage scripts on their WordPress site. 

Additionally, this method protects your changes from being overwritten by theme updates, ensuring the longevity of your tracking and analytics setup.

WordPress Plugins

Method 3: Using GTM to Manage Snippets

Using Google Tag Manager (GTM) simplifies managing and deploying marketing and analytics tags on your WordPress site without editing site code.

Setting Up GTM:

  • Create a GTM Account: Sign in at the Google Tag Manager website with your Google account, create an account with your company’s name, and set up a container for your tags, naming it after your website.

Adding GTM to WordPress:

  • Direct Insertion: Add the GTM container code to your theme’s header.php and body.php files, or use a child theme.
  • Using a Plugin: Alternatively, use plugins like “Insert Headers and Footers” to insert the GTM code without editing theme files.

Managing Tags in GTM:

  • Add and Configure Tags: In the GTM dashboard, add new tags (like Google Analytics) and set triggering rules.
  • Testing and Publishing: Test tags in GTM’s preview mode and publish them to go live on your site.
  • Ongoing Management: GTM allows for easy addition, updating, and disabling of tags.

GTM offers a streamlined, error-reducing solution for managing multiple tags, maintaining a clean and efficient website setup.

Verifying Your Insertion:

After installing Google Tag Manager (GTM) or Google Analytics 4 (GA4) code on your WordPress site, it’s crucial to verify that the installation is correct and that the element is functioning properly. This ensures that you’re accurately tracking user interactions and gathering data.

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Tools and Methods to Confirm that GTM or GA4 Code is Properly Installed and Running

  • Google Tag Assistant:
    • Use Google Tag Assistant, a Chrome extension, to verify the installation of GTM and GA4. It shows whether the tags are firing correctly on your site.
    • Navigate to your site and click the Tag Assistant icon in your browser to see the status of your tags.
  • Real-Time Reports in GA4:
    • In GA4, go to the ‘Real-time’ report to check if the analytics code is collecting data. Browse your site after opening this report and look for active users, which indicates it’s is working.
  • GTM Preview Mode:
    • Use GTM’s built-in preview mode to test your tags. This mode allows you to simulate tag firing and troubleshoot any issues before publishing the tags live.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Code Installation

  • Code Not Firing:
    • If tags are not firing, ensure that you’ve placed the GTM container code correctly in your WordPress site, either directly in theme files or via a plugin.
    • Check for any typos or errors in the snippet.
  • Conflicting Plugins:
    • Some WordPress plugins, especially caching or security plugins, may interfere with GTM or GA4 code. Try disabling such plugins temporarily and cleaning server and website cache to see if that resolves the issue.
  • Incorrect Tag Configuration in GTM:
    • In GTM, ensure that your tags are set up correctly with the right trigger conditions. Incorrect triggers can prevent tags from firing.
  • Browser Issues:
    • Test your website in different browsers to rule out browser-specific issues. Ensure that any browser extensions aren’t blocking the code.
  • Check Console Errors:
    • Use your browser’s developer tools to check the console for any JavaScript errors that might be affecting the GTM or GA4 elements.

This verification process is essential for accurate data analysis and for making informed decisions based on website performance metrics.

WordPress Issues

Security Considerations When Adding Third-Party Elements to Your Site

When adding third-party code like Google Tag Manager or custom HTML to your site, prioritize security with these key considerations:

  • Source Validation: Use code, scripts, or plugins from reputable sources, ensuring they are regularly updated and maintained.
  • Access and Permissions: Restrict editing to trusted administrators and grant minimal necessary permissions.
  • Regular Updates and Audits: Keep all third-party code up-to-date and conduct periodic reviews to remove or replace outdated scripts.
  • Web Application Firewall (WAF): Utilize a WAF for protection against attacks and for active monitoring.
  • Regular Backups: Maintain frequent backups to restore your site in case of security issues.
  • Staging Environment Testing: Test new elements in a staging environment before going live to identify potential issues.
  • Caution with Script Permissions: Understand each script’s capabilities, especially those interacting with the database or modifying site content.
  • Secure Coding Practices: Ensure custom code adheres to secure practices, including data validation and sanitization.

Adhering to these guidelines helps mitigate risks and maintain the integrity and trustworthiness of your site while adding third-party functionalities.

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Where Do I Put Custom HTML Code in WordPress?

For small HTML snippets, use the ‘Custom HTML’ widget found under ‘Appearance’ > ‘Widgets’. To include HTML in your content, use the ‘Custom HTML’ block in the Gutenberg page or post editor. For advanced placement, edit theme files like header.php or footer.php, preferably using a child theme to prevent losing changes during theme updates.

How to Add Google Tag Manager Code in WordPress?

To add Google Tag Manager elements in WordPress, you can either manually insert the code snippets into your theme files (the first part after the opening <head> tag in header.php, and the second part after the opening <body> tag) or use plugins like “Insert Headers and Footers” or “WP Insert Code,” which allow you to add elements without editing theme files.

How to Add Code to Body Tag in WordPress?

To add elements to the body tag in WordPress, either edit the header.php file of your theme and insert the code after the opening <body> tag or use a plugin like “Insert Headers and Footers” to add everything without editing theme files.

How to Add Schema Code in WordPress?

To add schema in WordPress, either manually insert it into the HTML using the ‘Custom HTML’ block in the page or post editor, or add it to the header.php file for site-wide schema. Alternatively, use SEO plugins like ‘Yoast SEO’, ‘Rank Math’, or ‘Schema Pro’ for easier management of schema markup without manual editing.


When integrating third-party tools like Google Tag Manager or adding custom HTML to your site, prioritize security. Choose trusted sources for elements, limit access permissions, update and audit third-party scripts, and use security measures like Web Application Firewalls. 

Test new elements in a staging environment, back up your site regularly, and follow secure coding practices. These steps are vital for your site’s security, user trust, and optimal performance, ensuring you enhance your website’s capabilities without compromising its security and stability.

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