Project template for Wordpress 5 projects with Composer

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5.x-dev 2021-07-20 08:01 UTC

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Last update: 2022-05-20 09:52:19 UTC


This project template provides a starter kit for managing your site dependencies with Composer.


First you need to install Composer.

Note: The instructions below refer to the global Composer installation. You might need to replace composer with php composer.phar (or similar) for your setup.

After that you can create the project:

composer create-project wp-composer/wordpress-project:5.x-dev some-dir --no-interaction

With composer require ... you can download new dependencies to your installation.

cd some-dir
composer require wpackagist-plugin/really-simple-ssl

What does the template do?

When installing the given composer.json some tasks are taken care of:

  • Wordpress will be installed in the web-directory.
  • Autoloader is implemented to use the generated composer autoloader in vendor/autoload.php
  • Plugins (packages of type wordpress-plugin) will be placed in web/wp-content/plugins/
  • Plugins (packages of type wordpress-plugin) will be placed in web/wp-content/mu-plugins/
  • Theme (packages of type wordpress-muplugin) will be placed in web/wp-content/themes/
  • Creates environment variables based on your .env file. See .env.example.

Updating Wordpress Core

This project will attempt to keep all of your Wordpress Core files up-to-date.

Follow the steps below to update your core files.

  1. Run composer update "johnpbloch/wordpress-core" --with-dependencies to update Wordpress Core and its dependencies.
  2. Run git diff to determine if any custom changes are reverted.
    1. Commit everything all together in a single commit, so web will remain in sync with the core when checking out branches or running git bisect.
    2. In the event that there are non-trivial conflicts in step 2, you may wish to perform these steps on a branch, and use git merge to combine the updated core files with your customized files. This facilitates the use of a three-way merge tool such as kdiff3. This setup is not necessary if your changes are simple; keeping all of your modifications at the beginning or end of the file is a good strategy to keep merges easy.


Should I commit the plugins or themes I download?

Composer recommends no. They provide argumentation against but also workrounds if a project decides to do it anyway.

How can I apply patches to downloaded plugins?

If you need to apply patches (depending on the project being modified, a pull request is often a better solution), you can do so with the composer-patches plugin.

To add a patch to Wordpress plugin really-simple-ssl insert the patches section in the extra section of composer.json:

"extra": {
    "patches": {
        "wpackagist-plugin/really-simple-ssl": {
            "Patch description": "URL or local path to patch"

This will also work for Wordpress core patches.

"extra": {
    "patches": {
        "johnpbloch/wordpress-core" : {
             "Issue #1486: Alter how Twenty Twenty-One sets up Dark Mode support.": "https://patch-diff.githubusercontent.com/raw/WordPress/wordpress-develop/pull/1486.patch"

How do I specify a PHP version ?

This project supports PHP 7.4 as minimum version (see Wordpress requirements), however it's possible that a composer update will upgrade some package that will then require PHP 7.4+.

To prevent this you can add this code to specify the PHP version you want to use in the config section of composer.json:

"config": {
    "sort-packages": true,
    "platform": {
        "php": "7.4.21"