Today we do a review of the WordPress plugin Meta Box. This is one of the most popular plugins for adding custom fields and meta-data. Don’t believe he’s that popular? According to the WordPress plugin repository, it has already been installed on over 100,000 websites. That’s a lot!
Meta Box is mainly used by developers and agencies who want to extend the functionality of their themes. Still, anyone can install this plugin and benefit from it. Meta Box was launched in 2010 as the first plugin to add custom fields for developers.
We’ll look at this plugin from a non-developer’s perspective. If you are not a developer, we hope we will show you the valuable features of Meta Box.
You probably know enough about custom fields without us if you’re a developer. Still, we hope you will find helpful information about the functions and extensions of Meta Box in this article.
What are arbitrary fields?
We have an excellent lesson on this topic that gives a basic understanding of Custom Fields in WordPress.
Arbitrary (or custom) fields allow you to store additional information in each WordPress entry. Yeah, it could sound more fabulous, but it offers you many incredible opportunities. For example, you can use custom fields to automatically add schema Markup to your WordPress posts.
Many of your favorite plugins and themes are built, at least partly on the power of custom fields. They hide it behind their interface. If you remove custom fields, your life in WordPress will become much more complicated.
The Meta Box Premium version adds 20 additional extensions, and MB Custom Table stands out among them. Why MB: CT is a tremendous competitive advantage for our site? Because, unlike other MetaData management plugins, Meta Box Custom Table allows us to store data in a custom table instead of relying on the default WordPress Post/User/Term meta table. Thus, all meta values are stored in a single row, while each column becomes a meta key.
In simple words, reducing the number of rows in our website’s MySQL database is possible, preventing typical slowdown problems when we have a huge site.
In addition, using a custom table allows us to store the data in one place, making it easy to view, edit, import and export.
How to install and use Meta Box?
If you want to try the Meta Box plugin in its free version, download it from WordPress.org like any other free plugin. The alternative is to add it from the WordPress Dashboard using the search engine in the Add New Plugin section.
Once this is done, we will see the options when editing an Entry or creating a new one. If we do not find the options at the end of editing our content, then we must activate the display within WordPress by following these two simple steps:
We remember that Meta Box free version does NOT provide an interface for creating Custom Fields for the WordPress Dashboard. Instead, it uses the Online Code Generator, whose interface is practically identical to the one included natively in the Premium version.
Through this, we will obtain a code that saves us from programming in PHP manually, although we must enter it in the functions.php file of our Theme. The comprehensive usage guide is located here.
If this mechanic is a problem for us, then we better consider the premium version that allows us to download Meta Box AIO and take advantage of the graphical interface in our WordPress. In the following video, we see the precise instructions for its operation.
MetaBox Premium with AIO and all paid extensions are included in our Managed WordPress service. This plugin is part of a package of professional plugins selected by us that hope to turn your site into a professional website of excellence.
Meta Box Extensions
Meta Box has kindly provided us with all its premium extensions. These are 13 premium extensions. We did not have time to try them; we chose only the most interesting ones and checked out several free extensions.
- Meta Box Builder
Meta Box Builder is our favorite extension because, unlike other extensions, you can add custom fields without knowledge of PHP. This means that even non-developers can do it. After installation, you will see the following interface:
As you can see, we’ve created a test custom field for guest authors. Instead of creating a new account for each author, you can add their information through custom fields. After saving the changes, we see the following on the record page:
It’s that simple!
Here’s what we did after digging a bit:
You can add about 43 custom fields with Builder and choose where the new meta boxes should appear: in the post, page, or both.
Therefore, if you are not a developer but want to start using custom fields, then you need to install this extension or learn PHP.
2. Meta Box Geolocation
Meta Box Geolocation makes it easy to add address data to a record. Instead of typing in each element of the address, you can start typing, and the plugin will make a request in Google Maps and automatically fill in all the fields. Just check the correctness, and you’re done.
Meta Box Geolocation makes everything easier – you don’t need to create a database or install the Google Maps API.
3. Meta Box Yoast SEO
Meta Box Yoast SEO is a free extension that allows you to get a more accurate assessment of content analysis from Yoast. This is possible because Yoast can see content in custom fields.
By default, Yoast will only analyze the main content of your posts. If you use a lot of custom fields, the result will be inaccurate. Expanding Meta Box Yoast SEO will fix this.
4. Meta Box Conditional Logic
Meta Box Conditional Logic is a premium extension that simplifies fields by applying conditional logic. Look at this in action:
For example, you can demonstrate different fields for physical and digital products. Or any other use of conditional logic you come up with.
5. Meta Box Settings Page
If you are a developer of themes or plugins, then this extension is just for you! Meta Box Settings Page will help you create a detailed settings page using the Meta Box syntax construct. The extension should drastically reduce the time it takes to create a user-friendly interface.
For example, here’s the theme setup page:
It is comfortable and beautiful.
Other premium extensions:
In addition to those that we have already described, such extensions are also available:
- Meta Box REST API (free) — substitute all custom field values into REST API responses
- Meta Box Admin Columns (Premium) — add custom fields to the admin screen
- Meta Box Term Meta (premium) — add metadata to categories, tags, or other taxonomy
- Meta Box Custom Post Type (free) – create and manage user posts easily
- Meta Box Text Limiter (free) — limit the number of characters or words that can be entered in the field
- Meta Box Group (premium) — organize your work better with repeating groups of custom fields
- Meta Box Template (Premium) — use templates to more easily define custom meta boxes and fields
- Meta Box Tooltip (premium) — add helpful information to custom fields with beautiful hints. We believe this will help developers make their themes and plugins more user-friendly.
- Meta Box Tabs (Premium) – simplifies the creation of tabs for meta-boxes
- Meta Box Columns (Premium) – Displaying fields beautifully is now more accessible by placing them in 12 columns
- Meta Box Include/Exclude(Premium) – allows you to show and hide meta boxes by ID, template, taxonomy, or user-defined function
Price & Documentation
The basic functions of this plugin are 100% free.
All premium extensions range from $19 to $29 for an unlimited number of websites + a year of updates and technical support.
Meta Box has excellent documentation. The basics of the plugin have many articles, just like every extension. If you are already familiar with PHP, you can quickly learn how to work with Meta Box.
We know how essential custom fields are for themes and plugins, and Meta Box will allow you to implement them unusually quickly. This plugin with extensions will significantly simplify your life if you are a developer. Don’t miss out!