How to Display a Random Testimonial or Post in WordPress

Set up a testimonials category — no need for a plugin.

There are a couple of plugins designed specifically for testimonials, but I didn’t want to use them; they use their own databases, and don’t keep with WordPress’ simplicity. If possible, the best way to work with WordPress is to use it’s built-in functionality.

I also wanted to have the testimonials as a category in WP, rather than as a separate plugin. This code will work for any type of category, not just a testimonial.

Here’s how to create a random post item in your sidebar:

  1. Create a Testimonials Category

    I created a category for testimonials. In this example, the category ID is 3

  2. Create the Query


    Let’s break down what is going on in the code above:

    1. Request one result (showposts=1)
    2. Define the category ID for testimonials (cat=3)
    3. Randomize the result (orderby=rand)
  3. Display the testimonial

    <li class="widget">
    	if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post();
    <h3><?php the_title() ?></h3>
    		<?php the_excerpt() ?>
    	<?php endwhile; endif; ?>
    <?php wp_reset_query(); ?>

With the simple code above, you can add testimonials to your WordPress website as a basic category, and have a random testimonial displayed in your sidebar.

To take it one step further, you can create a Testimonials template page, and have it as a static page on your website by simply having query_posts('cat=3).

Use Advanced Category Excluder

You can exclude the testimonials category from your sidebar category widget and many other places on the site without having to tear up your theme and add a lot of custom code. Simply download and install the Advanced Cagtegory Excluder (ACE) plugin for WordPress.

Note: I updated this post to be more relevant and simple. The original post was on 2/21/2008.

By Zack Katz

Zack Katz is the founder of GravityKit and TrustedLogin. He lives in Leverett, Massachusetts with his wife Juniper.

28 replies on “How to Display a Random Testimonial or Post in WordPress”

Hmm, I cant get it to work.

All I get it to do is to spew up all entries in the specified category. No randomness and no limit.

Any ideas?


Hi Mattias,

I had been having that problem as well for a bit, after the initial period where it was working. I’m not sure what made it work again!

If you’re having issues, test your query using phpMyAdmin and see what results you’re getting back. That’s always a great way to find out exactly what’s going on.

One thing I’m doing differently is using the great plugin The Excerpt Reloaded (, so instead of having the_excerpt(), I have wp_the_excerpt_reloaded().

Another thing you might want to try is adding the showposts parameter to your query_posts query. So it would be query_posts('p='.$test_id.'showposts=1');

Let me know how it goes!

@ zayn your method works and it’s cleaner but for the life of me I can’t get query() to handle the output correctly. I keep getting the same post displayed twice on the home page in two different styles. What I’m really trying to do is create a section for a specific category that will display one random post from that category but I just keep getting one post dispayed twice on the page

this is all I have before the loop query_posts(‘cat=7&showposts=1&orderby=rand’);

@zayn’s method is very good. But you can not apply it without thinking. @joe, you said that you do query_posts(’cat=7&showposts=1&orderby=rand’); The order in the query_posts matters. So what you do in there is 1st you choose all the posts from a certain category (7) then from all those post you choose just one by the default order which is by date, so you get the last post. After this you do random form one post which will always be 1

Thank you @zayn for your hint. I used your idea of just 2 word instead of a script with many many lines. A BIG thank you!

how can i get the post of the open category…

like i have category “Services” and wants to open the related post at the bottom of post.

e.g. i have posts, design service, development service, etc… and when i select the category tab… other post will display at bottom…

How can i get this… plz reply ungently…
on my email webmaster [at] naseerahmad [dot] com

warm regards,

Or Try 'rand', 'category_name' => SomeCategoryName, 'showposts' => 1)); if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>

I’d love to use this.  I just don’t know where to put the query code.  Then I’m assuming the testimonial code goes in the text widget?  Thanks for your help.

List all category ids, separated by a comma. Eg:

Hi there, this looks simple enough but im pretty new, please could someone tell me where to insert the code. Found this because I was pulling my hair out looking for a decent testimonial plugin, doing it this method seems a better solution. Thanks in advance

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