WordPress Plugin Featured Posts with thumbnails: highlighting your best articles

Have you ever written a really great article – in which you invested a lot of time and personal knowledge – and as time goes by you see it get forgotten in your blog archive? After managing a blog for a while, you may have the desire to dedicate a section to your most noteworthy articles, so they don’t get lost and forgotten amongst the pages of your blog.

There are already lots of plugins that let you showcase articles, but after having tried some I realized they’re not very flexible: they typically let you show the most read or most commented articles without giving you the possibility to directly choose which articles to display.

If you wanted to showcase an article even though it’s not one of the most commented or most read?

If you wanted to decide how many of the highlighted articles to show? And maybe even choose how they’re organized?

An example: Let’s assume that you want to visualize ten articles, ordered at random, from a list of articles that you’ve chosen to highlight.

What we need is something much more functional than the classic sticky posts that WordPress offers, so, taking advantage of our blog’s re-styling process, a few months ago I decided to develop a plugin that meets all the needs described above.

Featured Posts Plugin with thumbnails

This plugin let’s you add – to any spot on your blog’s sidebar – a section dedicated to the articles you’d like to highlight. How it works is very simple: once it’s installed and activated you can decide which articles to add to the highlights section, how many to display, the display order mode and the size of the image retrieved (it takes the first image in the article and automatically resizes it using the “timthumb.php” script).

Installation of the Featured Posts Plugin

The installation, as with all WordPress plugins, is extremely easy. After you’ve downloaded the file, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Extract the archive “featured-posts” to your “plugins” folder (/wp-content/plugins/).
  2. Activate the Plugin “Featured posts”.
  3. On the WordPress Administration Panel click on the menu: Aspetto > Widget.
  4. Drag the Widget “Featured posts” to your blog’s sidebar in the spot you’d like to show the section dedicated to highlighted articles.
  5. Configure the various options available in the plugin.

Administration of the Featured Posts Widget (highlighted articles)

A small control panel allows you, in this order, to:

  1. Specify a title to be shown on the sidebar.
  2. Choose the number of articles to display in this section.
  3. Choose the way in which the articles will be ordered.
  4. Define the dimensions of the image that will be created.

Below you can see a screenshot of the Widget control panel.

Featured Posts Widget in action

To add an article to the list of highlighted articles all you need to do is select it in the box you’ll find on the article management page, as seen below (click to enlarge the image):

add post featured post small

A live preview of the widget at work is available on our blog’s sidebar, and below I’ve added a screenshot showing the Featured Posts widget in action:

Featured Post in action

Use the widget to your theme as a function

This plugin can be used as a widget or as a function hard coded in your theme.

As for the function, the usage is as it follows:

$args = array(
       'title'	      => 'Featured Posts',
       'numberposts'  => 5,
       'orderby'      => 'DESC',
       'widththumb'   => 73,
       'heightthumb'  => 73,
       'beforetitle'  => '<h3>',
       'aftertitle'   => '</h3>'
featured_posts_YIW( $args );


By default:

  • the title is: “Featured Posts”;
  • the posts shown are: 5;
  • thumbnail’s width and height is: 73 pixel;
  • the title is wrapped with an: H3 tag.



(string) Set the text and style of the Page list’s heading.


(integer) Sets the number of Posts to display.


(string) Sort posts by one of various values (separated by space), including:

  • ‘author’ – Sort by the numeric author IDs;
  • ‘category’ – Sort by the numeric category IDs;
  • ‘content’ – Sort by content;
  • ‘date’ – Sort by creation date;
  • ‘ID’ – Sort by numeric post ID;
  • ‘menu_order’ – Sort by the menu order. Only useful with pages and attachments;
  • ‘mime_type’ – Sort by MIME type. Only useful with attachments;
  • ‘modified’ – Sort by last modified date;
  • ‘name’ – Sort by stub;
  • ‘parent’ – Sort by parent ID;
  • ‘password’ – Sort by password;
  • ‘rand’ – Randomly sort results;
  • ‘status’ – Sort by status;
  • ‘title’ – Sort by title;
  • ‘type’ – Sort by type.

**widththumb – heightthumb**

(integer) Sets thumbnail’s width and height.

**beforetitle – aftertitle**

(string) Sets wrap tag for the title.

Personalizing the plugin

The plugin provides the following CSS classes that can be adapted to your blog’s aesthetic characteristics:

  • .widget_featured-posts {Defines the background image of the widget’s title}
  • .widget_featured-posts li {For each element in the list it defines: minimum height, margins and padding, character dimension and lower border}
  • .widget_featured-posts li:last-child {Eliminates the border of the last element in the list}
  • .widget_featured-posts img {Adds a border to the images}
  • .widget_featured-posts img.alignleft {Specifies the image alignment}
  • .widget_featured-posts li a {Defines the color of hypertext links}
  • .widget_featured-posts li:hover {Defines a background color when you hover over list elements}
  • .widget_featured-posts li:hover img {Defines a border color when you mouse over images}

It’s possible to use personalized images by adding them to the plugin’s “images” folder (/wp-content/plugins/featured-posts/images/).

Internationalizing the plugin

The widget is localized for the translation of all text present, it has been released in both Italian and English.

Inside, the source files (language/follow-us.pot) are present so anyone can generate dictionary files for their specific language.

Languages available

Subscribe Plugin Newsletter

Sign up for our Newsletter Plugin and remain informed about news concerning its development and related improvements.

Support Forum

For any clarifications, suggestions, or criticism you can leave a comment on Forum Support.

Official Page on wordpress.org

The plugin has been added to wordpress.org plugins hosting directory and you can also find that at the following address.

Release notes

Version 1.5

  • fixed: timthumb vulnerability

Version 1.4

  • Add: ability to use the plugin as a widget and as a function within the template
  • Add: documentation to use the widget as a function
  • Add: possibility to using the image provided by the function “the_post_thumbnail()” if it is available

Version 1.3

  • Add: brazilian language (thanks to Fernando Lopes)
  • Fixed: problem with the float image

Version 1.2

  • Fixed: problem with the draft post

Version 1.1

  • Fixed: resolved conflict with wordpress sticky post

Version 1.0 (Initial Version)

  • Italian language
  • English language
  • Ability to choose the number of articles displayed on the sidebar
  • Ability to choose thumbnail dimensions
  • Ordering:
    • Random
    • By title
    • By date
    • By author
    • By last modification
    • by ID


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Versione: 1.5
Pubblicato: 01 February 2010
Dimensione: 114.68 kB
Download: Plugin Featured Post With Thumbnail

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The Author

Nando is administrator of Edi Group, a Sicilian web agency founded in 2005. He deals with the development of web applications in php language and the implementation and administration of databases. And besides Microsoft Trainer with years of experience in regional and private training courses as a designer and lecturer.

Author's web site | Other articles written by

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