How to Add Custom Login Error Messages in WordPress using functions.php

In this tutorial, we will learn how to add custom login error messages in WordPress. By modifying the functions.php file of your child theme, you can display personalized error messages to users during the login process. This tutorial is suitable for beginners and experienced developers, and we will avoid the use of plugins. We’ll also cover how to make the error message text translatable for multilingual websites.

Before proceeding with any customizations in WordPress, it’s essential to set up a child theme. A child theme acts as a safe and efficient way to make modifications without affecting the parent theme. If you haven’t set up a child theme yet, follow this tutorial on How to Create a Child Theme for Customization. It will guide you through the process and ensure that your customizations remain intact even after theme updates.

Add a Custom Login Error Message Function

To get started, locate and open the functions.php file of your WordPress child theme. Inside the functions.php file, add the following code snippet:

function customize_login_errors( $error ) {
	$custom_error = __( 'Your custom error message goes here.', 'your-text-domain' );
	return $custom_error;
add_filter( 'login_errors', 'customize_login_errors' );
Code language: PHP (php)


  • We define the function customize_login_errors.
  • Customize the error message by using the __() function to make it translatable.
  • The second parameter of the __() function, 'your-text-domain', is a placeholder for your theme or plugin’s text domain. Replace it with the appropriate text domain.

Adding Styling to the Custom Error Message

To make your custom error message more visually appealing, you can apply some CSS styles to it. Modify the customize_login_errors function as follows:

function customize_login_errors( $error ) {
	$custom_error = '<span class="custom-error">' . __( 'Your custom error message goes here.', 'your-text-domain' ) . '</span>';
	return $custom_error;
add_filter( 'login_errors', 'customize_login_errors' );
Code language: PHP (php)


  • We added a span element with the class custom-error surrounding the custom error message.
  • The __() function is used to make the error message translatable within the HTML markup.

Adding CSS Styles

To add CSS styles to your custom error message, follow these steps:

  1. Open your theme’s style.css file or create a new custom CSS file. Make sure you are editing the style.css file of your child theme to add the CSS styles.
  2. Inside the CSS file, you can add the following code snippet:
.custom-error {
    display: block;
    color: #ff0000;
    font-size: 14px;
    margin-top: 10px;
Code language: CSS (css)

Save and Upload the Modified CSS File

Save the modified style.css file or your custom CSS file, and upload it to your WordPress child theme directory using FTP or your hosting provider’s file manager.

Refresh your WordPress login page, and you should now see the custom error message with the applied CSS styles.

That’s it! You’ve successfully learned how to add custom login error messages in WordPress using the functions.php file of your child theme. This allows you to provide personalized messages to users during the login process, enhancing their experience on your website. By following this tutorial, you’ve gained valuable insights into WordPress customization and can now create engaging and informative login error messages.

Keep exploring and experimenting with WordPress customization to make your website stand out. Remember to always use a child theme to protect your modifications and ensure they persist through theme updates.

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