What Are Custom Post Types and Custom Fields in WordPress?

Custom Post Types vs Custom Fields vs Custom Taxonomies

They are different things. Custom post types are creating entirely new types of posts (i.e. classes in object-oriented programming speak). While custom fields are used to add different kinds of fields to a post type, e.g. simple text, long paragraph, number, date, date time, select / choice, and so on.

What you most likely need is for custom fields functionality. However, there is possibility that you may want custom post types as well. If you use custom post types, certainly you’ll want to add custom fields as well. Otherwise your custom post type will not have any different behavior than regular WordPress posts.

Custom taxonomies on the other hand are what categories and tags are, and by custom it means you can create more like them. I like to think of a taxonomy as being a bunch of folders where I can store posts (or objects) inside. However, the folders are not strictly exclusive. I can put a post/object inside multiple folders.

Alternatives

Advanced Custom FieldsPodsToolsetMeta BoxWCK
Free version?YesYesNoYes
Starting price for pro$25100% free$69
Lifetime plan?Yes, lifetime updatesN/A, freeNo
Custom fields?Yes, 30+ built-in, extensibleYes, 18 built-in, extensibleYes, 20 built-in, extensibleYes,
Extensible custom field types?Yes, mostly paid, see Awesome ACFYesYes, mostly paid
Custom post types?NoYesYes
Bi-directional relationshipsAvailable with extensionYesYes
Supported by Elementor (Pro)YesYesYes
Gravity Forms integrationFree plugin
Popularity (June 2020)1m+, 4.9, 1,096 reviews90k+, 4.9, 297 reviews500k+, 4.9, 117 reviews

Advanced Custom Fields

To add custom post types, you’ll want to install Custom Post Type UI plugin also.

Should you use ACF? Let’s see what other people say about ACF vs Pods:

Pods

Notable features:

  • Bi-directional relationships. Unlike Advanced Custom Fields (Pro), pods are great with relationships and has built-in support for bi-directional relationships and is very good at that.
  • Advanced Content Types. Pods can store posts in regular WordPress wp_posts table. However, Pods have Advanced Content Types which stores posts in their own tables. This means they’re like “their own world”. There are limited use cases where this is useful, like database sharing and for getting additional performance for complex queries. For workloads like thousands of documents with querying simultaneously on multiple fields, this feature can be useful. Another alternative is using an entirely different database (e.g. MongoDB).
  • Good support in forums.

References:

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