Adding RefTagger to a WordPress Blog

WordPress Logo WordPress is one of the most popular and powerful blogging platforms. It comes in two flavors: the hosted version (i.e., and the self-hosted version (i.e., This tutorial addresses how to add RefTagger to a blog since it is currently not possible to add it to a blog. bloggers, jump to the bottom to find out how you can help to change that.

There are two ways to set up RefTagger on your blog: (1) use the plugin or (2) set it up manually. The plugin is the best option since it keeps the code separate from your theme, which allows you to change themes without having to reinstall the code. It also enables you to keep up to date easily with future changes and feature additions to RefTagger with WordPress’s simply one-click plugin updates. But some of you may prefer the control of the manual route or may just not know how to find your WordPress files via FTP.

So take your pick with either of the below methods.

Method 1: Using the Plugin

To use the plugin, you need FTP access to your site’s files—at least for now. With WordPress 2.7, you will be able to browse and install plugins right from the admin panel!

If you’re like me and happen to be using WordPress 2.7 Beta 2, adding a new plugin like RefTagger is amazingly easy.

  1. Simply navigate to Plugins > Add New (i.e., and search for RefTagger. RefTagger should show up as the top search result.
  2. Click “Install” on the far right, and then click “Install Now” in the window that opens. It takes just a second or two to install, and then you’re taken to a screen where you can activate it.
  3. Click “Activate Plugin,” and then navigate to the RefTagger page under the Settings menu to customize it, if you’d like.

If you’re playing it safe and running WordPress 2.6.3 or earlier, here’s what you need to do to set it up.

  1. Go to, and click “Download.” Save the zip folder, and then extract the contents.
  2. Fire up your favorite FTP program. (FileZilla is a nice free option.) Then navigate to the place where you installed WordPress. It’s probably in a folder called “public_html” or “www.” Locate the “wp-content” folder, and then open it. You’ll see a “plugins” folder inside. Open it, and then copy the RefTagger.php file that you extracted from the zip folder into that folder.
  3. Log in to your WordPress admin panel, and then go to your Plugins page. Find RefTagger in the list of inactivate plugins, and then click “Activate.”
  4. Navigate to the RefTagger page under the Settings menu to customize it, if you’d like.

Method 2: Adding the Code Manually

  1. Log in to your WordPress admin panel, navigate to the “Design” page, and click on “Theme Editor.”
  2. Find your theme’s “Footer” template, and click on it to open it.
  3. Scroll to the bottom, paste the customizable RefTagger code immediately before the </body> tag, and click “Update File.”
  4. Navigate to the RefTagger page under the Settings menu to customize it, if you’d like. users, are you feeling a little left out? We want to help, but there’s only so much we can do. The good folks at are willing to consider adding built-in support for RefTagger, but they need to see that there is enough interest. One of the things that they look at is the number of times that our plugin has been downloaded and installed. If you have friends using, encourage them to download and use the plugin.

Finally, a word to those of you who create WordPress themes or help churches and ministries get websites set up with WordPress: please consider adding RefTagger as a standard part of your theme or site set-up process. It’s a great way to improve the service you provide to people—at no cost to you and with very little effort.


  1. And after you install it be sure to rate how you like the plugin for WordPress so that they’ll incorporate it into for the rest of us!

  2. Good point that I forgot to mention. Thanks, Mike!

  3. WordPress is now a billion dollar industry. I love the flexibility it offers and all the themes and plug-ins make it so attractive. A Stumble for your efforts :)

  4. Excellent tool. Brilliant marketing on your behalf as well. Provide a value added service and do a small plug for Logos! Win-Win.

  5. Awesome PlugIn, guys! “Spreading The Fragrance” Christian Magazine (STFMAG) has just installed RefTagger and it works awesome! To see how we customized the CSS, check out
    May God be glorified as RefTagger SPREADS!

  6. Thanks for posting a link to your site. Looks great! Blessings!

  7. I have a few blogs, one is still on 2.6.3 Reftagger works awesome. On another I upgraded to 2.7.1 and it does not work. Am I doing something wrong?

  8. Phil Gons says:

    Hmm. It’s working fine for me on 2.7.1. Are you using the plugin, or the manual method?

  9. Hi, can you please help me. I’m trying to get reftagger to work on my blog. I think everything is installed correctly. I used the automatic install option and the plugin is active, but my verses are not reftagged.
    I’m running the latest version of wordpress.
    Help me Phil Gons, you’re my only hope!

  10. Hmm. Not sure what the problem is if the plugin is installed and activated. It should just work. Have you tried the manual route? I’m curious if that would produce different results.
    Perhaps the easiest way for me to help you is if you create a temporary admin account for me so I can see what’s going on. If you feel comfortable doing this, you can email the information to
    Let me know how I can help!

  11. Thanks Phil! You are the man!
    I manually added the code to the footer and it works.
    It wasn’t as easy as I wanted it, but I’m glad it’s up and running.
    FYI- Reftagger was the main reason I moved my blog from to self-hosting. It’s such a powerful feature. I hope you reach your 1 billion Bible verses served this year!

  12. Phil Gons says:

    Arlen, glad you got it working!

  13. Trying to use the plugin install routine from within WP 2.7.1 and get the following error:
    Fatal error: Cannot redeclare class pclzip in /home/content/d/e/s/desteele/html/blog/wp-admin/includes/class-pclzip.php on line 172
    Am I sunk?

  14. Nevermind…manually added the folder to my plugins and it works.
    Thanks. :-)

  15. I’ve seen this problem before. It’s probably an issue with another plugin. The WP Automatic Upgrade plugin used to have this problem. You’d have to deactivate it before you were able to install other plugins. Not sure what the culprit might be.

  16. Glad that did it for you!

  17. Excellent plugin… I’m using WordPress 2.7 and the install went flawlessly, just like the instructions said it would. I am trying to change versions in the plugin editor and am not having much luck… it seems to be stuck on the ESV version and I would like to use the NKJV version. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  18. Thanks, David. I’m not sure what to suggest on switching the version. I’m using the plugin with WordPress, and it switches fine for me. Are you sure you’re switching the “Bible version” rather than the “Libronix Bible version”?

  19. Not sure what I was doing wrong, but it is working now… thanks for the help!

  20. You’re welcome, David. Glad it’s working!

  21. I just updated my personal WP install to 2.8, then came across this plug-in. Installed it, doesn’t seem to be working. Just a heads up.

  22. Anyone? RefTagger working in WordPress 2.8 help?

  23. It works fine for me in 2.8. What troubles are you having? Have you tried both methods?

  24. I have tried both methods. It just does nothing. Verse references don’t get changed. It’s activated, options are set, it just doesn’t do anything.

  25. Yep – not working on WordPress 2.8

  26. Phil Gons says:

    Works fine for me in WP 2.8. See for example “Savior in Titus.”
    So WP 2.8 is probably not the problem. There’s got to be some other conflict. Have you tried both the plugin and the manual method?
    If you give me a link to a problem post, I can take a look and see if there is some code around your Bible references that is interfering.

  27. Phil Gons says:

    Corby, can you send me a link to a problem post so I can take a look at it?

  28. Can we add this to Blogger somehow? Or is it wordpress only?

  29. You can added to it just about any site you want, as long as you can add code to your sites footer. Here are instructions for adding RefTagger to a Blogger blog.

  30. I’m also not getting refs to work under 2.8. Any known issues?
    Example is:

  31. Hmm. There have been a few reports like yours, but I’m not able to reproduce the problems on any of my WordPress 2.8 blogs. I wonder if it is a conflict with another plugin. Are you using the plugin, or are you adding the code manually to your footer?

  32. Hello. I’m kind of new to WordPress and I’m trying to follow your tutorial, but I’m having trouble.
    I’m running WordPress simply from the website, no offline content of whatever. I want to add the HTML for RefTagger, but I can’t find where to edit the footer.

  33. does not allow JavaScript. Our plugin is for the self-hosted version of WordPress (which you’ll find online at Unfortunately there’s no way to use RefTagger with

  34. I was having trouble with both the auto install and manual install of the plugin with WordPress. I found that the script was not being inserted into my page, because I have omitted this line of code from my custom wordpress theme.
    php wp_footer();
    I hope that this helps those with a similar trouble.

  35. roderickm says:

    Thanks for the tip, Ben. Adding the following line to my existing template was just the ticket after installing Reftagger in WordPress 2.9.1.
    <?php do_action(‘wp_footer’); ?>