Design Custom Headers & Footers With This Free Elementor Plugin

Have you ever noticed that, when using a WordPress theme or page builder, you don’t have as much control over the header or footer as you would like? Sure, you can select from different alignment options and maybe embed a shopping cart icon or switch on search functionality, but is that enough? ?

When you’re in the business of building websites for clients, the last thing you want to do is give them a cookie cutter-looking website. You should do everything in your power to develop totally custom and impressive-looking designs for them. From top to bottom.

But to do that means altering the code in the header.php and footer.php files… and is that something you really want to mess around with? Wouldn’t it just be much easier if you could use the tools already at your disposal to give your WordPress sites unique headers and footers?

Thanks to Elementor and another handy plugin we’re about to discuss, you can!

How to Use the Header Footer Elementor Plugin for Greater Customization

There’s no denying how awesome it is to have WordPress themes available to speed up the website development and design processes. However, every WordPress theme comes with a limitation when it comes to the header and footer. It’s just how WordPress is built.

Most themes give users the options to choose the layout of the header:

They also offer the option to add different widgets to the footer along with additional informational bars:

If you want to create something custom here–especially if you want visitors’ first impressions of the site to be off the charts–then you have two options:

1. Create a child theme. Then edit the code in the header.php or footer.php files to build out your custom designs and layouts.

2. Use the Elementor page builder along with the Header Footer Elementor plugin and NavMenu Addon for Elementor plugin to simplify the whole thing.

Elementor Pro 2.0 will open up a number of additional widgets and capabilities. Design beautiful menu using Nav Menu widget and Header and Footer using theme builder.

Step-by-step illustration to achieve professional header and footer using all free resources  :

1. Activate the WordPress Plugins

To start, make sure all the plugins you need for this are activated:

To clarify, you will need the three Elementor plugins from the screenshot above.

It’s important to note that, as of right now, the Header-Footer plugin isn’t universally compatible with all WordPress themes. Currently, if you use one of the following, you will be able to use this workflow to design custom headers and footers:

You can still create the custom header and footer content with other themes; however, it’s going to require a bit more work (which I’ll explain below). That said, if this custom content is really important to your clients, be sure to use one of the supported themes in order to streamline this process.

2. Set Up the Header or Footer Template.

Under the Appearance menu in WordPress, click on Header Footer Builder.


Select Add New.

  • Name the template.
  • Choose whether you want to create a Header or Footer template.
  • Check the box to add this template to the Elementor Canvas page attribute. This is required if you’re not using one of the themes mentioned above; otherwise, it’s not.
  • Set the template to Elementor Canvas if you’re not using one of the supported themes. Otherwise, this isn’t necessary as the header or footer you’ve created will automatically appear on your pages.
  • If you’d like to do away with the header or footer completely, check the boxes to do so.

Hit the Publish button when you’re done.

3. Create the Header or Footer Template in Elementor

Next, go to Edit with Elementor. From here, you can build your header or footer template from-scratch.

First, drag-and-drop the columns element into the interface on the right. Then set the number of columns you want to work with.

Once you have the framework established, fill in the remaining elements. Again, simply find them on the left and drag-and-drop them into place.

4. Add the Navigation Element to Your Template

Something to note here is that the free Elementor plugin does not come with a menu widget. It makes sense when you think about the fact that it requires an add-on to even be able to create or edit the header in the first place. So, in order to add an actual navigation to your new header (or footer), you will need one more plugin:- NavMenu Addon for Elementor

Once the NavMenu Addon plugin is installed, it will open up a totally new set of header elements in Elementor:

As with other elements in Elementor, all you need to do is drag-and-drop the preferred navigation element into the interface on the right. So long as you have a menu created under the Appearance > Menus tab in WordPress, your new menu will now populate within the template.

If not, return to WordPress and create a new one so you have a navigation bar to include in the template:

With your navigation set, your template finalized, and all the elements customized to your liking, click the Update button.

5. Pay Attention to Responsiveness

One more thing you will want to do here before returning to the WordPress dashboard is checking on the responsiveness of your new header element. As you know, mobile menus can’t really accommodate the horizontal, full width-spanning elements we use on a desktop. So, be sure to customize that before you move on.

You can design the mobile versions of your header and footer templates using the responsive switches at the bottom of the widgets menu:

This will give you a look at how your new header or footer element will appear on tablets as well as smartphones. If you want to edit any of the elements for specific device screen sizes, look for the icons next to the elements:

Toggle to the device you want to customize the setting for, apply the change, and then repeat for all other screen sizes. Click the Update button to save all your changes.

6. Verify the Design

In Elementor, your template will now look something like this:

(Note: this is a rudimentary header mockup. We’re just including this example so you can see that it’s possible to erase the theme’s default settings and create your own.)

Return to WordPress, publish the changes to your site, and then hit the Preview button to ensure everything looks good on the front end of the site:

To apply this new header and/or footer you’ve created for the rest of your site, complete the final step.

7. Apply the Template Site-Wide (Optional)

If you use one of the supported WordPress themes, then there’s less work for you to do here as your new custom header and footer elements automatically populate throughout the website upon publication. There actually isn’t a fourth step for you in that case (which is an even greater argument for using these themes).

However, if your client’s website happens to be stuck with a different theme and you still want to add a custom header or footer to it, here is what you need to know:

When you build a new page in WordPress, select the Elementor Canvas template if you’re using a non-supported theme.

When that box is checked, it gives you the ability to quickly add your template to the Elementor Canvas page attribute. By simply selecting that page attribute, your web page will now auto-populate with the header or footer template you’ve generated:

One other point to mention here is that non-supported themes may give you more trouble in the way of using this Header Footer Elementor plugin. For simpler sites, the above workaround will suffice. For more complex ones, however, it’s not always possible to switch to the Elementor Canvas template and import your new header or footer content.

For example, websites that have a blog or employ the use of custom post types won’t be able to use your custom designs. Instead, the default header from the theme will appear. That’s obviously not good as it will create an inconsistent experience for your visitor and perhaps even cause some confusion if they encounter a completely new element suddenly.

So, again, if you want to design custom headers and footers with Elementor, make sure you’re using one of the supported WordPress themes first.

Wrapping Up

Look, WordPress is a fantastic tool. But sometimes it has its limitations. When it comes to designing header and footer elements, that is abundantly clear. However, with this WordPress plugin from Elementor, you can now demonstrate greater control over these parts of your site and give your clients’ sites a look that is totally their own.

63 thoughts on “Design Custom Headers & Footers With This Free Elementor Plugin”

  1. Hello, I’m just learning and creating a Header by the Header/Footer builder plugin.
    It’s great, but I have to try harder to make things perfect.
    My question: I don’t find “sticky header” any more? I think it’s important. I’m using Astra theme.
    I would really appreciate your help.

    1. Hello,

      First of all, thank you for your kind words! 🙂

      Well, coming to the issue about the “sticky header” not seen anymore. I would suggest you to use Astra Pro that comes with a sticky header and allows you to save the header-footer template and import it using Elementor to the Custom Layouts section from Astra Pro –

      This will also give you options like targeting the header on specific pages, creating multiple headers etc along with the sticky header option.

      1. hi there could you please help me..i have understood everything in this plugin apart from the breakpoint thing..i hope you got my mobile menu the dropdowns are coming in same column and not in full it possible with this free version of the plugin???

  2. I created a completely awesome header and footer, thanks to this incredible plugin. However, I now have a menu in my custom header and the header for the Generate Press Theme.
    How do I get rid of the Generate Press primary menu, without turning off a functioning menu in my Custom Elementor Header?

    1. Hello Marli,

      Glad that you found our Header Footer Elementor plugin helpful.

      Solution: To hide menu on your site, go to Customize > Layout > Primary Navigation and set the position to “Hide”. While creating a custom header with page builder you have an option to use menu widget/element.

      If you need any further assistance please open up a support ticket from Support Form so that I can take a closer look at this.

    1. Hello,

      Could you please open up a support ticket, so that we can take a closer look at your requirements and help you with an accurate solution soon?

      We look forward to hear from you. 🙂

  3. Hello there !
    I’m creating a website using OceanWP theme with Elementor page builder free. I’m really struggling with the limitations when it comes to customize the header and footer. I’m willing to give it a try to these plugins, but i just wanted to know if its possible to make a sticky menu using OceanWP and this plugins.

    Thanks everyone !

    1. Hello,

      Not sure whether OceanWP has a similar option to allow you to create a sticky header. You’ll need to check that. However, this is certainly possible with the Astra theme and Astra Pro addon’s custom layouts module that allows you to do this along with target rules and many more options.

    1. Hello,

      It is not possible to have multiple headers activated with this plugin.

      However, this can be done using the Custom Layouts module of the Astra Pro Addon that gives you display rules to select pages you wish to display them on.

  4. I have been able to create a fun header and footer with this program. Thanks for that!
    But . . . I do not like the down arrows that automatically popup on the navmenu bar. Can I delete them.
    Sadly, there are somehow 2 downarrows for each topic – it looks rather tacky.
    How do I resolve this issue?

    1. Hello,

      I am sorry, but are you talking about the Header Footer Elementor plugin?

      Just to let you know, our plugin adds post types to create layouts using Elementor. Looks like you are using another plugin to create the navigation bar. Could you please contact the theme author of the respective plugin to help you with this?

      I think they’ll be the best ones to help you. 🙂

    1. The Ultimate Addons for Elementor should work with any WordPress theme as long as you are using Elementor free or Pro on your website.

  5. One major problem.. It cannot make a transparent header. It hangs onto a white background somewhere. I set the section, inner-section, and each of the 3 columns to transparent and it still comes out white.

    1. If you are using Astra Theme, The transparent header option from the theme works with Header Footer Elementor Plugin as well.
      For other themes it will require custom CSS which can be provided by the theme authors.

    1. Hello,

      Well yes, this won’t work with the Transparent header since it is a custom header that you are creating with the page builder that will override the transparent header settings of Astra.

      1. Hi
        Im using Astra pro and elementor pro. How can I have a transparent header without it being sticky using the elementor pro header template builder.? I have the sticky header effects plugin which allows you to make the header transparent but at the same time sticky, which I do not want.
        I can ofcourse use the astra pro theme to build the header and make it transparent without sticky but I cannot build the header design I want with it.
        Any Ideas as to how I could achieve what Im after?

  6. Thanks for the helpful advice!
    When I do custom header, the posts still have the old Astra theme header. Is it any solution for that?

  7. Hi, Thanks for the great tutorial, I have one minor problem which I am not able to solve… I have made a header with 3 parts, 1. Part should be where my menu stands, 2. Part has logo and 3.Part has social media icons. The problem is that I cannot make my menu to appear when I put Default NavMenu as a widget in that 1. section. I have menu build and it sees in that “Select menu” option but it won’t show it on site it only shows that gray bar with menu icon in the middle. Thank you for your response in advance!

  8. Hey! I’ve done all the steps mentioned here but the header hasn’t populated automatically in my site. I use OceanWP theme. I built the header as a template and then used that template inside of the header footer builder inside elementor. It hasn’t populated automatically. Any help is appreciated! Thanks in advance

    1. Do you mean adding a multilingual capability to your header or footer? This plugin works well with WPML or Polylang WordPress plugins.

  9. Hi There,

    First of all thanks for the step by step guide, really useful, however. I have an issue with Elementor which I can’t seem to figure out and is preventing me from doing any of this work. I don’t have Pro but I don’t think that’s the issue.

    When I’m trying to add elements to a page, I am unable to drag and drop from the elements menu into the main page on the right, this has been the case since I added Elementor and it may be something I’ve selected along the way, but I can’t figure out why.

    I can add pages/blocks from the file option but not individual elements which is becoming frustrating because I am then limited to what I can create.


  10. Hallo, great plug-Inn all works fine. It’s probably a long shot, but in case anyone knows, I just want to ask, how do you change the toggle image on the menu bar to something else? I use Astra and Elementor page builder free versions. They are really great. My new header works well. But my client wants an image element from their logo to toggle the menu bar. In other words when you click on that element the menu bar drop down appears. Any ideas on how to do this will be great.

  11. Hi…… In the header, how is the highlighted color and box around the selected page in the menu changed or removed? Thanks

    1. This is done from the navigation menu widget in Elementor. This plugin does not provide any widgets so you will have to use any third party widgets for this.

  12. Too many problems here are referred elsewhere to a support ticket, so I can’t tell how/if they were ever resolved. I will be reluctant to spend a lot of time trying these out under these circumstances.
    I want to use the free Elementor and OceanWP without extras.

    1. This plugin does work with OceanWP and Free version of Elementor.

      In a few cases in comments where we have asked to open up a support ticket is when it actually needs more information from the user like their website URL so that we can debug the error as that is usually not a known error.

      As this is more of a support request we request users to open up a ticket in such cases.

  13. Hi,
    I am trying to use this plugin and it’s really easy. Thank you for that.
    I am also trying to use Polylang so I can have the header in several languages… is that possible with this plugin?
    Thank you so much.

    1. Yes. You can use Polylang to translate the header/footer templates, just like you would translate any other Elementor Pages on your site.

      1. Hmm, I am using “Astra” template, “Polylang” and “Header footer Elementor” plugin, and it does not work in my case. The header and footer are not recognized as the “Pages”, so I have no idea how to proceed, Any suggestions?

  14. Hello! I love this but is there a way to may the header transparent and overlay it with an image? I want my nav menu (just words, white font) to be transparent so it sits over the picture I have at the top of every page. Now I know I could add the picture to be part of the header but I have a different picture on every page… does that mean I’d have to make a different header for every page?

  15. This plugin enabled me to make a custom one without the icon on my home page. thanks so much.
    But the mobile minimum icon always has a border. Any ideas?

    1. Hello,

      Could you please contact us through our support center, so that we can take a closer look at your requirements and help you with it?

  16. How I could import an header or footer template build with the elementor themebuilder from the normal template section in wordpress. I designed my header there and want to edit it with this header / footer plugin.

    1. If you have saved that template with Elementor, you can insert it into the header and footer using the same method which inserts saved template in the page built with Elementor and then you can edit it as per your needs.

  17. Hi,
    Is there a detailed instruction of how to create “mega menu”? I drag a mega menu widget but the layout seems wired. thank you

  18. Does not apply site wide. I can add a header to the homepage, but then the blog post page is still using the default Hello theme look.

    1. Hello,

      Could you please make sure you are using this plugin with a compatible theme listed here? If yes, and you still need help, please get in touch with us through our support center, so that we can take a closer look and help.

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