Front-End Development

In Craft, you define your site’s HTML output with templates.

Templates are files that live within your templates/ folder. The structure of your templates is completely up to you – you can put templates at the root of that folder, within subdirectories, or within subdirectories’ subdirectories (and on and on). Whatever works for your site’s needs.

Craft uses Twig (opens new window) to parse your templates. Twig is elegant, powerful, and blazing fast. If you’re new to Twig, be sure to read the Twig Primer to familiarize yourself with its syntax.

PHP code isn’t allowed in your templates, but Craft provides various ways to extend Twig to suit your needs.

# Template Paths

There are several times when you’ll need to enter a path to one of your templates:

Craft has a standard template path format that applies to each of these cases: a Unix-style file system path to the template file, relative from your templates/ folder.

For example, if you have a template located at templates/recipes/entry.twig, the following template paths would point to it:

  • recipes/entry
  • recipes/entry.twig

# Index Templates

If you name your template index.twig, you don’t need to specify it in the template path.

For example, if you have a template located at templates/recipes/ingredients/index.twig, the following template paths would point to it:

  • recipes/ingredients
  • recipes/ingredients/index
  • recipes/ingredients/index.twig

If you have templates located at both templates/recipes/ingredients.twig and templates/recipes/ingredients/index.twig, the template path recipes/ingredients will match ingredients.twig.

# Hidden Templates

Craft treats templates with names prefixed with an underscore, for example recipes/_entry.twig, as hidden templates that are not directly accessible.

If we have a recipe entry that is available at the entry URL http://my-project.tld/recipes/gin-tonic, which uses the template located at recipes/entry, someone could access the template directly at http://my-project.tld/recipes/entry.

In this example there is no reason to access the template directly because it’s only ever used as part of an entry URL. We change its filename to _entry.twig so it is considered hidden by Craft and update the settings in our Section.

Now when we try to access http://my-project.tld/recipes/entry Craft returns a 404 error instead of attempting to render the template.

# Template Localization

If you’re running multiple sites with Craft, you can create site-specific subfolders in your templates/ folder, which contain templates that will only be available to a specific site.

For example, if you want to create a special template welcoming your German customers, but there’s no need for it on your English site, then you could save it in templates/de/welcome.twig. That template would be available from

Craft will look for localized templates before it looks for templates in the normal location, so you can use them to override non-localized templates. See our Localization Guide for more details.