Programmatically Create a Post in WordPress

If you're an advanced developer or just want the TL;DR version of this, skip to the code.

Create a Post in WordPress

For many, creating WordPress posts and pages is a simple matter of using the built-in editor. But if you’re working on a more advanced project – perhaps you need to automatically generate pages (or posts) to act as views or to restrict users from accessing the dashboard.

If that’s the case, then it may be better to programmatically create a post in WordPress.

Case in point: I’ve been working on a project where all user profile management (save for administrators) has to occur outside of the dashboard. This means that when the theme is installed, it needs to automatically generate pages that support this functionality.

It’s not terribly difficult, but it’s important to make sure that you aren’t overwriting existing pages, that you’re properly setting post attributes, and that you’re properly assigning templates when necessary.

Here’s a simple example of how to programmatically create a post in WordPress.

Identify The Basics

The WordPress API allows you to define a wide array of options when manually inserting pages. Odds are, you’ll need more in some cases than in others.

For the most part, I usually roll with the following parameters:

  • comment_status
  • ping_status
  • post_author
  • post_name
  • post_title
  • post_status
  • post_type

I’ll show these in more detail later, but one of the most important parts in programmatically creating a post in WordPress is to identify exactly what parameters are relevant to your needs.

Make notes and then plan to incorporate them.

Check For an Existing Post

If you’re building a product from the ground up, then the likelihood of a post already existing isn’t high, but if you’re writing a plugin or you’re going to be working with an existing setup, then it’s best to make sure that a post exists before trying to do anything else.

Luckily, WordPress makes it easy to check if a post exists. Of course, I’m making an assumption here: If you’re going to be creating a post then you’re likely going to be defining a title so the easiest way to check if a post exists, at least in this case, is checking to see if the title already exists.

Easy:

if( null == get_page_by_title( $title ) ) {
    // Create the page
} else {
    // The page exists
} // end if

I’ll fill this in detail momentarily, but it’s important to handle the case where a page exists. Either throw an error, prevent the page from being created, halt executed, register a notice, or a set a flag.

Generally speaking, I’m a fan of registering an admin_notice, thought hat’s a bit out of scope for what I want to cover here. So, later in this article, I’m going to set a flag that will allow you to react appropriately.

Apply The Default Settings

At this point, I usually define the default settings for the post. The list I use is above but it often depends on three variables each of which may come from an input field or be manually set in the code. For this example, I’ll be following the later:

I’ll need the slug that I wish to use for the post URL:

$slug = 'example-post';

I’ll need the ID of the user that will be attributed for creating the post. ’1′ is a safe bet as it’s usually the administrator but it’s also common to use the ID of the current user:

$author_id = 1;

And I’ll need to set the title of the post:

$title = 'My Example Post';

At this point, you define the array of options for creating a post:

array(
	'comment_status'	=>	'closed',
	'ping_status'		=>	'closed',
	'post_author'		=>	$author_id,
	'post_name'		=>	$slug,
	'post_title'		=>	$title,
	'post_status'		=>	'publish',
	'post_type'		=>	'post'
)

The parameters should be clear, but here’s what I’ve done: I’m going to create a post that does not accept comments or pings (this is arbitrary – you can mark these as open). The page has been created by the administrator and will have the slug and the title that I defined above. The post will be immediately published when the function fires and I’m obviously creating a post (instead of, say, a page).

Hook It Into WordPress

To wrap this up, there’s one more thing that you need to account for when inserting a post into the database and that is that the wp_insert_post function will return the ID of the post once it has created it.

As such, I normally like to initialize a variable that I return to indicate whether or not the creation of the new post was successful.

Something like this:

// Initialize the post ID to -1. This indicates no action has been taken.
$post_id = -1;

// Setup the author, slug, and title for the post
$author_id = 1;
$slug = 'example-post';
$title = 'My Example Post'

// If the page doesn't already exist, then create it
if( null == get_page_by_title( $title ) ) {

	// Set the page ID so that we know the page was created successfully
	$post_id = wp_insert_post(
		array(
			'comment_status'	=>	'closed',
			'ping_status'		=>	'closed',
			'post_author'		=>	$author_id,
			'post_name'		=>	$slug,
			'post_title'		=>	$title,
			'post_status'		=>	'publish',
			'post_type'		=>	'post'
		)
	);

// Otherwise, we'll stop and set a flag
} else {

    // Arbitrarily use -2 to indicate that the page with the title already exists
    $post_id = -2;

} // end if

I’ll show this function in its entirety when we take a look at the final function, but I find it useful to attach this function to the after_setup_theme action to ensure that the post is created when WordPress sets up the theme.

Programmatically Create a Post in WordPress

This is the TL;DR version of all of the code covered in this article. It’s meant for those that want to see everything tied together or those that skipped the rest of the article.

/**
 * A function used to programmatically create a post in WordPress. The slug, author ID, and title
 * are defined within the context of the function.
 *
 * @returns -1 if the post was never created, -2 if a post with the same title exists, or the ID
 *          of the post if successful.
 */
function programmatically_create_post() {

	// Initialize the page ID to -1. This indicates no action has been taken.
	$post_id = -1;

	// Setup the author, slug, and title for the post
	$author_id = 1;
	$slug = 'example-post';
	$title = 'My Example Post';

	// If the page doesn't already exist, then create it
	if( null == get_page_by_title( $title ) ) {

		// Set the post ID so that we know the post was created successfully
		$post_id = wp_insert_post(
			array(
				'comment_status'	=>	'closed',
				'ping_status'		=>	'closed',
				'post_author'		=>	$author_id,
				'post_name'		=>	$slug,
				'post_title'		=>	$title,
				'post_status'		=>	'publish',
				'post_type'		=>	'post'
			)
		);

	// Otherwise, we'll stop
	} else {

    		// Arbitrarily use -2 to indicate that the page with the title already exists
    		$post_id = -2;

	} // end if

} // end programmatically_create_post
add_filter( 'after_setup_theme', 'programmatically_create_post' );

The various calls to this function would look like this:

$post_id = programmatically_create_post()
if( -1 == $post_id || -2 == $post_id ) {
   // The post wasn't created or the page already exists
} // end if

Resources in the Codex

I’ve presented a relatively simple case for what’s needed to create a post in WordPress programmatically. There’s much more than you can do so I definitely recommend reviewing the following Codex articles:

33 Comments

Always good to see others talking about this stuff!

One thing, WordPress will add a default date, but it won’t default the ‘post_date_gmt’ time.

Also for semantics I’d recommend calling $page_id $post_id, since your inserting a post type of ‘posts’. I use wp_insert_post() often and it gets confusing when inserting different posts types and keeping track of the returned ID.

Wow, how timely! I’m working on a project right now and updating a whole bunch of posts, very apt and helpful – thanks

Found this after Googling it. :)

What a win…Thanks!

Hello i followed your tutorial
and i was succesfull in creating a 1 page
But i want to create multiple pages programmatically
When i add the same code again i get the 500 Internal Server Error
is there any was!??

I don’t think you noted this, so excuse me if I missed it.

The default post type on get_page_by_title is ‘page’, so if you’re checking for posts, you need to use get_page_by_title( $title, 'OBJECT', 'post' ). So, line 19 would be:

if( null == get_page_by_title( $title, 'OBJECT', 'post' ) ) {

Is ‘after_setup_theme’ filter?
Much times we want to create post in some category or add some tags to it. In this situations you can use wp_set_post_terms(). For example:
$cat_slug = ‘my-category’;
if ($post_id > 0)
{
wp_set_post_terms($post_id, $cat_slug, ‘category’);
}
Anyway, nice article, thanks Tom!

Great Post!!!
I am stuck on where should I keep the function I wrote to create an admin page programmatically.
My requirement is that I needed to create a wp-admin page programmatically so that no manual steps are involved. which I have done.
The problem I am facing now is:
1. where in my project should I put this function so that this wp-admin page gets created before I actually call the page?

Thanks in advance.

    This should occur in functions.php and you may be looking for the add_menu_page hook depending on how you’ve setup your function.

      Thanks Tom!
      To elaborate, I have a wordpress site created on which I have added a menu “My Transactions”. Now, when I load the site and click on the above menu, I am getting a 404 which I assume the wp-admin page didnt get created.

      Below is the function I have.

      //create the wp-admin page programmatically
      function createAdminPage(){
      $title=”myTitle”;
      if( null == get_page_by_title($title)) {
      // Create the page
      global $user_ID;
      $page['post_type'] = ‘page’;
      $page['post_content'] = ‘Put your page content here’;
      $page['post_parent'] = 32441;//dashboard page
      $page['post_author'] = $user_ID;
      $page['post_status'] = ‘publish’;
      $page['post_title'] = $title;
      $page['_wp_page_template'] = “page-admn.php”;
      $page = apply_filters(‘yourplugin_add_new_page’, $page, ‘teams’);
      $pageid = wp_insert_post ($page);
      if ($pageid == 0) { /* Add Page Failed */ }
      } else {
      // The page exists
      } // end if
      }

      //call the above function
      add_action(‘admin_init’,’createAdminPage’);

      I tried putting this on functions.php but no luck.
      Any idea on whats wrong?
      Thanks in advance.

        I can’t provide much support beyond this, but if you look at the code that I’ve provided above, it uses the after_setup_theme hook.

        If you look at the documentation that I provided, it also references the add_menu_page page book.

        Based on the code you’re showing me, I’d go with the former, rather than the latter.

Have you ever had an issue where the wp_insert_post does not call action edit_post or save_post? This is causing posts to not be visible unless I call the edit post page from the admin screen by the post ID that was returned. Once, just viewing the post it shows in post list and is now viewable, so it seems that the action edit_post fixes the issue, but I’m not sure how to call it from outside of WP.

Any ideas?

    I’ve not personally experienced this, but I have had seen other experience similar issues especially in the context of working with meta data.

    Of course, I know that doesn’t really help with what you’re talking about.

    That said, this could have to do with how you’re hooking your function. Make sure you review this article – I hope this helps!

How about setting different post_content for each post?
Could it be possible with a php file which contains the logic?
Something like this:
‘post_content’ => ‘posts-content.php’

And inside that you would do, if(‘post_title’ == ‘Home’) { echo ‘Default home page content’};

    It can be done, but you’d have to set up quite a few conditionals to properly handle it, which is really more of the scope of another post (rather than a really long comment :).

    That said, you’re on the right track, but rather than using `posts-content.php`, you’d need to use something like `file_get_contents` or another function in order to read the contents of the file into a string, then apply it to the `post_content` attribute.

      Richard Mišenčík February 25, 2014 at 8:12 am

      I already figured it out, I basically created a file that I needed and included it before the foreac. But file_get_contents would maybe be a better approach, Thanks! :)

Tom,
I want to create a script that lives in my Uni web server area and then creates a bunch of posts for my doctorate blog on wordpress.com. I have a spreadsheet/CSV file, with research paper details including harvard refernce, a summary/critique, a link to the paper and various flags about the papers usefulness, possibly even categories or tags.

Your tutorial page is great and I would like to use the code to loop through the csv file. However, as a newbie with WP API am I missing something? Is there an assumption about access control I am missing? Where should I supply credentials to wordpress.com as my blog administer or is there a part of wordpress.com where I would store this script and therefore have write access by default?

    Hey Paul — all of this code is meant to be executed on a server that you managed with a self-hosted installation. From there, you have access to the theme files and plugin files that allow you to read the files on the server and process them as you’ve mentioned.

    WordPress.com is a much more locked down environment so you don’t have that kind of flexibility.

    Hope this helps!

Tom,

Thanks! For some reason while working off of WP.org’s wp_insert_post() I was running into trouble. After look around a but and using your code it worked.

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