WordPress – Working with CLI


Working with CLI

Basic work with posts

Search post content.

wp post list --s="text" --fields=ID,post_title,url

Find posts with ping status “open”.

wp post list --ping_status="open"

And if you only want to get the post IDs:

wp post list --ping_status="open" --fields=ID

Update ping status to “closed” where the value is “open”.

wp post update $(wp post list --ping_status="open" --format=ids) --ping_status="closed";

Search and replace

Search and replace post content.

bashwp search-replace "old thing" "new thing" --all-tables

Post meta

List all metadata associated with a post.

bashwp post meta list 1422 --format=json

Get specific post meta for a post.

bashwp post meta get 1422 "meta_key" --format=json

Update post meta.

bashwp post meta update 1422 "meta_key" "meta_value"

Update post meta from a file.

bashwp post meta update 1422 "post_meta" < file.json --format=json

Delete post meta.

bashwp post meta delete 1422 "post_meta"

Delete all post meta by specific key. (With wp db query.)

bashwp db query "DELETE FROM `wp_postmeta` WHERE `meta_key` = 'NAME_OF_YOUR_META_KEY'"

List posts by meta key or value.

bashwp post list --fields=ID,post_title,url --meta_key="meta_key"
wp post list --fields=ID,post_title,url --meta_key="meta_key" --meta_compare="NOT EXISTS"
wp post list --post_type="post_type" --fields=ID,post_title,url --meta_key="meta_key" --meta_compare="NOT EXISTS"
wp post list --fields=ID,post_title,url --meta_key="_wp_page_template" --meta_value="page-templates/post-full-grid.php"

The meta_compare flag also accepts "LIKE" as a value, so that you can do:

phpwp post list --fields=ID,post_title,url --meta_key='meta_key' --meta_compare='LIKE' --meta_value='value'

Update meta where it’s missing.

bashwp post meta update $(wp post list --post_type="post_type" --meta_key="meta_key" --meta_compare="NOT EXISTS" --format=ids) "meta_key" "meta_value"

Update post meta for all posts in a category.

bashwp post meta update $(wp post list --category_name="category" --format=ids) "meta_key" "meta_value"

Save meta value based on an existing meta value. In this example I’m looping through all post with a specific post type and saving the URL of the featured image to the post’s meta.

bashfor id in $(wp post list --post_type="post_type" --fields=ID --meta_key="meta_key" --meta_compare="NOT EXISTS")
    wp post meta update $id "meta_key" $(wp post meta pluck $(wp post meta get $id _thumbnail_id) _wp_attachment_metadata file)

Show specific meta value for posts based on a category.

bashfor id in $(wp post list --post_type="post_type" --fields=ID --category="category name")
    wp post meta get $id "meta_key"

Export/import all meta.

bashwp post meta list 1422 --format=json > 1422_meta.json
wp post update 1422 --meta_input= < 1422_meta.json

Working with post terms

Move posts from one tag to another.

bashfor id in $(wp post list --tag=OLD_TAG --format=ids)
    wp post term remove $id post_tag OLD_TAG --by=slug
    wp post term add $id post_tag NEW_TAG --by=slug

Delete Posts

Delete all posts from a custom post type. (Adding --force will skip the trash and remove the posts completely.)

bashwp post delete $(wp post list --post_type='activity' --format=ids) --force

If you’re trying to delete too many posts at once, you might get an error like this:

bashPHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of xxx bytes exhausted

Or perhaps this one:

bashArgument list too long

One way around this is to limit how many posts you’re deleting at once using the posts_per_page option, for example:

bashwp post delete $(wp post list --post_type='activity' --posts_per_page=50000 --format=ids) --force

Delete posts with specific meta key.

bashwp post delete $(wp post list --format=ids --meta_key="meta_key")

Delete posts with specific meta key and meta value.

bashwp post delete $(wp post list --format=ids --meta_key="meta_key" --meta_value="meta_value")

Delete posts where a specific meta key is missing.

bashwp post delete $(wp post list --format=ids --meta_key="meta_key" --meta_compare="NOT EXISTS")

Post revisions

List all revisions.

bashwp post list --post_type=revision

List revisions for a specific post.

bashwp post list --post_parent=1422 --post_type=revision

Get more info on revisions for a specific post.

bashfor id in $(wp post list --post_parent=1422 --post_type=revision --fields=ID)
    wp post get $id

Site Options

Change the site URL.

bashwp option update home 'https://example.com'
wp option update siteurl 'https://example.com'


List active plugins.

bashwp plugin list --status=active

Activate/deactivate plugins.

bashwp plugin activate plugin-1 plugin-2 plugin-3
wp plugin deactivate plugin-1 plugin-2 plugin-3


Update user password.

wp user update USER_ID --user_pass="newpassword"

WP CLI cheatsheet

check database size

Returns sizes of all database tables in a human friendly format.


wp db size --human-readable --tables


check db status

Run health check on the database set in the wp-config.php file. It reports status of each database table separately in the output.


wp db check


check for updates

Checks if WP-CLI is due for an update.

wp cli check-update


check version

Return WP CLI version.

wp cli version


configure wordpress

Creates config.php file. Requires mysql cli to be installed.

wp config create --dbname=yourdbname --dbuser=root --prompt=dbpassword


count all posts

This command searches for all posts in the database and returns the count number.


wp post list --format=count 


download wordpress

Download latest version of WordPress core files to current directory.

wp core download


edit config

Opens wp-config.php file in the default text editor.

wp config edit



Exports WXR file containing XML formatted data about your site including posts, comments and information about images and other attachments. Site option settings are excluded.


wp export


export single page

By combining the following flags you can export a single page from WordPress. First set the post type you want to export (page) then set the ID of the post, and finally limit the command to only fetch a single post. Skipping comments is optional.


wp export --skip_comments --post_type=page --post__in=4995 --max_num_posts=1


generate salts

This command will generate authentication unique keys and salts in your wp-config.php file.


wp config shuffle-salts


get media image sizes

List all defined image sizes, their width, height and the crop details.


wp media image-size



Imports WXR files.


wp import yoursiteexample.wordpress.2021-09-22.000.xml


import to sub-site

You can import WXR data files to specific site in the multi-site installation. The –url flag identifies the site you want to migrate data to. Skipping authors is optional.


wp import yoursiteexample.wordpress.2021-10-15.000.xml --authors=skip --url=http://yoursite.com/subsite


install plugin

Install a plugin in your WordPress site. By passing –activate flag you can enable your new plugin in one command.

wp plugin install [pluginhandle] --activate


list all pages

This command is based on the “wp post list” used to return all posts but the “–post_type=page” flag changes the search scope to return only pages. By default the output if formatted as a table and includes page ID, title, slug, creation date, and the status.


wp post list --post_type=page


list all post meta

Use post ID to return all related meta data. By default it returns data as a table but other formats are available, for example you can use this flag –format=json to get data as json.


wp post meta list <ID>


list custom post type

Returns a table of custom posts with a type specified using the –post_type flag.


wp post list --post_type=movie


list database table columns

Lists all columns in a given database table. You will need to pass a table name as the argument. List of the default WordPress tables – wp_commentmeta, wp_comments, wp_links, wp_options, wp_postmeta, wp_posts, wp_term_relationships, wp_term_taxonomy, wp_termmeta, wp_terms, wp_usermeta, wp_users.


wp db columns {tabel name}


list database tables

Lists all tables in the database connected to your site.


wp db tables


list post types

Returns a table of all post types including custom posts.


wp post-type list


list posts

Returns a table of all posts including ID, title, name, date and status.


wp post list


list sites

If you’re running a multi-site WordPress installation you can return a handy table presenting blog ID, URL, and update dates of each site instance.


wp site list


list taxonomies

Returns a table of all registered taxonomies including categories, post tags, navigation menus, themes, custom taxonomies and more.


wp taxonomy list


maintenance-mode activate

Puts your site in a maintenance mode and returns “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” message with a 503 server response.

wp maintenance-mode activate


maintenance-mode deactivate

Takes your site out of maintenance mode.

wp maintenance-mode deactivate


maintenance-mode status

Returns maintenance mode status of your site.

wp maintenance-mode status

open mysql cli

Connects to the database set in your wp-config.php file using MySQL CLI.


wp db cli

optimize database

Runs MySQL optimizer on the connected database.


wp db optimize

regenerate thumbnails

Regenerate all thumbnail image sizes stored in the media library. The –yes flag confirms your choice.

wp media regenerate --yes


scaffold plugin

This command will generate basic files and structure for a new plugin. Use –skip-tests flag to omit php unit tests in the process.


wp scaffold plugin your-plugin-slug


scaffold theme

Generates un-styled main theme with all the necessary files and views to display content.


wp scaffold _s your-theme-slug --theme_name="Theme Name" --author="Your Name"


search string in DB

You can search for a string in connected WordPress database. The –stats flag will append details about the search like matches found and tables searched.


wp db search <string_to_find> --stats

update all plugins

Updates all installed plugins.

wp plugin update --all

update wp-cli

Update WP-CLI to the latest version.

wp cli update

wp-cli info

Prints information to the console about WP CLI and its environment such as version, OS, PHP, MySQL.