Are You Fumbling Your WordPress Queries? Read and Bookmark This Post

I’ll be honest here, until recently, while I had been building WordPress queries on a daily basis, I still really didn’t know the way the WordPress query is build and the best way to modify it.

I guess I wasn’t alone, and Automattician guru Andrew Nacin came up with the perfect antidote at WordCamp Portland, delivering a classic talk called ‘You Don’t Know Query’.

It’s a 40 minute guide to WordPress queries that should straighten things out for you once and for all. Be warned though, it’s not very easy to understand the concepts Andrew discusses here, I had to listen through it twice and make reference to the Codex to really understand what he was saying.


What I found missing in Andrew’s speech, were a few case studies and discussion about queries in simpler terms. Thankfully, I soon came across an excellent article by Bill Erickson that really broke things down into a simple guide for us to follow when dealing with WordPress queries. It’s an essential read if you want to learn how to query properly.

Here’s another similar post if you want a slightly different take on the subject:

An important takeaway from all these articles:

To modify main loop

  • don’t use query_posts()
  • use pre_get_posts filter with $query->is_main_query() check
  • alternately use request filter (a little too rough so above is better)

To run secondary loop

Use new WP_Query or get_posts() which are pretty much interchangeable (latter is thin wrapper for former).

Where you already making the best use of WordPress queries? Any other tips to share? The comments are open!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to subscribe to WP Mayor’s RSS feed.

About Jean Galea

Jean Galea is a WordPress developer, entrepreneur and padel player. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and EDD Bookings, as well as the podcast. His personal blog can be found at

Related Articles

  • How To Optimize WordPress Queries

    Although WordPress is a system that performs well in general, it's worth delving a bit deeper into performance considerations when building plugins and themes for general distribution. You never know…

  • How to Convert Post Types in WordPress

    Ever wondered if it's possible to convert from one custom post type to another? Yes it is! This can be very useful for example when switching themes. One theme can…

  • WordPress Post Formats Admin UI

    The use of Post Formats, introduced in WordPress 3.1, has had limited success and adoptability by WordPress users. With the introduction of this Admin UI for WordPress Post Formats, using…

Leave a Reply