How to Use meta_query with WP_Query in WordPress

Meta query, is a type of query that allows you to get the results based on the meta key and meta value. By using meta_query, you can make your primary WP_Query WordPress query to get the results with single or multiple meta keys and values.

How to use meta_query with single meta key | value

To get the results using wp_query with single meta key and value, you will have to pass some additional arguments inside the array of arguments for wp_query. meta query arguments are given below:

  • 'meta_key' = Name of your meta key or custom field, this will be a string.
  • 'meta_value' = Value of your meta key or custom field, this will be a string. However it can be an array, only if the operators used for 'meta_compare' are ‘IN’, ‘NOT IN’, ‘BETWEEN’, or ‘NOT BETWEEN’.
  • 'meta_type' = Type of your meta key or custom field.
  • 'meta_compare' = Operator to check the value of your meta key or custom field. By defaults it checks for equals to.

Example:

Let’s say, I have a custom field name “rank” that is associated with my posts. Now I want to get all the posts that have rank equals to 1.

So to do that, I will pass meta query arguments inside the array of arguments for wp_query:

$args = array(

        'post_type'      => 'post',
        'posts_per_page' => '5',
        'meta_key'       => 'rank',
        'meta_value'     => '1',
        'meta_compare'   => '=' // default operator is (=) equals to 
    
    );
 
$query = new WP_Query ($args);
	
// Rest of the WordPress Loop codes goes here

So as you can see in the code above, I have used a single 'meta_key' => 'rank' and it’s value 'meta_value' => '1' along with the equals operator for compare 'meta_compare' => '=' to get the results with wp_query.

The above code will get all the posts that have the meta key ‘rank’ and it’s value equals 1.

How to Use meta_query with multiple meta keys | values

Let’s take the use of meta query with WP_Query one step further. In this step, you will learn how you can use WP_Query with multiple meta keys and values to get the results.

Now using multiple meta keys with their values along with WP_Query is little bit different then the single one.

In this case, all you have to do is use a single argument named meta_query inside the array of arguments for WP_Query.

This meta_query argument will contain one or multiple arrays with the following arguments.

  • 'key' = Name of your meta key.
  • 'value' = Value of your meta key, this will be a string. However you can pass multiple values in an array, only if the operators used for 'compare' are ‘IN’, ‘NOT IN’, ‘BETWEEN’, or ‘NOT BETWEEN’.
  • 'compare' = Operator to check the value of your meta key or custom field.
  • 'type' = Type of your meta key or custom field

These all arguments work in the same way as they work for a single meta key or value, only the difference is when you use them for multiple meta keys and values, you don’t need to add meta_ as a prefix.

Example:

Let’s say, I have two meta keys named “rank” and “post_score” that are associated with the posts. Now I want to get all the posts that have rank less than 3 and post_score is greater than 80.

So to do that, I will pass meta_query argument inside the array of WP_Query arguments and pass the array of meta keys and values to it. It seems quite confusing?… Let’s see the code below.


$args = array(

        'post_type'      =>  'post',     
        'post_status'    =>  'publish',
        'posts_per_page' =>  '5',
        'meta_query'     =>  array(

                                array(
                                    'key'     =>  'rank',
                                    'value'   =>  '3',
                                    'compare' =>  '<'   
                                    ),
 
                                array(
                                    'key'     =>  'post_score',
                                    'value'   =>  '80',
                                    'compare' =>  '>'   
                                )
                            )                 
        );
 
 
$query = new WP_Query($args);

// Rest of the WordPress Loop codes goes here

The above code will get the all the posts which have rank less than 3 and post score greater than 80. You can use multiple meta keys by just passing them as an array element inside the meta_query array.

How to use meta_query with custom post type

To use meta query with custom post type, you just need to change the value of 'post_type' => 'your_custom_post_Type'. And along with this you can use meta_query arguments as per your meta keys and values.

Example
You can check the code snippet given below to take a reference or understand the use of meta_query with custom post type.

$args = array(

        'post_type'      => 'movies', // "movies" is custom post type here
        'posts_per_page' => '5',
        'meta_key'       => 'rating',
        'meta_value'     => '4',
        'meta_compare'   => '<' // default operator is (=) equals to 
    
    );
 
$query = new WP_Query ($args);
	
// Rest of the WordPress Loop codes goes here

I hope this article helps you to understand what is meta_query and how to use it with wp_query along with single and multiple meta keys and values.

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