WordPress’ get_posts is a powerful function that allows developers to retrieve content from the WordPress database. You can specify the articles, pages, and custom article types you’re looking for in the most detail, get a custom result set, and then filter and sort items like a PHP/MySQL Ninja.

However, if you are not a PHP professional, fear not, there are countless PHP tutorials for you to watch or read and learn the language. You only need a little knowledge of PHP to create a custom list of posts to display on your website, as the get_posts function holds a set of parameters that allow building simple or advanced queries.

How to use the PHP function get_posts to build a list of posts
Using WordPress’ get_posts is a two-step process:

First, you have to build a custom query. Actually, it doesn’t look like a MySQL query, and you don’t write any SELECT statements. You just need to define an array of parameters and pass it to the get_posts function. WordPress turns that array into a real and safe MySQL query, runs it against the database, and returns an array of articles.
Second, you have to use a foreach loop to iterate through the result set returned by get_posts.
Having said that, in this post, we will first dive into the key concepts mentioned above, specifically how get_posts works, how to build custom queries, and how to display data on the front-end site. I’ll then provide a real-world example with a piece of code that you can grab, edit, and use in a staging environment for testing and development.

Note: We generally distinguish between post, page, and custom post types. In this article, we use the term “post” to refer to regular blog posts as well as pages and custom post types. All these post types are stored in the “wp_posts” table of the database. The main difference between post types is the value of the “post_type” field. From a developer’s perspective, articles, pages, and custom article types are all articles.

Retrieves an array of the latest articles, or articles matching the given criteria.

How to build a query with get_posts

Each type of parameter is associated with the same piece of information. For example, we can build a query to retrieve or exclude articles by a specified author, defining the author by ID or nicename. Likewise, we can build queries to get articles by category, tag, taxonomy, date, custom fields, etc.

Why is get_posts limited to 5 WordPress posts?

The get_posts function takes the same parameters as WP_Query::parse_query() (see Codex), but some specific parameters make it work slightly differently from the WP_Query object.

Maybe you’re not using the ‘numberposts’ parameter in your query and wondering why you only see 5 items in your list.

By default, the number of articles you set in the Settings → Reading Management page determines the number of articles that WordPress queries retrieve. Anyway, if you don’t specify a custom value for ‘numberposts’ or ‘posts_per_page’, get_posts returns a different number of posts.

‘numberposts’ is the total number of posts to retrieve. It is an alias for ‘posts_per_page’ inWP_Query, but there is a difference between the two: by default, the number of posts to retrieve when using get_posts is 5, while ‘posts_per_page’ inWP_Query defaults to the number of posts per page of a WordPress blog. You can override the default by setting custom values ​​in the parameter array for ‘numberposts’ or ‘posts_per_page’.
In addition to ‘numberposts’, the following parameters are specific to get_posts:

‘category’ is a comma-separated list of category IDs. It is an alias for the ‘cat’ parameter in WP_Query.
‘include’ is a comma-separated list of article IDs. This is an alias for the ‘post__in’ parameter in WP_Query.
‘exclude’ is a comma-separated list of article IDs.
‘suppress_filters’ specifies whether to suppress filters. This parameter defaults to trueinget_posts and defaults to falseinWP_Query (see Track).
The get_posts function is defined in wp-includes/post.php. get_posts You can get an in-depth look at how it works by looking at the source code in Track (WordPress 5.2) or a local WordPress installation.

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