is_main_query(): bool

Determines whether the query is the main query.


For more information on this and similar theme functions, check out the Conditional Tags article in the Theme Developer Handbook.

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bool Whether the query is the main query.

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More Information

The is_main_query() function is a conditional function that can be used to evaluate whether the current query (such as within the loop) is the “main” query (as opposed to a secondary query).

This function is most commonly used within hooks to distinguish WordPress’ main query (for a page, post, or archive) from a custom/secondary query.

is_main_query() may be used with both front-end queries (theme templates, plugins, etc.), as well as admin queries. It will return true if the current query is the main query, and false if not.

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if ( is_main_query() ) {
// do stuff

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Under the Hood

This function does not accept any parameters. Instead, it automatically compares the $wp_query object (i.e., the “current query”) with the $wp_the_query object (the “main query”)

This function is an alias for the method WP_Query::is_main_query(). In filter or action hook callbacks that are passed the WP_Query object, such as ‘pre_get_posts‘, it is circular to call this function. Instead, directly call the passed object’s method. For example, if your filter callback assigns the passed WP_Query object to $query, you would call the method like so:

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add_action( 'pre_get_posts', 'foo_modify_query_exclude_category' );
function foo_modify_query_exclude_category( $query ) {
    if ( ! is_admin() && $query->is_main_query() && ! $query->get( 'cat' ) )
        $query->set( 'cat', '-5' );

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File: wp-includes/query.php. View all references

function is_main_query() {
	global $wp_query;

	if ( ! isset( $wp_query ) ) {
		_doing_it_wrong( __FUNCTION__, __( 'Conditional query tags do not work before the query is run. Before then, they always return false.' ), '6.1.0' );
		return false;

	if ( 'pre_get_posts' === current_filter() ) {
				/* translators: 1: pre_get_posts, 2: WP_Query->is_main_query(), 3: is_main_query(), 4: Documentation URL. */
				__( 'In %1$s, use the %2$s method, not the %3$s function. See %4$s.' ),
				__( '' )

	return $wp_query->is_main_query();

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Version Description
3.3.0 Introduced.

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User Contributed Notes

  1. Skip to note 1 content
    Contributed by Codex

    Example of using WP_Query->is_main_query() instead of is_main_query() (invalid)

     * If the global query is for a category, exclude category 5.
     * @param WP_Query $query Global WP_Query instance.
    function wpdocs_modify_query_exclude_category( $query ) {
        if ( ! is_admin() && $query->is_main_query() && ! $query->get( 'cat' ) )
            $query->set( 'cat', '-5' );
    add_action( 'pre_get_posts', 'wpdocs_modify_query_exclude_category' );

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