apply_filters_ref_array( ‘posts_orderby’, string $orderby, WP_Query $query )

Filters the ORDER BY clause of the query.


The ORDER BY clause of the query.
The WP_Query instance (passed by reference).

More Information

This filter is applied before a post-retrieving SQL statement is executed. Use it to make custom modifications to the orderby. WP_Query is versatile but there may be situations where you need to orderby a value that is in a separate database, a custom equation, etc.


$orderby = apply_filters_ref_array( 'posts_orderby', array( $orderby, &$this ) );



User Contributed Notes

  1. Skip to note 4 content

    Example migrated from Codex:

    Consider the following code. In tandem with a rating plugin that uses a separate database table, sorting by rating value can be achieved with posts_orderby in tandem with the post_join_paged filter.

    add_filter('posts_orderby', 'edit_posts_orderby');
    function edit_posts_join_paged($join_paged_statement) {
    	$join_paged_statement = "LEFT JOIN wp_gdsr_data_article gdsra ON gdsra.post_id = wp_posts.ID";
    	return $join_paged_statement;	
    function edit_posts_orderby($orderby_statement) {
    	$orderby_statement = "(gdsra.user_votes_total_sum/gdsra.user_votes_count) DESC";
    	return $orderby_statement;
  2. Skip to note 5 content

    Example migrated from Codex:

    This filter is extremely powerful – it will apply a new or updated ORDERBY to every SQL SELECT statement generated by the WP_Query class. So it’s also very easy to break WordPress functionality using this filter.

    Fortunately, the posts_orderby filter will also pass a reference to the current WP_Query instance as a second parameter. It’s good practice to always check the referenced WP_Query to ensure only the desired SQL query is being modified. This is especially true on a modern site, where in many cases more than one WP_Query is run per request.

    // Add the callback to the posts_orderby filter
    add_filter('posts_orderby', 'orderby_pages_callback', 10, 2);
    // The posts_orderby filter
    function orderby_pages_callback($orderby_statement, $wp_query) {
    	# Verify correct post type, or any other query variable
    	if ($wp_query->get("post_type") === "page") {
    		# In this trivial example add a reverse menu order sort
    		return "wp_posts.menu_order DESC";
    	} else {
    		# Use provided statement instead 
    		return $orderby_statement;
    // Example WP_Query that loads all pages.
    // The above filter callback will cause these to have a reverse menu order sort
    $pages_query = new WP_Query(array(
    	"post_type" => "page"

    You can also prevent any posts_orderby callbacks from being loaded by using the suppress_filters in your own WP_Query calls:

    $pages_query = new WP_Query(array(
    	"post_type" => "page",
    	"suppress_filters" => true,  // No posts_orderby filters will be run
  3. Skip to note 6 content

    useful to custom rank posts on the front-end,

    add_filter('posts_orderby', 'rank_my_taxonomy_post', 10,2);
    funciton rank_my_taxonomy_post($args, $wp_query){
      //first make sure this is not an admin dashboard query.
      if(is_admin()) return $args;
      //you may also want to check if this is the main query, rather than a secondary query such as widgets or menus.
      if(!is_main_query()) return $args;
      //you can use the wp_query object to target a specific query, such a a particular category term. 
      $queriedObj = $wp_query->get_queried_object();
      if (isset($queriedObj->taxonomy) && 'category'==$queriedObj->taxonomy && isset($queriedObj->term_id) && $queriedObj->term_id = 10) {
        global $wpdb;
        $args = "{$wpdb->posts}.post_name ASC"; //order by post slug ascending.
      return $args;

You must log in before being able to contribute a note or feedback.