apply_filters( 'the_content', string $content )

Filters the post content.

Parameters Parameters


(string) Content of the current post.

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More Information More Information

This filter is used to filter the content of a post after it is retrieved from the database and before it is printed to the screen.

Usage Usage

When using this filter it’s important to check if you’re filtering the content in the main query with the conditionals is_main_query() and in_the_loop(). The main post query can be thought of as the primary post loop that displays the main content for a post, page or archive. Without these conditionals you could unintentionally be filtering the content for custom loops in sidebars, footers, or elsewhere.

add_filter( 'the_content', 'filter_the_content_in_the_main_loop', 1 );

function filter_the_content_in_the_main_loop( $content ) {

    // Check if we're inside the main loop in a single Post.
    if ( is_singular() && in_the_loop() && is_main_query() ) {
        return $content . esc_html__( 'I’m filtering the content inside the main loop', 'wporg');

    return $content;


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Source Source

File: wp-includes/post-template.php

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Changelog Changelog

Version Description
0.71 Introduced.

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User Contributed Notes User Contributed Notes

  1. Skip to note 1 content
    Contributed by jonburnaby

    You can choose whether $content will have Shortcodes processed before or after your the_content function has executed by setting the Priority in add_filter. The default (10) will process Shortcodes after you have returned $content at the end of your Filter function. A large figure, such as 99, will already have processed Shortcodes before your Filter function is passed $content.

  2. Skip to note 3 content
    Contributed by SeanM88

    Consolidate multiple string replacement filters
    String replacements are a common reason for filtering the_content and with PHP7 you can now consolidate multiple callback functions using preg_replace_callback_array(); if it makes sense to.


    add_filter( 'the_content', 'multiple_string_replacements');
    function multiple_string_replacements ( $content ) {
    	if ( is_single() && in_the_loop() && is_main_query() ) {
    		return preg_replace_callback_array([
    			// 1. Removes WordPress injected <p> tags surrounding images in post content.
    			'/<p>\s*(<a .*>)?\s*(<img .* \/>)\s*(<\/a>)?\s*<\/p>/iU' => function ( &$matches ) {
    				return $matches[1] . $matches[2] . $matches[3];
    			// 2. Adds custom data-attribute to <p> tags providing a paragraph id number.
    			'|<p>|' => function ( &$matches ) {
    				static $i = 1;
    				return sprintf( '<p data-p-id="%d">', $i++ );
    		], $content );
    	return $content;
  3. Skip to note 4 content
    Contributed by arena

    the info at the bottom of the hook is wrong for most of the hooks :

    Used by 7 functions | Uses 0 functions (At least it could be 0 function … ah ah ah !)

    HERE is what i have for WP 5.1 :
    * (7 is right, 0 is wrong)
    * and i am not counting apply_filters_ref_array (happily there is no for “the_content” )

    the_content comment.php 2656
    the_content feed.php 191
    the_content formatting.php 3692
    the_content post-template.php 247
    the_content class-wp-rest-attachments-controller.php 310
    the_content class-wp-rest-posts-controller.php 1532
    the_content class-wp-rest-revisions-controller.php 545
    the_content blocks.php 269
    the_content blocks.php 296
    the_content class-wp-embed.php 32
    the_content class-wp-embed.php 39
    the_content default-filters.php 142
    the_content default-filters.php 172
    the_content default-filters.php 173
    the_content default-filters.php 174
    the_content default-filters.php 175
    the_content default-filters.php 176
    the_content default-filters.php 177
    the_content default-filters.php 178
    the_content default-filters.php 519

    There should be an indication of the WP version.

    my doc (WP 5.1) is available here ( !

  4. Skip to note 6 content
    Contributed by trebitzki

    The usage example is misleading. Unless you’re not interested in pages, it should be

    if ( ( is_single() || is_page() ) && in_the_loop() && is_main_query() ) {

    You should also add a sufficiently high priority to the filter to hook on the_content before rendering happens:

    add_filter( 'the_content', 'filter_the_content_in_the_main_loop', -1 );
    function filter_the_content_in_the_main_loop( $content ) {
        // Check if we're inside the main loop in a post or page.
        if ( ( is_single() || is_page() ) && in_the_loop() && is_main_query() ) {
            return $content . esc_html__("I'm filtering the content inside the main loop", "my-textdomain");
        return $content;

    This should go in functions.php.
    It took me half a day to figure out why my filter was doing nothing.

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