Function and usage of category_exists() in wordpress


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    The category_exists() function in WordPress is a useful tool for developers working with categories within the WordPress ecosystem. Here's a detailed explanation of its functionality and a sample usage:


    category_exists( int|string $cat_name, int $category_parent = null ): string|null


    This function is used to check whether a category exists in the WordPress database.


    • The category_exists() function looks up a category by its name and optionally by its parent category ID.
    • It's part of a broader set of WordPress functions that deal with terms and taxonomy, as indicated by the reference to term_exists().
    • This function is particularly useful when you want to programmatically confirm the existence of a category before performing operations like adding or editing posts in that category.


    1. $cat_name (int|string, required):

      • This is the name of the category you want to check for.
      • It can be passed as either an integer (category ID) or a string (category name).
    2. $category_parent (int, optional):

      • This is the ID of the parent category.
      • If provided, the function checks whether there is a category with the given name that is a child of the specified parent category.
      • By default, it is null, which means the parent category is not considered in the check.

    Return Value:

    • string|null
      • The function returns the category ID as a numeric string if a category with the specified name (and parent, if provided) exists.
      • It returns null if no matching category is found.

    Sample Usage:

    // Check for a category named 'News'
    $categoryId = category_exists('News');
    if ($categoryId) {
        echo "Category 'News' exists with ID: " . $categoryId;
    } else {
        echo "Category 'News' does not exist.";
    // Check for a category named 'Local' under a parent category with ID 5
    $localCategoryId = category_exists('Local', 5);
    if ($localCategoryId) {
        echo "Local category exists under parent category ID 5 with ID: " . $localCategoryId;
    } else {
        echo "Local category does not exist under parent category ID 5.";

    Additional Notes:

    • This function is particularly useful in scenarios where you want to avoid creating duplicate categories or want to assign posts to existing categories programmatically.
    • Remember to handle the case where the function returns null, especially when using the category ID returned for further operations.

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