Function and usage of get_category_parents() in wordpress


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    The get_category_parents() function in WordPress is used to retrieve the parents of a specific category. Here's a detailed explanation of the function and its parameters:


    • Purpose: To retrieve a list of parent categories for a specific category.
    • Return Type: This function returns a string that contains the list of parent categories, formatted based on the given parameters. If the function encounters an error, it returns a WP_Error object.


    1. $category_id (int, required):

      • Description: This is the ID of the category for which you want to retrieve parent categories.
      • Example: If you want the parent categories of a category with ID 5, you would pass 5 as this parameter.
    2. $link (bool, optional):

      • Default: false
      • Description: Determines whether the categories in the returned string should be formatted as links.
      • Example: If you set this to true, each category in the returned list will be a clickable link.
    3. $separator (string, optional):

      • Default: '/'
      • Description: Defines how the categories in the returned string will be separated.
      • Example: If you use ', ', the categories will be separated by a comma and a space.
    4. $nicename (bool, optional):

      • Default: false
      • Description: Decides whether the category names should be returned in their 'nice' form (slug) or not.
      • Example: If true, it will use the category slug (e.g., 'category-slug') instead of the category name (e.g., 'Category Name').
    5. $deprecated (array, optional):

      • Default: array()
      • Description: This parameter is not used. It's included for backward compatibility with older versions of WordPress.
      • Example: Typically left as the default empty array.


    • The function returns a string with the list of parent categories, formatted according to the specified parameters. If there is an error, such as an invalid category ID, it returns a WP_Error object.

    Sample Usage:

    $category_parents = get_category_parents( 5, true, ' > ', false );
    if ( ! is_wp_error( $category_parents ) ) {
        echo 'Category Parents: ' . $category_parents;
    } else {
        echo 'Error: ' . $category_parents->get_error_message();

    In this example, the function tries to get the parent categories of the category with ID 5. It formats them as links (true for $link), separates them with a 'greater than' symbol (' > ' for $separator), and uses the category name instead of the slug (false for $nicename). If the function succeeds, it prints the parent categories; if it fails, it prints the error message.

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