Function and usage of is_protected_meta() in wordpress


Answers ( 1 )


    The is_protected_meta() function in WordPress is used to determine whether a meta key is considered "protected". In WordPress, meta keys are used to store custom additional information for various types of objects like posts, comments, terms, and users. Protected meta keys have a specific naming convention and are treated differently in the WordPress admin interface, often hidden from the user interface.

    Function Signature:

    is_protected_meta( string $meta_key, string $meta_type = '' ): bool


    1. $meta_key (string, required): This is the metadata key you want to check. Metadata keys are used to store custom data in WordPress.

    2. $meta_type (string, optional): This parameter specifies the type of object the metadata is for. It accepts values like 'post', 'comment', 'term', 'user', or any other object type that has an associated meta table. If not provided, it defaults to an empty string.

    Return Value:

    • bool: The function returns a boolean value (true or false). It returns true if the meta key is considered protected, and false otherwise.


    Protected meta keys in WordPress typically start with an underscore (_). These keys are hidden from the custom fields section in the WordPress admin area to prevent accidental editing or deletion.

    Here's a sample usage of the is_protected_meta function:

    // Check if a meta key is protected
    $meta_key = '_custom_meta_key';
    $is_protected = is_protected_meta($meta_key, 'post');
    if ($is_protected) {
        echo "The meta key '$meta_key' is protected.";
    } else {
        echo "The meta key '$meta_key' is not protected.";

    In this example, we're checking if the meta key _custom_meta_key for a post is protected. The function will return true if the meta key is protected, and false if it's not.

    Practical Application:

    Understanding whether a meta key is protected can be crucial when developing plugins or themes, especially when dealing with metadata manipulation. This function helps ensure that your code does not inadvertently modify or display sensitive meta keys that are intended to be hidden from the end user.

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