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I'm trying to see if I can make this happen with the built-in meta_query function. I'm taking a $_GET variable and want to return posts that contain that string inside the meta_key urls. So far, the below seems like it would be the most appropriate, but it's not returning values like I expected.

$search = '%' . $search . '%';
$args = array(
    'meta_query' => array(
            'key' => 'urls',
            'value' => $search,
            'compare' => 'LIKE',
$helpquery = new WP_Query($args);

Any ideas on making this work, or should I resort to a more direct $wpdb query?

Update #1

I see this being marked as a duplicate, but my question is specifically regarding whether this can be done with the meta_query or not.

share|improve this question

First of all - I assume the $search variable is being populated from $_GET (it's not in your code).

Secondly, do you need the % ? I think using LIKE with wp_query doesn't require them.

share|improve this answer
Yeah, it is—just didn't show it for brevity's sake. I'm not sure if I need the % in this case, but it wasn't working without them either, and I know I MySQL would normally want wildcards on both sides for this sort of thing. – Cliff Seal Jul 11 '13 at 2:07

What about using:

$args = array(
    'meta_key' => 'urls',
    'meta_value' => $search    

According to http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/23919 this solutions will add wildcars.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, but it doesn't quite work as expected. For instance, if 'module' is in the meta string I'm searching through, 'module/read' won't return a result. – Cliff Seal Jul 18 '13 at 14:33

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