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In the wordpress settings => Reading => Blog pages show at most [input field] posts

I have it set to 3 posts at the moment.

On my index, date archives, tag archives, category archives, search results, etc... All pages that use the loop and paging, it shows 3 posts per page now.

My goal is to be able to have different number of results for different pages. ON my index maybe have 3 posts but on search results or archives, show a different number of results per page.

Any ideas how to do this?

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

This will do it: (add to your theme's functions.php)

add_action( 'pre_get_posts',  'set_posts_per_page'  );
function set_posts_per_page( $query ) {

  global $wp_the_query;

  if ( ( ! is_admin() ) && ( $query === $wp_the_query ) && ( $query->is_search() ) ) {
    $query->set( 'posts_per_page', 3 );
  elseif ( ( ! is_admin() ) && ( $query === $wp_the_query ) && ( $query->is_archive() ) ) {
    $query->set( 'posts_per_page', 5 );
  // Etc..

  return $query;
share|improve this answer
Is set a method of $query? – Rutwick Gangurde Oct 11 '11 at 4:34
@RutwickGangurde Yes. In fact, is_search() and is_archive() are too, which is now a little more clear after updating my answer with info gleaned from this great post: billerickson.net/customize-the-wordpress-query That article also notes that we'll have the $wp_query->is_main_query() method in WP3.3, which is pretty cool. – goto10 Oct 11 '11 at 5:10
Awesome man! Thanks a lot for the great post. I never knew these methods, and I used to drill down the object / array to change / set values. Good for on the fly hacks! +1 for you! – Rutwick Gangurde Oct 11 '11 at 5:20
Thanks, I appreciate it! – goto10 Oct 11 '11 at 23:20
Since when was it necessary to never change it if is_admin dashboard? Looks like it doesn't sync the "Number of items per page:" in screen options in WP possibly resulting in pages you can't page to. – NoBugs Jan 18 at 23:03

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