I've asked this question already on the WordPress forum, but it sank like a stone, which isn't at all unusual.

I've set up a general Articles page with multiple loops, in order to display the first three articles from any category within the custom post type "Articles." These are all hard-coded into the template, like the one below, changing only the category ID number:

  $args = array(
  'cat' => 13,
  'posts_per_page' => 3,
  'post_type' => Article
  query_posts( $args );

  if( have_posts() ):?>

..and so on. What follows is all the necessary code to produce the title, the permalink, the excerpt, etc.

The loops work fine. The problem is that they're hard-coded into the template, which would require that with every new category added, I add a loop to the template file. I need to find a solution so that instead, every time a new category is created it automatically gets added as a block to the Articles page. Also, I need to have it create a link, just as though I were using wp_get_archives, so that each category block links to its own page which contains ALL of the posts within that category (with pagination, if necessary).

I can't think of any function which accomplishes this. Has anyone ever come across this problem before? Or does this require some heavy custom PHP coding that WordPress doesn't support unless hacked?

  • I'd strongly advise against the use of query_posts, it should never be used. Instead use WP_Query, which works very similarly, or the pre_get_posts filter
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 0:15
  • I keep hearing this, but nobody explains it. Why shouldn't I? It does what I want it to do.
    – 1db
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 1:48
  • You may think that, I did myself once, but it actually goes one step further and does more, and can muddle things up. The main loop is a WP_Query object, query_posts discards that object and creates a new one, essentially doubling the page load cost. It's impossible to nest loops using query_posts, and it's a destructive API to call, and it's not a clean call. With WP_Query it's obvious which query you're in, and if you need to modify the query args of a page load, use the pre_get_posts filter
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 13:36
  • Here is a breakdown on the use of query_posts() wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/1753/… Commented Jun 1, 2013 at 8:30

2 Answers 2


You get all categories with:

$categories = get_categories( array ( 'fields' => 'ids' ) );

This returns an array with all categories.

Then you should use get_posts() or a new WP_Query, because query_posts() has many side-effects and should not be used anymore.

Sample code, as illustration:

$categories = get_categories( array ( 'number' => 5 ) );
print '<pre>$categories = ' . htmlspecialchars( var_export( $categories, TRUE ), ENT_QUOTES, 'utf-8', FALSE ) . '</pre>';

$boxes = array();

foreach ( $categories as $category )
    $boxes[ $category->term_taxonomy_id ]['posts'] = get_posts(
            'numberposts'    => 5,
            'category'       => $category->term_taxonomy_id,
            'posts_per_page' => 3,
            'post_type'      => 'post'
    $boxes[ $category->term_taxonomy_id ]['title'] = $category->category_nicename;

foreach ( $boxes as $cat_id => $box )
        '<h2><a href="%1$s">%2$s</a></h2>',
        get_category_link( $cat_id ),

    print '<ul>';

    foreach ( $box['posts'] as $post )
            '<li><a href="%1$s">%2$s</a></li>',
            get_permalink( $post->ID ),
            esc_html( $post->post_title )

    print '</ul>';

This is actually quite easy to do! First, use get_categories to get a list of all your categories. Next, loop over these categories and get posts within those categories like you're doing above.

As a side note, you should avoid using query_posts for multiple loops. Check out this page which covers the topic in great detail.

Sample Code

$categories = get_categories();
foreach ( $categories as $category ) :
    $category_query = new WP_Query( array(
        'cat' => $category->term_id,
        'posts_per_page' => 3,
        'post_type' => 'Article'
    ) );

    while ( $category_query->have_posts() ) : $category_query->the_post();

        # Your existing code...


Within the foreach loop, you can get a link to the category with get_category_link()

  • I think I should have made it plain before: I'm not a programmer, my grasp of PHP is rudimentary (like, I can recognize it), and my understanding of WordPress isn't any better (for instance, that page you linked to doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever). Is there any real-world example somewhere that I can look at? I'm not asking anyone to write my code for me...but sometimes codex pages (or other tutorials) have exactly what you need.
    – 1db
    Commented May 25, 2013 at 23:37
  • I added some sample code for you to help get you started. Commented May 26, 2013 at 0:09

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