How do I query_posts and only show results if a custom field is not empty or has a value.

I want to put in a URL in a custom field and only show these pages if there is a URL?

current code but I can't figure out the rest:

$args = array( 'posts_per_page' => '10', 
    'post_type' => 'programmes', 
    'orderby' => 'meta_value_num', 'meta_key' => 'popularityfig',
    'order'  => 'DESC',

3 Answers 3


Try this code:

$args = array(
'posts_per_page' => '10',
'post_type' => 'programmes',
'meta_key' => 'popularityfig',
'meta_value' => '',
'meta_compare' => '!=',
'order' => 'DESC'

There're 2 arguments you might want to note in the code: meta_value and meta_compare. Using meta_compare with operator != will exclude posts with empty meta value.

  • Thanks, I can see that on codex now?? Why I couldn't see it before I'm not sure!! Thanks again.
    – erichmond
    Feb 24, 2011 at 10:08
  • 2
    For whatever reason, this kept pulling all of my posts regardless of value. Instead, I used 'meta_value' => array('') and 'meta_compare' => 'NOT IN' and that worked.I created my meta value with the Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) plugin and it was just a text field.
    – Tessa
    Jan 10, 2018 at 13:33
  • 1
    @Tessa This worked for me. Thank you!
    – sk03
    Oct 25, 2021 at 19:35

It's not clear if the answer above actually worked for you @erichmond, but it definitely did not for me. Found a solution though. See: How can I show posts only if meta_value is not empty


The accepted answer was not working for me with a text field in Advanced Custom Fields. It kept pulling all posts once they were saved after the text field was added to the Custom Fields. I had to do a similar solution to others:

$args = array(  
    'meta_key' => 'your_acf_field',
    'meta_value' => array(''),
    'meta_compare' => 'NOT IN',

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