I would like to insert an iframe with WordPress content inside a post. I explain myself. I have two things: a post and a presentation. In the the_content() WordPress filter, I add my iframe to the $content. This iframe has a src pointing to a custom .php file, and inside this .php I want to have access to my loop but I can not manage to do it.

So I cheat and pass the ID of the post through the URL so my iframe code is :

<iframe src=\"".WP_PLUGIN_URL."/presentation/embedded_presentation_iframe.php?postid=". get_the_ID() ."\" id=\"embedded-frame-presentation\"

And inside my .php I use this :

$postid = $_GET["postid"];
echo do_shortcode( get_post_meta($postid, 'awp_slides', true) ); 

The issue now is that I have some plugins adding some possible shortcodes and my shortcodes are transformed into plugins syntaxes, but since my .php file is outside the wordpress loop, the transformed shortcodes are not applied in my iframe...

So I think I have two ways for solving that but I don't know how to do both :

  1. I try to put my .php file (which is the src of iframe) into the loop of wordpress, I don't know how so my $content is process and the plugins are applied to my iframe
  2. Or maybe a function exist in wordpress which would be my $content but already processed so instead of using do_shortcode( get_post_meta($postid, 'awp_slides', true) ); I could use something like apply_plugins(do_shortcode( get_post_meta($postid, 'awp_slides', true) ));

2 Answers 2


There's a file in the root of your WordPress installation called wp-load.php. If you include that file at the top of your .php file, it will bootstrap enough of WordPress that you'll be able to access its API and execute your shortcodes.

However, there's a better way to do it.

See, with the approach you're using, you're hard-coding the path to the file in your code. Even though you're using WP_PLUGIN_URL, what happens if someone (maybe even you in future) wants to rename the plugin or moves that .php file to a different location?

WordPress provides an API for handling AJAX requests in plugins. It's really easy to get started using it, and it'll save you a lot of headaches down the road, especially if you release this plugin code publicly.

First, your plugin needs to register an AJAX handler.

// You can replace 'myactionname' with your own custom name
// like "user36316_renderiframe"
add_action( 'wp_ajax_nopriv_myactionname', 'myaction_handler' );
function myaction_handler() {

    // Render your iframe content here

    // Be sure to die() when you're done
    // or WordPress will append a '0' to the output
    // as a status code


Note the "nopriv" in the action name. WordPress's AJAX support was originally built for their admin interface, so it checks for admin access by default. If you only wanted admins who were logged in to be running your AJAX code, you'd leave off the "nopriv" and register the action wp_ajax_myactionname. But you want everybody to be able to render this iframe, so keep the "nopriv" in there.

Now that you're using WordPress's AJAX API, you can leave it up to WordPress to figure out where the AJAX endpoint is. Since AJAX was originally just used for admins, the file wp-admin/admin-ajax.php is used, and the admin_url() function will tell you where to find it:

<iframe src=<?php echo add_query_arg( 'action', 'myactionname', admin_url( 'admin-ajax.php' ) ); ?>

The add_query_arg() call will append the name of your action to the AJAX request. It's safer to use this function instead of just appending a value just in case admin_url() starts returning its own query string at some point.

You also want to pass a postid, and add_query_arg can help you there, too, if you pass in an array of query parameters:

<iframe src=<?php echo add_query_arg( array( 'action' => 'myactionname', 'postid' => get_the_ID() ), admin_url( 'admin-ajax.php' ) ); ?>

This would be better added as a comment to the above, but I lack sufficient "reputation points"... So, first of all, many thanks Dave Ross for your very helpful answer. Now that I've gotten it to work in my plugin, I have just a brief addendum. You wrote:

If you only wanted admins who were logged in to be running your AJAX code, you'd leave off the "nopriv" and register the action wp_ajax_myactionname. But you want everybody to be able to render this iframe, so keep the "nopriv" in there.

It seems, though, that if you want the function to work while you're logged in, you must include both

add_action( 'wp_ajax_myactionname', 'myaction_handler' );


add_action( 'wp_ajax_nopriv_myactionname', 'myaction_handler' );

Originally I had only the latter and kept getting "0" as the only content of my iframe. If I logged out of the WP admin, the content loaded fine. If I include both add_action variants it works whether or not I'm logged in. Maybe that will prove helpful to someone else with a similar problem.

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