I am using WordPress and I am using a custom field that has the name ecpt_carprice for each post I am publishing, the field is saved in wp_postmeta the same as the attached image:

Some of my cars (posts) do not have a meta key ecpt_carprice.
Can you provide me with any means (WordPress/PHP or SQL query) to store for every post without the meta entry a new entry with value 0?

I have this code but I don't know how to use it

if ( has_term( '', 'car_brand' )) {

//check if the meta field has a value
$meta_values = get_post_meta($post->ID, 'ecpt_carprice', true);

//add a default value
add_post_meta($post->ID, 'ecpt_carprice', '0');


  • 3
    Why don't you just react to empty or missing post meta and display 0 instead of cluttering the database with uninformative data?
    – tfrommen
    Nov 4, 2013 at 13:43
  • @tf is right and you can check the meta_key in the single.php and if empty add the post meta' Nov 4, 2013 at 13:56
  • thanks, but i want to query all post, i won't wait to check every single post
    – Tayssir Ch
    Nov 4, 2013 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


If you want to and only need to do what @tf suggested, what is just to take care of displaying a 0 if no value is present, you can construct a function to do so like this:

function wpse121165_return_carprice() {
    $ecpt_carprice = get_post_meta($post->ID, 'ecpt_carprice', true);
    if(! empty( $ecpt_carprice ) ){
        return $ecpt_carprice;
    } else {
        return 0;

Use the function like this: echo wpse121165_return_carprice();

If you really need to update your database, you have to do this another way. Below code should give you an insight on how to do it:

 function wpse121165_update_carprice_meta() {
      // args to query for your key
      $args = array(
        'post_type' => 'your_post_type',
        'meta_query' => array(
            'relation' => 'OR',
                'key' => 'ecpt_carprice',
                'value' => 'bogus', // you have to pass a value
                'compare' => 'NOT EXISTS'
                'key' => 'ecpt_carprice',
                'value' => ''
        'fields' => 'ids'
      // perform the query to get back an array of ids
      $not_exist_or_empty_ids = new WP_Query( $args );

      foreach ( $not_exist_or_empty_ids as $id ) {
          update_post_meta($id, 'ecpt_carprice', '0');

Use the function like this: wpse121165_update_carprice_meta();. If you put this in you functions.php and perform your meta update on the database, make sure to disable it afterwards and not to call it over and over again.

  • thanks @ialocin, but i just have one question, do i should modify this line ? 'value' => 'bogus', // you have to pass a value what is bogus ?
    – Tayssir Ch
    Nov 4, 2013 at 14:11
  • No, have a look at WP_Query - Custom_Field_Parameters, there is a bug, which leads to 'compare' => 'NOT EXIST' requiring a value with it. Bogus is just a english word, google it, you can take any string as value, but you can not use null or a empty value. @TayssirCh Nov 4, 2013 at 14:17

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