I have a problem with a query on my website. When I load the page it is incredibly slow and only after over 12 seconds the content starts showing. I have installed a debug plugin and found the query that takes so long. The output of the plugin is the following:

Time: 12,315.2ms (12.315196037292s)


FROM meruca_posts 
WHERE 1=1 
    meruca_posts.ID NOT IN (
        SELECT object_id
        FROM meruca_term_relationships
        WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (14)
AND meruca_posts.post_type = 'post' 
    meruca_posts.post_status = 'publish' 
    OR meruca_posts.post_status = 'private'
GROUP BY meruca_posts.ID ORDER BY meruca_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 10

Function: WP_Query->get_posts() (meruca_ is my table prefix)

I have only basic understanding of mysql and can't really see, what may cause this to take so long. If anybody has an idea what I could change it would be much appreciated. There are about 5k posts on the site right now which isn't too many and it is running on a dedicated server that should have much more than sufficient resourced for any query theoretically.

  • Please care about the readability and formatting of your questions. There's a WYSIWYG editor helping you to do that.
    – kaiser
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 13:17
  • Have you tried running the same query directly inside phpMyAdmin or Adminer? The problem might be that you're doing a query inside a query, but you can only test that. The other question you should ask yourself is where the query comes from and if you couldn't do it more straight forward.
    – kaiser
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 13:21
  • First thank you for the formatting, I was in a hurry still should have taken the time for that! Also you were right, I removed the nested query and it was lightning fast in phpmyadmin. The query comes from the option from my theme to not display certain categories on a page. I'm not quite sure how I can work around it but I will look into it for some time and update here, if I fix the problem. Again thank you for your efforts! Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 13:29
  • 1
    I was able to resolve the issue, however couldn't post my solution as an answer here due to my low reputation I can only do so in 8 hours. Until then it was solved by using category__in (array) instead of category__not_in (array). I will post the detailed answer with the new debug output as soon as I can! Thank you kaiser for helping me out. Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 13:49
  • Nice to see that the problem is gone. The restriction with 8 hours is there for everyone. Even we moderators would have to wait that time :)
    – kaiser
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


You must use a temporary table and an alias:

FROM meruca_posts 
            FROM (
                    SELECT object_id as ID
                    FROM meruca_term_relationships
                    WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (14)
            AS temp_object)
AND post_type = 'post' 
AND post_status IN ('publish','private') 

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