I have a WordPress plugin that at one point I need to see if a certain title exists in the database. For 2 years, this code worked fine:

$myposttitle= $wpdb->get_results(
 "select post_title from $wpdb->posts
  where post_title like '%".  mysql_real_escape_string($myTitle) . "%'"

However, with php 5.5. and WP 3.9.1, this causes an error because the function mysql_real_escape_string is deprecated.

Any ideas on what other function will properly escape the contents of $myTitle now that I can't use mysql_real_escape_string anymore?



When working with database in WordPress you should never use the low lever mysql_* or mysqli_* functions.

Always use $wpdb methods, in your case you should use prepare():

$query = $wpdb->prepare(
  "SELECT post_title from $wpdb->posts
  WHERE post_title LIKE %s",
  "%" . $myTitle . "%"

Moreover, once you are getting a single column, you have easier life using get_col instead of get_results:

$myposttitle = get_col( $query );
  • Thanks... much appreciated. However, this won't handle the escape issue I mentioned, will it? – Allen May 20 '14 at 17:53
  • @Allen yes, prepare escape the values using mysqli_real_escape_string (PHP 5.5 compatible) or mysqli_real_escape_string according to your current version of PHP. – gmazzap May 20 '14 at 22:41

While the prepare() answer given is partially correct, if you do need a way to escape a string for an SQL statement manually, use esc_sql().

For the specific case of escaping a string to be placed inside a like statement, then it should more correctly be written like this:

$query = $wpdb->prepare(
  "SELECT post_title from $wpdb->posts
  WHERE post_title LIKE %s",
  "%" . $wpdb->esc_like( $myTitle ) . "%"

The $wpdb->esc_like() is necessary so as to properly escape any percent signs, underscores, or backslashes that may be in the phrase being searched for. Note that $wpdb->esc_like() does not return prepared input, it only escapes the special characters used in a LIKE. Thus, the prepare() is still needed.

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