I noticed the latest posts widget in my footer displaying all posts. Anywhere else on my page, it displays only the amount of posts it should. I am using a custom theme and this is my archive.php:

<?php get_header(); ?>

<div id="maincol">

    <article id="page-<?php the_ID(); ?>" class="page">
        <header class="page-header">
            <h1 class="page-title">Post Type Archive Title</h1>

        <?php $posts = query_posts($query_string . '&orderby=meta_value_num&meta_key=premium&posts_per_page=6'); ?>
        <?php if ( have_posts() ) : ?>

            <h3 class="toggle">Filter</h3>
            <div id="filterbox">
                 <?php echo do_shortcode('[ULWPQSF id=82 formtitle="0"]'); ?>
                 <small class="toggle-close">close</small>

                echo '<div class="objects">';
                echo '<ul class="list-objects clear">';
                while ( have_posts() ) { the_post();
                    get_template_part('content', 'my-post-type');
                if(function_exists('wp_pagenavi')) :
        echo '</ul>';
        echo '</div>';


 </div><!-- maincol-->

<aside class="sidebar" id="sidebar-main">
    <?php get_sidebar(); ?>
<div class="clear"></div>

<?php get_footer(); ?>

Can you possibly spot the mistake?

  • 1
    The code you posted is a template file, not the widget code. Can you post the widget code? Anyway I can give a good advise: change the query_posts function for a new WP_Query instance. DO NOT USE query_post in a theme or plugin file. NEVER.
    – cybmeta
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 11:51
  • what is the shortcode ULWPQSF doing?
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 17:54
  • you should never change the main query on any type of archive page. You should use pre_get_posts to alter the main main query before it is executed instead. query_posts is a culprit to many problems, never use it at all. Take you time and read this post I've recently done Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 5:17
  • ULWPQSF is a plugin shortcode for Ultimate WP Query Search Filter, it creates checkboxes for my categories to filter by. @cybmeta & Pieter Goosen: thank you, I didn't know using query_posts was that problematic, I used a pre_get_posts function, I'll post that solution later as an answer if you don't mind
    – okiedokey
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 9:12
  • That is why I always hammer on the point I've made. There are always beter more reliable methods to use than query_posts. I'm glad you solved your problem, and that I could be of help. BTW, +1 for just taking the time and posting the solution to your own question. :-) Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 9:46

1 Answer 1


Thanks to the comments from @Pieter Goosen and @cybmeta I changed my way to order the posts on the archive page by making use of pre_get_posts

What I wanted my archive page to do is displaying posts with custom field value 1 and named "premium" (my method to create custom sticky posts) first and then all the "normal" posts.

I added the following lines to my functions.php file (Edit: added !is_admin() as suggested in Pieter's comment):

function custom_archive_query($query) {
    if ( is_post_type_archive('my-custom-post-type') &&  $query->is_main_query() && !is_admin() ) {
        $query->set( 'posts_per_page', 8 );
        $query->set( 'orderby', 'meta_value_num' );
        $query->set( 'meta_key', 'premium');
        $query->set( 'order', 'DESC' );
add_action('pre_get_posts', 'custom_archive_query');

It's somewhat important to use $query->is_main_query() in the if-statement, because otherwise every other kind of query (e.g. WP menus or latest posts-widgets) won't display anything.

  • It is very important to use is_main_query for the simple fact that pre_get_posts alters all queries, back end and front end, so you should direct it only at the main query. It is important to use !is_admin check as well to inhibit back end changes :-) Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 9:41

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