Using WP query:

$myquery = new WP_Query( array(
    'posts_per_page' => $instance['count'],
    'meta_key' => 'mywp_post_views_count',
    'orderby' => 'meta_value_num',
    'order' => 'DESC'
) );

Let's get the request:

echo $myquery->request;

It returns:

    FROM wp_posts
    INNER JOIN wp_postmeta
    ON ( wp_posts.ID = wp_postmeta.post_id )
        AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post'
        AND ( wp_posts.post_status = 'publish' OR wp_posts.post_status = 'private )
        AND ( wp_postmeta.meta_key = 'mywp_post_views_count' )
    GROUP BY wp_posts.ID
    ORDER BY wp_postmeta.meta_value+0 DESC
    LIMIT 0, 5

This runs correctly in MySQL, giving me 5 post ID's. But WordPress returns 120 results!

echo '$myquery = ' . count( $myquery->posts );

returns: $myquery = 120

And I've checked when looping through:

 while ( $myquery->have_posts() ) : $myquery->the_post();

It does output the 120 unique posts, rather than the expected 5 posts.

I can confirm:

echo 'Count: '.$instance['count'];

Returns: Count: 5

I am running the latest stable WordPress (4.1), with no plugins apart from ACF (Advanced Custom Fields) - just my custom theme. Disabling this plugin has no effect, and default WordPress theme (2015) has the same issue.

I'm struggling to understand why this is happening.

  • What happens if you hard code the amount of posts per page. Do you gt the same output. At this stage I've got a felling this is not an issue with posts per page, but something else, either a custom filter or a typo somewhere in a name causing to return all posts – Pieter Goosen Jan 27 '15 at 9:42
  • I've tried hard coding 5, instead of the $instance['count'] for posts per page - but unfortunately the same issue. – mattpark22 Jan 27 '15 at 11:06
  • 3
    Add 'suppress_filters'=>true to your arguments and report back – Pieter Goosen Jan 27 '15 at 11:12
  • Unfortunately this has no affect either :( – mattpark22 Feb 3 '15 at 12:17
  • Post your complete template. Something else on that page might be causing this. Did you make sure that your values are correct. Have you tried removing the meta_key and orderby parameters. Are you gettting the same result – Pieter Goosen Feb 3 '15 at 12:25

Try adding 'nopaging' => false to your query construct.

I just had the same issue and it fixed it for me.

  • Downvote? This isn't reddit. Explain. – Athoxx Oct 26 '17 at 11:55

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