I can get wp_logout to work, but not without generating lots of warnings ('PHP warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent').

wp_logout calls wp_clear_auth_cookie, which calls setcookie, and the cookies have to go with the HTTP headers. I'm calling wp_logout inside the page (in the header or footer), hence the problem.

So, how exactly am I meant to programmatically log a user out? I could do this in response to an ajax request, but that seems way over the top. Thanks.


Current code as follows:

add_action('wp_footer', 'fp_onload_php2');
function fp_onload_php2() {
   $slug = basename(get_permalink());
   if($slug != 'club-login')

   $jsmsg    = '';
   $loggedin = false;
   if(is_user_logged_in()) {
      $current_user = wp_get_current_user();
      $loggedin = $current_user->has_cap('customer');

   if($loggedin && isset($_GET['logout'])) {
      $jsmsg    = 'You have been logged out.';
      $loggedin = false;
   } else if(!$loggedin && isset($_GET['logout']))
      $jsmsg = "You are not logged in.";

         "<script type='text/javascript'> fp_onload_js2(0, '" . $jsmsg .
         "'); </script>\n";
         "<script type='text/javascript'> fp_onload_js2(1, '" . $jsmsg .
         "'); </script>\n";
}  // fp_onload_php2()
  • 1
    Where/how are you using wp_logout()? Post the code please.
    – s_ha_dum
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 17:46
  • 1
    you've mostly answered your own question- you have to call wp_logout before any content is sent to the browser.
    – Milo
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 20:55
  • Maybe delete_user_meta($user_id, 'session_tokens'); can help? This can also ban specific user. Once user's session has been deleted and that user (or even your user) reload the page, it will be automatically logout by WordPress.
    – vee
    Commented Dec 24, 2023 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


If you're using wp_logout in your own code, its probably best to exit or wp_redirect immediately afterwards.

You can call wp_set_current_user(0) after wp_logout() to manually log the user out instantly, if you need to continue executing PHP but don't want the user to be logged in.

  • Since WP 5.3 fixed issue 35488 wp_logout() includes the wp_set_current_user(0)
    – itinerant
    Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 16:52

This isn't great, but seems to work. It's not as simple as calling wp_logout before any content is sent, because the user may or may not be logged out before the rest of the page loads (I don't understand this). In my case, the page contents depend on whether or not the user is actually logged in (the menus change, and some JS code is called to display content differently).

for this code, a logout request redirects to the login page, with a GET parameter of logout=1. This is tested on the login page, which then calls wp_logout, and redirects back to the login page with a GET parameter of logout=0, to force a refresh.

add_action('init', 'check_logout');

function check_logout() {
   if(!isset($_GET['logout']) || ($_GET['logout'] != '1'))

   // get_permalink() and $post are not available here, so:
   $path = parse_url($_SERVER["REQUEST_URI"], PHP_URL_PATH);
   if($path != "/login/")

   if(is_user_logged_in()) {
      header("Location: http://fubar.com/login/?logout=0");
}  // check_logout()

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