Because of the lack of documentation about post_limits, its hard to learn more about this function and when to use it. Never used it before or seen it used so maybe its not to be used?

function wpcodex_filter_home_post_limits( $limit, $query ) {

    if ( ! is_admin() && $query->is_main_query() && $query->is_home() ) {
        return 'LIMIT 0, 25';

    return $limit;
add_filter( 'post_limits', 'wpcodex_filter_home_post_limits', 10, 2 );

Based on my testing, post_limits does the same thing as using pre_get_posts

If i wanted to return 5 posts conditionally without paginating the remainder, would i use post_limits or pre_get_posts?


2 Answers 2


Note that here you're overriding the paging of the main query, with the posts_limits filter, by using hardcoded values:

'LIMIT 0, 25'

where 0 is the offset and 25 is the number of posts to display.

So in this case I would just use pre_get_posts with

$query->set( 'posts_per_page', 25 );

and we don't have to worry about the paging.

If i wanted to return 5 posts conditionally without paginating the remainder, would i use post_limits or pre_get_posts?

If we later decide that pagination is necessary, then we would need to rework your posts_limits code. The pre_get_posts filter would work as is and we could therefore say that it's at least a more "future proofed" method.

Another thing: If you were using get_posts() or WP_Query() with suppressed filters, then the posts_limits filter wouldn't be available while the pre_get_posts hook would be accessible.

  • Thanks. There'll still be pagination using 'posts_per_page', 25 Jun 11, 2015 at 12:20
  • yes the pagination of the main query should hold using the posts_per_page in pre_get_posts. So it might be a little more convenient to work with the pre_get_posts hook rather than "hacking" the generated SQL - but I don't see it's wrong in any way ;-) PS: If you're using $query->is_home() then I don't think you'll need the is_admin() check @BradDalton
    – birgire
    Jun 11, 2015 at 13:12

pre_get_posts allows you to alter the query arguments very early on in a request. You can modify anything that would be a valid WP_Query argument, including the LIMIT via the posts_per_page argument. This allows much, much broader range of effects than posts_limits which only allows you to alter one part of the database query SQL.

In your case, use pre_get_posts as the Core code will manage pagination for you ( at least if this is the main query(). If you use post_limits you will need to track and manage the pagination -- the "0,25" part yourself, incrementing values as you page.

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