I need to have 8 separate post meta fields on each post in wp-admin (shown in a custom meta field box).

I'd like the data from these 8 fields to be stored in an array as one post_meta field for easy parsing on the front-end.

What's the best way to do this? I have found examples of how to do this via PHP, but not how to combine inputs in the backend on save.

  • 1
    I would not recommend doing so. Mixing various fields in a serialized array makes a lot of other stuff more difficult later on, e.g. searching for them. Why don't you just build the array from separate values on the frontend?
    – kraftner
    Jul 22, 2015 at 15:21
  • @kraftner - These values won't ever need to be searched. Basically I need to allow my editors to include 8 post ID's and custom titles for each of those ID's, so it makes more sense to have the ID's and titles grouped in an array.
    – jetlej
    Jul 22, 2015 at 15:33
  • You could think of it as manually including related posts.
    – jetlej
    Jul 22, 2015 at 15:34
  • Even more I believe this isn't the right approach. Your blocking a lot of unforeseeable possibilities you may need later on for no particular reason. What is the problem with building the array on the front-end?
    – kraftner
    Jul 22, 2015 at 15:36
  • 1
    Check this answer if you are worried about performance ;-) Jul 22, 2015 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


I agree with kraftner's comments to the question. This is a bad idea and you stand a good chance of regretting it later. Store you data as granular post meta values. Everything is easier later on.

However, add_post_meta() and save_post_meta() will serialize objects/arrays for you. You don't have to do anything special:


And get_post_meta() will unserialize it for you:

  • I know you can send an array of values to update_post_meta. My question was about how best to save the data from many input fields in wp-admin and save those as an array to post_meta.
    – jetlej
    Jul 23, 2015 at 17:15
  • It is exactly the same answer -- build an array and save it. I don't understand what is so complicated.
    – s_ha_dum
    Jul 23, 2015 at 19:26

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