Lately I was challenged to implement functionality that would allow users, editing specific custom post, to download json file based on meta of that post. I finally managed to complete the task (well, in some sense at least), but what now concerns me the most is the security of my solution.

Here goes the code (it's a plugin with three files inside its dir):


// Main plugin file. This is where I output button for custom post type edit page 
    <button data-postid="<?php echo $post->ID; ?>" data-fileurl="<?php echo plugins_url('download_json.php',__FILE__); ?>" class="button-secondary" id="mycp-download-json" >Download JSON</button>


    var $btn = jQuery('#mycp-download-json');
    $btn.on('click', function(e){
        window.location = jQuery(this).data('fileurl') + '?postid=' + jQuery(this).data('postid');


require(dirname(dirname(dirname(__DIR__))) . '/wp-load.php');
$postid = (int)($_GET['postid']);
header("Cache-Control: public");
header("Content-Description: File Transfer");
header("Content-Disposition: attachment; filename= file.json");
header("Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary");    
$fields  = get_post_meta($postid,'', true);
echo json_encode($fields,  JSON_HEX_APOS);

And here are my questions:

  • Would simple current_user_can() check be sufficient to prevent unauthorized downloading (by typing the url for example)?
  • In general, is it valid to implement such generate-download functionality this way? Is it necessary to create separate file for handling download request (download_json.php in this case)?
  • Are there other security issues that arise when I am including only wp-load (and not whole wp-blog-header)?

1 Answer 1


Plugins that load the WordPress environment this way get rejected from the repository, as they are prone to failure in non-standard configurations.

For something like this I would use the admin-post-$action to receive requests. The WordPress API will be available where you can check if users are authorized to perform specific actions.

  • Indeed it solves most of the problems. It's easier to implement, encapsulate in class and so on. Thank you for your answer.
    – Max
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 19:17

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