How do I get total number of Authors on the site?

This shows summery of users on the site but I just want to get number of Authors.

$result = count_users();
echo 'There are ', $result['total_users'], ' total users';
foreach($result['avail_roles'] as $role => $count)
    echo ', ', $count, ' are ', $role, 's';
echo '.';



4 Answers 4


You can use the WP_User_Query class, like the example below. Each code line have an small description, that you understand, what we do.

// Get all users with role Author.
$user_query = new WP_User_Query( array( 'role' => 'Author' ) );
// Get the total number of users for the current query. I use (int) only for sanitize.
$users_count = (int) $user_query->get_total();
// Echo a string and the value
echo 'So much authors: ' . $users_count;

Alternative you can also use the function get_users(). But is only a wrapper for the query and have much more fields in the result.


If you just want one field and/or a count, you can use get_users(). Restricting the fields returned makes for a fast query.

$users_count = count( get_users( array( 'fields' => array( 'ID' ), 'role' => 'author' ) ) );

If you just want authors count

$result = count_users();
echo count( get_users( array( 'role' => 'author' ) ) );
  • 2
    Why do you waste time for count_users() if you never use it?
    – fuxia
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 9:50
  • @fuxia - Is count( get_users( array( 'role' => 'author' ) ) ) faster performing than count_users()?
    – Motivated
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 7:33
  • @Motivated Probably not, but count_users() doesn't allow a limitation for a certain role.
    – fuxia
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 9:33
  • @fuxia, do you mean like $user_counts['avail_roles']['author'] or not allowing a limit as to the count which could result in a performance hit?
    – Motivated
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 9:55
  • @Motivated The array access comes after the query. If you have many users, you want to fetch only the data you really need, not all of them.
    – fuxia
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 14:51

The WP class WP_User_Query is inefficient if all you want is a count. The constructor runs query() producing an unnecessary call to users table, then a subsequent call with SELECT FOUND_ROWS().

After reviewing the wp core code we implement this filter.

add_filter('users_pre_query', function($result, WP_User_Query $user_query) {

   global $wpdb;
   $user_count = $wpdb->get_var("SELECT COUNT(1) {$user_query->query_from} {$user_query->query_where}");
   if(empty($wpdb->last_error)) $user_query->total_users = (int)$user_count;

   return false;
}, 10, 2);

The filter prevents local results from running and correctly sets total_users for use of:

$user_query = new WP_User_Query();

You'll want to remove the filter after instantiating.

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