I have a query where I get the highest id from a table.

$user_id = $wpdb->get_row("SELECT * FROM $table WHERE id=(SELECT MAX(id) FROM $table)")

The table should always have rows, but if for some reason it returns empty, there is an error (printed with $wpdb->print_error()):

WordPress database error: []

I was wondering why an empty result means an error? And how would I prevent this error?

  • What do you want to achieve? Maybe there´s another/a better way to do what you want...
    – flomei
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 12:48
  • Is this sub-query faster than ordering by ID with a LIMIT 0,1 ? What's the generated SQL query?
    – birgire
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 12:50
  • I get what I want with the query - I get the row with the highest id (the latest one). So it will always work. I just wanted to eliminate the possibility of errors, and if the the table is empty, the query returns 0 results, which is an error. I don't understand why it is an error.
    – Galivan
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


There isn't an error. The square brackets are empty-- aka "no error". Put a spurious comma in the SQL and you will see what I mean.

But your SQL is wildly complicated for you are doing. That is entirely equivalent to


Though, I notice you are using id rather than ID and I don't remember any Core tables using the lowercase version. If this is meant for a Core table that will be a problem.

  • Alright, great info! I use it for a custom table that I made. If there is no error, does it mean that $wpdb->print_error() will always display "WordPress database error" even when there is no error? That SQL statement looks nice, I didn't think about DESC LIMIT!
    – Galivan
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 15:08

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