I have a custom post type called 'programmes' that details seminar information. Using a form visitors to the site can signup to a specific 'programme', once they have completed the form a new user is created with the following user meta:

  • programme_id - the post ID of the 'programme' registered on
  • programme_name - the title of the 'programme' registered on
  • programme_end_date - the date the 'programme' ends

The 'programme' dates are often changed (due to venue availability etc) after users have already registered, as a result I need to update the programme_end_date user meta field when these changes happen.

I know it's going to be some combination of the save_post action along with update_user_meta and presumably a loop to check for all the users that have the specific updated 'programme' ID in the programme_id user meta field, but I can get my head round exactly how to do it. Any pointers would be excellent.

3 Answers 3


You could query all the authors and loop through to update their dates. The below query pulls all users who have a programme_id of the current post_id and allocates an array of their IDs. You can then loop through to update whatever is necessary:

/** Save Custom Metaboxes **/
function save_custom_meta_boxes( $post_id, $post ) {

     * Your Testing conditions should go here to ensure
     * That we're in the correct place and actually need to
     * run this query. I suggest checking against post type 

    $user_query = new WP_User_Query( array(
        'meta_key'  => 'programme_id',
        'meta_value'=> $post_id,
        'fields'    => 'ID',
    ) );

    if( ! empty( $user_query->results ) ) {
        foreach( $user_query->results as $user_id ) {
            update_user_meta( $user_id, 'programme_end_date', $_POST['some_data_here'] );
add_action( 'save_post', 'save_custom_meta_boxes', 10, 2 );

I kept it as simple as possible and if you have a ton of users this may not be optimal.

  • I think you understood the question better than I did. :)
    – Christine Cooper
    Mar 16, 2016 at 17:36
  • Sorry only just got back round to this. Your answer looks excellent and I can follow the logic, however for some reason $user_id is passing an array of values(!) as opposed to the actual ID, any idea?
    – charliek
    Mar 21, 2016 at 14:02
  • @charliek Whoops! Fixed that. WP_Query puts it's results into a posts[] array. Usually it's an array of Post objects ( $post->ID, $post->post_date, etc ) but since we're only returning 1 field (ID) it's returning an array in integers. Anyway, to access this array we need to loop through $user_query->posts instead. If this solves you issue please ensure th click the checkmark so future readers know it's solved!.
    – Howdy_McGee
    Mar 21, 2016 at 14:07
  • This throws the follow errors - Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /.../functions.php on line 420 and Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /.../functions.php:420) in /.../wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 1196
    – charliek
    Mar 21, 2016 at 17:26
  • Have solved it. We we missing` $user_query->get_results()`
    – charliek
    Mar 21, 2016 at 17:35

I am a bit unsure what your aim is but I can definitely get you on your feet.

So you want to hook into save_post, confirm which post_status your are targeting, and then update user/post meta as you wish.

I've written this for you, see the comments for clarification and adjust it as you please:

add_action('save_post', 'wp_220873', 10, 2);

function wp_220873($id, $p) {

    // confirm if post is being published (or whatever post status you're targetting)
    if (
        (defined('DOING_AUTOSAVE') && DOING_AUTOSAVE)
        || (defined('DOING_AJAX') && DOING_AJAX)
        || ($p->post_status !== 'publish')
    ) {

    // update post meta as you wish
    update_post_meta( $p->ID, 'meta_key', $value );

    // update user meta as you wish
    update_user_meta( $p->post_author, 'meta_key', $value );

try this in the save_post hook

// search users which have this programme id

$args = array(
    "meta_query" => [
            "key" => "programme_id",
            "value" => $programme_id,

$wp_user_search = new \WP_User_Query($args);
$items = $wp_user_search->get_results();

foreach ($items as $user) {

    // update end date

    update_user_meta($user->ID, "programme_end_date", $programme_end_date);


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