This must be fairly simple, but I'm puzzled. And I may be going about it backwards.

How do I output a database option that is an array into a get_posts array?

I have an option in the database that stores some post IDs in the array format `1234,5678' . I can retrieve and echo them with

$options = get_option( 'pu_theme_options' );
$newspostids = $options['pu_textbox'];
echo $newspostids;

so I know am getting the output `1234,5678'. The database "option" is just text, saved from a form field in theme options.

What I need to do is get the data from that option into a get_posts array so I can display the posts by ID.

What I need is for get_posts to function like this:

$news = get_posts( array( 
            'post_type' => 'post', 
            'post__in'=> array(1234,5678)
            ) );

And, obviously, this doesn't work, putting the variable directly into the array and expecting it to output `1234,5678' :

$news = get_posts( array( 
            'post_type' => 'post', 
            'post__in'=> array($newspostids)
            ) );

So how should this work?

  • Just check the type of the option. If array, put as is, if not then explode the commas (explode(',', $option)).. Can be confusing if you don't dump your data initially..
    – Ismail
    May 25, 2016 at 23:35
  • The database "option" is just text, saved from a form field in theme options. But it appears I do need to sanitize it. May 26, 2016 at 4:59

2 Answers 2


You could use wp_parse_id_list() to sanitize your comma seperated list of post IDs. It's defined as:

function wp_parse_id_list( $list ) {
    if ( !is_array($list) )
        $list = preg_split('/[\s,]+/', $list);

    return array_unique(array_map('absint', $list));

where we can see that it returns unique array values as well.

Note that absint() is defined in core as abs( intval() ) and there's a difference in the max output of intval() for 32 and 64 bit systems according to the PHP docs.

  • Ah, I think that's it; I'll try it. Similar: wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/43267/… May 26, 2016 at 4:58
  • Using "include" as Gareth's answer works. Is there an advantage to using wp_parse_id_list ? May 26, 2016 at 17:21
  • The include parameter is a wrapper for post__in, that uses wp_parse_id_list(), with an adjustment in posts_per_page.Yes that will work. You should validate the database output, e.g. to make sure it's not empty, because empty post__in or include will not make get_posts() return an empty array. Another thing to consider: Should we always trust the core to sanitize the user input data or should we take care of it ? The latter sounds more responsible ;-) @markratledge
    – birgire
    May 26, 2016 at 21:09

get_posts doesn't have a post__in "variable", that's in wp_query, in get_posts (or get_pages) you would need to use include e.g.

$news  = get_posts(
  'post_type' => 'post',
  'include' => $newspostids,


  • But get_posts() is just a wrapper for WP_Query(), where in fact include is translated into the post__in argument with the help of wp_parse_id_list().
    – birgire
    May 26, 2016 at 0:07
  • oh right, I am just going on the codex and I would personally test that before anything else May 26, 2016 at 0:19
  • Any argument that is valid for WP_Query can be passed to get_posts May 26, 2016 at 5:00
  • This works; and I don't see any php errors in the logs. May 26, 2016 at 17:20

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