I already added a featured post image to all my posts (>1000). Some posts (around 700) still have an image at the beginning of the post content.

Now I need to remove all images which are right at the beginning of the post content. I need to leave the images untouched which are not at the beginning.

Because of that I can't just remove "the first image tag occurrence in the post" because then I would remove images from the post content.

Maybe this plugin here Permanently remove first image from posts could be used as a base but what would be re regex or query to reflect this requirements?

  • You could check the first html tag from every post content with DomDocument and process your script only if it's an image or a link wrapping an image.
    – Luis Sanz
    Jul 21, 2016 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


Suppose you haven't modified anything to change the default content output, maybe this can help:

add_filter('the_content', function($content)
  $content = preg_replace('~^<p><img([^>]+)></p>~i', '', $content, 1);

  return $content;
  • The problem with this is that if the first image is repeated elsewhere in the post, all instances will be removed.
    – jgraup
    Jul 22, 2016 at 3:08
  • @jgraup Ah, haven't thought about that ;-). I have just updated the answer.
    – wpclevel
    Jul 22, 2016 at 3:40
  • Hi! Thank you! I added this remove line breaks, white space and non-breaking space only at the start of the post. Maybe you can add that to your answer? $clean = preg_replace("/^<img[^>]+\>/i", "", $post->post_content, 1); $cleaner = preg_replace('/^\s+/', ' ',$clean); $moreclean = ltrim($cleaner); $cleanest = str_replace("^&nbsp;", "", $moreclean); $pid = wp_update_post(array( 'ID' => $post->ID, 'post_content' => $cleanest ));
    – Marc
    Jul 22, 2016 at 10:54
  • @Marc Hey! I don't quite understand what you're doing but feel free to add your own answer and mark it as a true answer if it's more correct for you. But remember to vote for helpful answers as well. ;-)
    – wpclevel
    Jul 22, 2016 at 11:06

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