I'm building my own simple WordPress community site and I want to include a simple like button on a custom post type. I do not want to use any plugins as I want full control and I'm also doing this for a learning experience.

I want the button to appear on each post as well as in the post archive page. If a user is logged in and likes a post, then the like button will change state to show the user that they clicked in. There will also be a page to show all of the liked posts by each user. I can handle the JS and CSS part.

My solution for implementing this feature is to create a new table in WordPress called 'wp_likes' shown below. It will log all of the users who like any custom post.

| ID | Custom Post ID | User ID |
|  1 |             12 |       1 |
|  2 |             13 |       1 |

And a summary table wp_likes_summary. This will allow me to efficiently display the total number of likes on each custom post without writing a query to count each row.

| ID | Custom Post ID | Likes |
|  1 |             12 |    89 |
|  2 |             13 |    12 |

Are there any dangers in using this approach? I don't want to mess with WP core tables. I believe this approach would be scaleable even if there are thousands of likes. Would it be better to store the likes in a WP core table (posts) and add a new column which contains an array of users who like the custom post? Is it even a good idea to add another column to the core posts table?

I really do appreciate your time as I'm trying to think ahead to save me hassle down the road. Thanks!

1 Answer 1


Using WordPress's wp_postmeta will help you a lot, instead of creating a new table. Functions like get_post_meta(), update_post_meta(), add_post_meta() etc, are readily available for use.

All you need is to create a meta_key (which in this case will be wp_likes) and the meta_value (number of likes will be stored), which can be easily retrieved using get_post_meta().

You can see the links below for references:





  • Hi Samuel, awesome! So how can I find out which user like which post? Can the meta_key contain the custom post id and the meta_value contain the user ID?
    – Raja
    Jan 15, 2017 at 20:12
  • Yes, the post ID can be stored. add_post_meta($postID, $meta_key, $meta_value). For the likes, you can use wp_likes as the meta_key, then the meta_value would store the number of likes for that post. For the user, you can use wp_likes_users as the meta_key and store the user's id as the meta_value. Jan 15, 2017 at 20:39
  • Awesome, that makes sense. Thank you very much Samuel :)
    – Raja
    Jan 15, 2017 at 20:40
  • Glad to help @Raja Jan 15, 2017 at 20:41

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