I want to write a cronjob for myself. But I need to get access to WP_Query and the permissions to delete posts etc.

My question now is, how can I include the WP_Query function to my own PHP file and do I need to edit or change some permissions in order to delete or create posts with that cronjob?

2 Answers 2


Load WordPress in custom PHP Script:

You need to load essential WordPress core functionality in your custom PHP script for WP_Query to work properly.

For example, let's say you have a custom PHP file named my-cron.php and WordPress is installed in the web root, like this:

    my-cron.php <--

In this setup, if you want to use WP_Query in my-cron.php file, you need to load the wp-load.php file. So in my-cron.php file you need to have the following CODE:

if ( ! defined('ABSPATH') ) {
    /** Set up WordPress environment */
    require_once( dirname( __FILE__ ) . '/wp-load.php' );

Access WP_Query:

At this point, you'll have the access to WP_Query, so you can use it like this:

// simply selecting posts with category name "wordpress"
$the_query = new WP_Query( array( 'category_name' => 'wordpress' ) );
if ( $the_query->have_posts() ) {
    echo '<ul>';
    while ( $the_query->have_posts() ) {
        echo '<li>' . get_the_title() . '</li>';
    echo '</ul>';
else {
    echo "No post found for category named wordpress";

Delete Posts:

However, WP_Query doesn't have delete function. For that you'll either need to use the wp_delete_post() function or WPDB class. Using wp_delete_post() is recommended as it'll take care of many dependencies, however, if you need more control, then you may use WPDB class or $wpdb global variable, but be careful if you choose that path.

For example, the following CODE will delete the post with ID 1:

$deleted = wp_delete_post( 1 );
if( $deleted === false ) {
    echo "Couldn't delete Post with ID=1";
else {
    echo "Deleted Post with ID=1";  

Of course you can combine WP_Query with wp_delete_post to find and delete posts that meet specific criteria.

Setup Cron:

Once you are done writing the custom PHP script, you need to setup cron job to run as a HTTP request, like the following:

5 * * * * wget -q -O - http://your-domain.com/my-cron.php


Since accessing WP_Query or wp_delete_post function doesn't require any authentication (or permission) by default, you need to make sure my-cron.php is not publicly accessible. For example, you can add the following at the beginning of my-cron.php file to give access to localhost only:

$allowed_ip = '';
if( $allowed_ip !== $_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'] ) {
    exit( 0 );
  • Is there another way to iterate through all my posts from page product? - Because my problem is, I get this error message: PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 134217728 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 8388616 bytes) in /var/www/vhosts/httpdocs/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1842
    – Jan
    Mar 5, 2017 at 11:28
  • There are many other ways, you can even run custom query. But first you need to find out what exactly the problem is, a normal query shouldn't exhaust memory unless you have a lot of posts. I suggest you post another question with the CODE you are using.
    – Fayaz
    Mar 5, 2017 at 12:15

Is this to delete or create sites within a WordPress Multisite environment? If so, you can access WP_Query to handle sites by putting the function into a PHP file in a network-activated mu-plugin's folder.

  • Nope, it's a normal site
    – Jan
    Mar 3, 2017 at 6:50
  • So you're wanting to create a cronjob to delete a single site?
    – Kinna T
    Mar 3, 2017 at 6:54
  • Yes - that must be automated. But I need WP_Query for this
    – Jan
    Mar 3, 2017 at 6:57
  • If you're dealing with a single site, you can't create a WordPress query that creates or deletes an entire single site, as it has to install/uninstall WordPress entirely. If you were working in a multisite environment, there are functions to create and delete sites built into the system that can be called.
    – Kinna T
    Mar 3, 2017 at 7:02
  • Sorry... I mean a cronjob who is deleting pages and not the hole site!
    – Jan
    Mar 3, 2017 at 7:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.