I have two different pieces of code and it's returning two different results.

$search_query = new WP_Query();
$search_posts = $search_query->query('s=computer'); 
echo count($search_posts);


$search_posts = get_posts('s=computer');
echo count($search_posts);

What is the reason for the different values?

(The value provided by the first one is correct. It's the same as the number of posts that I get when I do a regular search in WP. But the first piece of code won't work inside the plugin's php file, it would work only in a template.)


1 Answer 1


The default arguments for get_posts() function include 'numberposts' => 5.

So if you're querying for a search term that returns more than five (5) results the second query will return a maximum value of 5 unless you pass 's=computer&numberposts=-1' as your query string.

The WP_Query object doesn't have a 'numberposts' default, although it is affected by the "Blog pages show at most" count in your settings panel. So if you want the total count using the query() function, you should override the defaults like this:

  • @goldenapples - Nice answer! Oct 9, 2010 at 1:41
  • Thank you so much for the answer. It was driving me crazy and all along there was very simple explanation :-)
    – Dan
    Oct 9, 2010 at 14:27
  • @Dan - If @goldenapples answer solved your problem please remember to select the checkmark for this answer to give him or her the credit they deserve. Oct 10, 2010 at 0:49

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