After extensive reading about this I've hit a wall with troubleshooting, so I figured I'd ask on here.

I'm building out an AJAX call that will run a WP_Query and return a series of posts that have a certain tag. The tag is specified by the user clicking on an item in a ul, which then passes the appropriate tag to the AJAX call as "data-slug".

I've built out my JS and PHP, but my AJAX call keeps returning an empty array, even though it logs a "success". I've double-checked that the correct slug is passing into the arguments for the WP_Query and that the proper scripts are enqueued. It appears the query just isn't returning anything. However, when I run the same query outside of AJAX, with the arguments hard-coded, it functions properly.

If anybody has ideas about how to proceed with this it would be much appreciated.

Here's the PHP that I've placed in functions.php:

    //Enqueue custom scripts
    function my_adding_scripts() {

        wp_register_script('gg-load', '/wp-content/plugins/gg-load.js', array('jquery'),'1.1', true);
        wp_localize_script( 'gg-load', 'myAjax', array( 'ajaxurl' => admin_url( 'admin-ajax.php' )));


    add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'my_adding_scripts');

    //Process AJAX data   
    add_action( 'wp_ajax_gg_query_posts', 'gg_query_posts' );
    add_action( 'wp_ajax_nopriv_gg_query_posts', 'gg_query_posts' );

    function gg_query_posts() {

        $response = array();

        $slug = $_REQUEST["slug"];

        $args = array(
            'tag' => "$slug",
            'orderby' => "title",
            'order'   => "ASC",

        $the_query = new WP_Query ($args);

        if ( $the_query->have_posts() ) {

            while ( $the_query->have_posts() ) {


            $response->status = true;

            $response->query = $the_query; 


        } else {

            $response->status = false;

            $response->message = esc_attr__( 'No posts were found' );


        die( json_encode( $response ) );


Here is the ajax call:

jQuery(document).ready( function() {

   jQuery("ul.gg-menu>li").click( function(e) {
      slug = jQuery(this).attr("data-slug"); //Passes slug to the PHP script for use in the WP_Query

         type : "post",
         dataType : "json",
         url : myAjax.ajaxurl,
         data : {action: "gg_query_posts", slug: slug},
         error: function(data) {
                    console.log(data, "error");
          success: function(data) {
                    console.log(data, "success");
                    //We work with the post data here



1 Answer 1


$response->status, $response->query etc. is not how you set array values in PHP. So you're just returning that empty array you defined at the beginning. To set a value on an array use square brackets and string for the key:

$response['status'] = true;

Do that everywhere you currently have ->.

Also, if you can get the tag ID you won't have to handle the request yourself at all because you could use the REST API and just send a request to:


To get posts with, for example, tag 39 in the order you want them. In place of admin_url( 'admin-ajax.php' ) just use rest_url( 'wp/v2/posts' ) and send a GET request, not POST.

  • Thank you! I'm getting the data in my array now. However, the query still isn't returning any posts.
    – toofarm
    Oct 23, 2017 at 16:25
  • Are you getting "No posts were found" or something else? Oct 25, 2017 at 10:58
  • I was getting an empty array, rather than a 'No posts found' error. I took your advice though and tried using the REST API, which is giving me what I want. many thanks!
    – toofarm
    Oct 26, 2017 at 13:51

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