i'm working with search queries in wordpress and i've noticed that in the original queries terms are between curly brackets and numbers ... like this :

wp_posts.post_title LIKE '{30d0e4b86a2a793010a75740f60810aff6b57f6d18edc10be7ca6dc158e40c06}11{30d0e4b86a2a793010a75740f60810aff6b57f6d18edc10be7ca6dc158e40c06}'

what is it ?


  • Where and how did you get this?
    – Max Yudin
    Jan 16, 2018 at 15:00
  • with the filter 'posts_where' for example before editing the query just print_r($where)
    – Aliiiiiiii
    Jan 16, 2018 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


Those are placeholders for % signs. If you're sending % in the value to be compared against yourself, you'll notice it transforming '%test%' into wp_posts.post_title LIKE '{30d0e4b86a2a793010a75740f60810aff6b57f6d18edc10be7ca6dc158e40c06}\{30d0e4b86a2a793010a75740f60810aff6b57f6d18edc10be7ca6dc158e40c06}11{30d0e4b86a2a793010a75740f60810aff6b57f6d18edc10be7ca6dc158e40c06}\{30d0e4b86a2a793010a75740f60810aff6b57f6d18edc10be7ca6dc158e40c06}' when you look at $query->request.

The Query at the database side will have %. I haven't looked into why exactly and where it is done, but I've noticed that too recently. I believe it wasn't that way a few versions ago, so it might be a recent update.

Edit: I've looked into it some more. It was added in 4.8.3 and comes from wpdb:

 * Adds a placeholder escape string, to escape anything that resembles a printf() placeholder.
 * @since 4.8.3
 * @param string $query The query to escape.
 * @return string The query with the placeholder escape string inserted where necessary.
public function add_placeholder_escape( $query ) {
     * To prevent returning anything that even vaguely resembles a placeholder,
     * we clobber every % we can find.
    return str_replace( '%', $this->placeholder_escape(), $query );

 * Removes the placeholder escape strings from a query.
 * @since 4.8.3
 * @param string $query The query from which the placeholder will be removed.
 * @return string The query with the placeholder removed.
public function remove_placeholder_escape( $query ) {
    return str_replace( $this->placeholder_escape(), '%', $query );

The relevant trac ticket was #41925, and it was introduced to make sure that the SQL didn't contain anything that could be misunderstood as a placeholder by sprintf, while bringing "back" numbered placeholders (which were never officially supported but worked. They had been removed because of security issues).

  • ok thanks it's exactly what i was asking to myself in fact :) because when i created my own request with % i was unable to have this placeholders back ! if i found more info i'll post them here (why are they doing it like this for example)
    – Aliiiiiiii
    Jan 16, 2018 at 15:52

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