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I have many posts (about 1,000) where each contains a custom field with a value. I need to update these values periodically, hopefully at least once per day, from an external API.

What is a recommended way to go about this without getting timeouts and using the most efficient means possible?

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I suggest using a WordPress cron job, in the form of a real server cron job (by default WordPress cronjobs are executed when a user visits the website).

Setting up a cron job (the easy way): https://kinsta.com/knowledgebase/wordpress-cron-job/

Real cronjob via server crontab: https://easyengine.io/tutorials/wordpress/wp-cron-crontab/

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