(Moderator's note: The question's original title was: "Custom query: Show custom post types plus custom post type with post meta on blog homepage")

I'm in need of help with a custom query. I have three custom post types: "News", "Events", "Stories". On the main blog page, only News and Events will show. The client can choose to mark a Story as News using features of the plugin Verve Meta Boxes. If a Stories post has a post meta key of 'mark-as-news' then the that post should display on the main blog page as well.

So what I need help with writing is this:

If Stories has post meta 'mark-as-news' then the main blog page will display custom post types News and Events, as well as Stories, in descending order.

Can someone please assist?



Perhaps a better way of wording this would be?:

Show custom post types News and Events, and if there is the key 'mark-as-news' for post_meta, show Stories.


2 Answers 2


Hi @webcodeslinger:

Here's what a basic MySQL query for loading News and Events would look like (this is greatly simplified from what WordPress actually does):

SELECT * FROM wp_posts WHERE post_type IN ('news','events') 

What you want instead is something like this (there are more performant ways to do this in MySQL but they are more complex in WordPress and for most sites you'll never notice a difference):

SELECT * FROM wp_posts WHERE post_type IN ('news','events') 
  OR (post_type='stories' AND ID IN 
    (SELECT post_id FROM wp_postmeta WHERE meta_key='mark-as-news')

So...to add that extra SQL to your main loop's query use a 'posts_where' hook. You can put the following hook code into your theme's functions.php file (at the bottom of the file will do) or in one of the .php files of a plugin if you are creating a plugin:

function yoursite_posts_where($where,$query) {
  global $wp_the_query;
  if (is_home() && $query===$wp_the_query) { // This means home page and the main loop
    global $wpdb;
    $where .= " OR ({$wpdb->posts}.post_type='actor' AND " . 
              "{$wpdb->posts}.ID IN (" . 
                "SELECT post_id FROM {$wpdb->postmeta} " .
                "WHERE meta_key='mark-as-news')) ";
  return $where;
  • Won't this affect more queries than homepage alone? Seems to be generic hook.
    – Rarst
    Oct 24, 2010 at 8:04
  • @Rarst - You are absolutely right, that slipped by me. I'll correct. BTW, that's the kind of thing I was talking about here: core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/15063 Oct 24, 2010 at 8:54
  • Thanks very much, Mike. And thanks for making my question make more sense. Please forgive my stupidity, but I have no idea what to do after adding this code to my functions.php file. Oct 24, 2010 at 16:41
  • As far as I can tell this is also the answer to "What is the best way to modify the default WP_Query without affecting subsequent post queries. $query===$wp_the_query is something I didn't realize was possible :)
    – jerclarke
    Nov 11, 2010 at 22:38
  • @Jeremy Clarke - @Denis-de-Bernardy suggested $query===$wp_the_query to me on trac recently so props go to him. Nov 11, 2010 at 23:41

What you want is easy to describe, but hard to get working with WP API. I hadn't seen nice and tidy solution so far.

Basically WP query is a fancy wrapper for SQL query that gets post rows from database. What you want is practically two different queries for two different sets of posts. WP doesn't currently handle such OR logic in queries.

You can make two queries and combine results, but in that case it will be hard to get pagination right.

This is probably one of the reason magazine-style themes became popular, because they specialize in showing multiple sets of posts in several areas, rather than struggling with complex mix of content.

  • Thanks, Rarst. In your opinion, given that two of these custom post types need custom fields, would this work better if they were categories and not custom post types? Thanks! Oct 23, 2010 at 21:30
  • @webcodeslinger - For what you want you'd be adding complexity to the SQL required if you were to use categories and you'd loose all the benefits of custom post types. Oct 24, 2010 at 3:54
  • @MikeSchinkel - Thanks, that's what I was thinking. Oct 24, 2010 at 16:31

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