I'd like to query post revisions using WP_Query for display on an admin page, and I want to include pagination parameters.

I have two constraints:

  1. I would like to only retrieve revisions for published posts, i.e. revisions whose parent - the post ID for which is given in the post_parent field - contains publish in its post_status field.

  2. I would like to ignore the revision autogenerated when a post is published, i.e. the revision whose post_date matches that of the parent.

Normally I would simply filter these revisions out after getting the array of posts, but I want to display these elements in an admin list table with pagination so I'd like to use WP_Query's support for that.

In SQL, I would use an INNER JOIN like this to grab the parent posts:

SELECT * FROM {$wpdb->posts} AS posts
INNER JOIN {$wpdb->posts} AS parent_posts
ON posts.post_parent = parent_posts.ID
WHERE posts.post_type = 'revision'
AND parent_posts.post_status = 'publish'
AND posts.post_date <> parent_posts.post_date

Is this possible to do this using WP_Query?

1 Answer 1


You should use posts_join and posts_where filters to modify JOIN and WHERE clauses.

add_filter( 'posts_join' , 'se333659_posts_join', 20, 2 );
add_filter( 'posts_where' , 'se333659_posts_where', 20, 2 );

function se333659_posts_join( $join, $query )
    global $wpdb;

    if ( isset($query->query_vars['_rev_of_publ']) &&
        $query->query_vars['_rev_of_publ'] == '1' )
        $join .= " LEFT JOIN {$wpdb->posts} AS rev_p ON ({$wpdb->posts}.post_parent = rev_p.ID) ";
    return $join;

function se333659_posts_where( $where, $query )
    global $wpdb;

    if ( isset($query->query_vars['_rev_of_publ']) &&
        $query->query_vars['_rev_of_publ'] == '1' )
        $where .= ' AND rev_p.post_status = \'publish\' AND '.$wpdb->posts.'.post_date <> rev_p.post_date ';
    return $where;

How to use:

Changes in the query will be made after passing the _rev_of_publ parameter (name can be changed) to WP_Query.

$args = [
    'post_type'     => 'revision',
    'post_status'   => 'any',     // default value is 'publish'
    '_rev_of_publ'  => 1,
$my_query = new WP_Query( $args );

Here you will find more information about using WP_Query.

  • Thank you for the detailed reply. I did consider this approach, but I figure it's equally if not more complex than a raw SQL query as I put in the original post - indeed, your solution still involves appending SQL to the query. I had hoped there was a way to do this sort of join with WP_Query itself to avoid all of the complaints from WPCS in my plugin about direct database interactions.
    – Sean
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 20:09
  • 1
    @Sean The filters mentioned above are used to expand WP_Query with custom joins and conditions. I'm afraid there is no other way than raw SQL or filters. Anyway, I do not know him. Conditions added to where don't have to be hard coded, they also can be passed as WP_Query parameter like _rev_of_publ.
    – nmr
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 20:31

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