So I have the out of the box wordpress 'Search' widget that I want to expand. I used the below filter to have the ability to search for my custom post types inside the widget:

add_filter( 'pre_get_posts', function($query) {
    if ($query->is_search) {
        $query->set('post_type', [
            'post', 'profile' ,'recipe', 'dish'

The problem that I discovered is that it overwrote ALL search items on the website, including the search box inside the admin panel 'Posts', where I was getting custom post type results although they didn't live there.

Does anyone know how to improve the search functionality on the search widget to include custom post types without overwriting ALL search boxes throughout the site?

  • You would need to overwrite the search widget so that it submits an additional $_GET param indicating that it's "a widget" so you can check against it in pre_get_posts. If you're just looking to stop it from running on admin you can check against is_admin() and return early.
    – Howdy_McGee
    Feb 26, 2020 at 16:14
  • @Howdy_McGee, are there examples out there with the $_GET being used?
    – DevSem
    Feb 26, 2020 at 16:16
  • @Howdy_McGee, is it possible to adjust the search functionality on custom post types? Under 'Posts', only 'post' post_type shows, but under my 'recipe' post_type, both 'post' and 'recipe' show.
    – DevSem
    Feb 26, 2020 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


That's easy, pre_get_posts applies to all queries, not just those on the frontend. So if you don't want it to run on admin queries, test if you're in the admin and exit early!

You might also want to verify that you're in the main query

add_filter( 'pre_get_posts', function( \WP_Query $query) {
    if ( is_admin() ) {
    if ( ! $query->is_main_query() ) {

Remember, pre_get_posts runs on all queries, regardless of where, be it admin, frontend, XMLRPC, REST API, etc. It will only run on the frontend if you tell it to only run on the frontend.

  • Ahh, didn't think about that! Thanks Tom!
    – DevSem
    Feb 26, 2020 at 17:13

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