I have this code which is supposed to give me only the titles of the pages. Instead is returning all of the post content for the first page after giving me what I want instead of just the page title.

function gridpost($atts) { 
query_posts(array('showposts' => 44, 'post_parent' => 256, 'post_type' => 'page'));

while (have_posts()): the_post();
$content .=get_the_title();               

return $content;
wp_reset_query();  // Restore global post data

}//end of functioon 

add_shortcode('peter_pgrid', 'gridpost');
  • I would avoid using query_posts at all costs, and your wp_reset_query is after the return, it will never reach that point so no cleanup happens
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 18:29
  • Thank you for the reply, whats an alternative? Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 18:31
  • start with an empty $content before the 'while' code: $content = '';
    – Michael
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 18:35
  • WP_Query and get_posts, I'd recommend the first as it works similarly to what you already have. A standard WP_Query loop will avoid these kinds of accidents
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 18:35
  • I need some code examples. Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


There are 3 main issues here

1. The $content variable

This variable is first seen here:

$content .=get_the_title(); 

But it seems to have been plucked out of thin air! Computers need to be told explicitly what to do, and there's no you know what I mean. You have to tell it about things before you use them, or it won't know what you mean.

In this situation, PHP will generate a warning/notice in your error log about this, then substitute it for "" or an empty value. This is PHP trying to be helpful, but it will fill your PHP error log very quickly, and it can lead to unexpected problems and strangeness.

2. query_posts

Purge this function from your memory and burn all traces of it with the fire of a thousand suns. There is no good or valid use of this function in day to day use, and it's a great way to break pagination, slow down pages, and cause problems.


  • If you want to change the posts WP shows on a page, use the pre_get_posts filter.
  • If you're happy with the posts WP shows, but want to query an additional set of posts, perhaps for a block or a widget, use WP_Query and a standard loop. e.g.:
$q = new WP_Query( [
    'post_type'      => 'page',
    'posts_per_page' => 5,

if ( $q->have_posts() ) {
    while( $q->have_posts() ) {
        // display this post
    wp_reset_postdata(); // cleanup after ourselves
} else {
    // nothing was found

The above query will fetch 5 pages

3. Return Statements and Order

return means end the function and pass back this value. The code has a super important call to wp_reset_query, but for some reason it's been placed after the return statement, making it impossible to reach for PHP.

As a result, the shortcode exits before the cleanup can happen. But now, the main loop that had just a single post in it, now has all the posts query_posts dragged in instead, so instead of stopping and continuing to the comments area or the footer, it goes back and loop around.

Remember, order matters. Code is ran from top, to bottom. What the code has done is the equivalent of these shopping instructions:

  1. buy eggs
  2. buy milk
  3. stop reading these instructions and go home
  4. buy bread

Suffice to say bread will never be bought.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Indent indent! A good code editor will auto-indent for you, don't leave code unindented, there's a whole group of bugs and mistakes that are impossible if you indent code
  • Don't hardcode post IDs and category IDs in your code. Since you're using a shortcode, pass them in as attributes!
  • You might want to wrap your titles in tags of some sort so they don't appear all smushed up together on a single line
  • I see you capped your posts to 44, this is good! A lot of people use -1 to show all, and this can be very bad for performance
  • Thank you!! Although when I build onto this and use other meta data such as this, the thumbnails display above the original shortcode, but the titles go in the correct place. $content .=the_post_thumbnail(array(240, 240)). ' '.get_the_title(); Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 18:58
  • That's unfortunate but your original question made no mention of thumbnails. Consider opening another question for this new issue, but keep in mind this isn't a discussion/support forum, it's a Q&A site
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 19:18

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