I have a bunch of regular expressions that I want to run on my posts to update the post_content field, when a series of conditions are met, some of them require a combination of various values from ACF. Long story short I need a way to be able to programmatically edit the content of all my posts using preg_replace

I've been learning about the wp_insert_post_data filter, and it works, but it only works for the current post that is being edited. Is there any way to do this in WordPress where I can loop through all posts and update the content similarly?

Here's what I currently have.

add_filter('wp_insert_post_data', 'mystuff', 99, 2);
function mystuff($data, $post)
    $content = $data['post_content'];
    $regex = '/MYCRAZYREGEXSTUFF/';
    $match = preg_match($regex, $content, $matches);
    if ($match) {
        $updatedContent = preg_replace($regex, '', $content);
        $data['post_content'] = $updatedContent;
    return $data;
  • You can do regex search replace on your whole database with wp-cli.
    – Rup
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 13:48
  • So since I need to be able to query fields to use in my regex replacement value, I can't use a plain DB regex routine.
    – Joe Seifi
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


I ended up just writing a function inside of my template's index.php like this.

function fancySearchAndReplace() {
    $regex = '/myregex/';
    $my_posts = get_posts(array('post_type' => 'post', 'numberposts' => -1));
    foreach ($my_posts as $post) {
        $content = $post->post_content;
        $theID = $post->ID;
        $thing = get_field('thing', $theID);
        $updatedContent = preg_replace($regex, $thing, $content);
            'ID' => $theID,
            'post_content' => $updatedContent,

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