$geolocation = esc_sql($_COOKIE['geolocation']);

I have this, and using Query Monitor, I've been able to find out that this notice is being thrown out 490 times on the home page alone, so I am wondering if it's something I should fix by wrapping it with:

if(isset($_COOKIE['geolocation'])) {

Is it worth doing so, and how much of a performance gain will it have?

1 Answer 1


It's worth doing so, though performance isn't always going to improve, notices are usually a sign of broken-ness or bad code.

In the example you cited, there's actually a mistake made and a potential security issue:

$geolocation = esc_sql($_COOKIE['geolocation']);
  • the code assumes there's cookies, and that a geolocation cookie is present
  • it uses esc_sql which should not be used here, esc_sql is almost never used by WP developers as it's mainly found inside the WPDB class
  • a Geolocation is not an SQL statement
  • esc_sql is an escaping function, not a sanitising function!
  • there is no default value for when it's undefined

A better way of doing this would be:

$geolocation = '';
if ( !empty( $_COOKIE['geolocation'] ) ) {
    $geolocation = wp_strip_all_tags( $_COOKIE['geolocation'] );

Here I'm not sure what the default value should be, or the format of this value, but you would swap out wp_strip_all_tags for an equivalent that sanitises it. You would also want a validation step to ensure it actually is a geolocation.

Notices and warnings can be caused by lots of things, and a lot of them may have no impact on performance, but they can be signs of bugs, security problems, or just awful code quality! If you buy a product and it starts spamming you with PHP notices then that's a bad sign.

PHP warnings and notices are like mugs with designs that peel off in the dishwasher, door handles that aren't screwed on properly, clothes in a shop that have stains on them, or cars that start making weird and ominous noises. Just because it doesn't make your site faster doesn't mean they shouldn't be fixed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.