So I have this code that's using jQuery on click. It fills the heart: https://jsfiddle.net/69ww31n3/

Here's where I'm struggling, I want when the heart is clicked it would add_post_meta key 'heart' with a value 1.

Then when someone else clicks, it would update_post_meta to +1.

Its sounds simple, but I'm struggling all day with this.

Any help would be appreciated.

  • 1
    So you probably need a REST API endpoint or an admin_ajax handler on the server to call that actually updates the post meta, and then you have your jQuery call that. I don't think any of the built-in REST API would just work for this. How are you going to protect against one user spamming the heart button?
    – Rup
    Sep 6, 2023 at 22:44
  • 1
    I'd probably find a few existing likes plugins and have a look how they handle this.
    – Rup
    Sep 6, 2023 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


WordPress Ajax to the rescue! You'll need to open up a function in WordPress that can be called via a javascript function, which is what the WP Ajax API was built for. It's a bit of a multi-step process, but is quite powerful once you have it setup.

There's a helpful article here that explains the overall concept of what you're trying to accomplish, but the basics are:

  1. Expose admin-ajax.php to the front-end of your website, so your new script can hit it. Load something like the following in your theme's functions.php:
function add_ajax_scripts() {
    wp_enqueue_script( 'ajaxcalls', get_template_directory_uri() . '/js/ajax-calls.js', array(), '1.0.0', true );
    wp_localize_script( 'ajaxcalls', 'ajax_object', array(
        'ajaxurl' => admin_url( 'admin-ajax.php' ),
        'ajaxnonce' => wp_create_nonce( 'ajax_post_validation' )
    ) );

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'add_ajax_scripts' );
  1. Create a function that will hit this endpoint and update the data you pass, again adding this to functions.php:
function increment_post_hearts() {
    $post_id = $_POST['post_id'];
    $current_hearts = get_post_meta( $post_id, 'heart');
    update_post_meta( $post_id, 'heart', $current_hearts++ ); //adds one to the heart count

add_action( 'wp_ajax_nopriv_increment_post_hearts', 'increment_post_hearts' );

IMPORTANT: Note the "nopriv_" in the add_action call above. This lets users who are NOT logged in use the function. If instead you want only logged in users to hit this endpoint, remove the "nopriv_". Rup's comment on your initial question is very valid, as you may need to sort out how to prevent a user from hitting this more than once (if desired)

  1. Create the javascript that will actually run this function on a user's click. Create a /js directory in your theme and add a file called "ajax-calls.js" with the following code (adjust to your use-case):
jQuery(document).ready( function($) {
    $('.class_of_your_heart_button').on('click', function() {
        var post_id = $(this).attr( 'id' );
            type: 'POST',
            url: ajax_object.ajaxurl,
            data: {
                action: 'custom_update_post',
                post_id: post_id
  1. Finally, your button code for the front-end heart button should look something like the following:

<button id="<?php echo get_the_ID(); ?>" class="class_of_your_heart_button"> Click To Update </button>

Clicking on the button should fire the javascript call, passing in the post ID you'd like to +1 the heart count of. Your implementation may need some adjustments, but this should get you most of the way there.

  • 2
    This IS the answer right here. You can also send back a JSON success message if you are displaying the like count in the heart or next to the heart. Sep 6, 2023 at 23:20

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