I am running a wordpress site and I need the correct regex syntax to get a URL from some shortcode that is returned inside the_content().

When I use the_content(), it will return something like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam nulla enim, euismod ut pharetra nec, commodo a augue. Etiam sit amet nibh mauris, eu ornare purus. Vestibulum sed sem enim, sit amet congue leo. 

[video mp4=<<insert video url here>> poster=<<insert imgae placeholder url>>]

How can I get just the video mp4 URL?

  • This isn't a WordPress question, IMHO. If reworded, it could be though. – Dan Jan 16 '13 at 0:09

There's no need to use regex for this. WordPress has a Shortcode API to do this work for you.

That codex page includes one of my favorite codex code snippets:

function bartag_func( $atts ) {
    extract( shortcode_atts( array(
        'foo' => 'something',
        'bar' => 'something else',
    ), $atts ) );


Right at the start of the function registering the shortcode it does the following:

  • take the user-submitted shortcodes and fill them in with defaults if they aren't provided
  • takes the $atts argument and turn each valued into a variable (e.g. $foo, $bar, etc.)
    • For you, you'd get $mp4 and $poster

Catch the mp4 url with this:

    $text = get_the_content(); //untested with get_the_content()
    preg_match_all("\bmp4="(.+)\b", $text, $matches);

Eg. [video mp4="http://somevideo.com/abc"], would output:


This is my Gist, the example in it works for me, but results might differ depending on $text.

  • your preg_match_all is giving a syntax error but looks like a nice idea. – Gazi Nov 13 '18 at 11:36
  • This is my Gist, the example in it works for me, but results might differ depending on $text. – The J Nov 15 '18 at 15:53

You can use substring and strpos to extract this

$spos = strpos($getContent,"mp4=");
if($spos) {
$spos = $spos+4;//4 for four charactars mp4= 
$epos = strpos($getContent,' ',$spos) - $spos;
$url = substr($getContent,$spos,$epos);
echo $url;

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