I have a command line script for maintaining a wordpress plugin and have to load the wordpress core to be able to access wordpress functions.

This problem is very similar to Initialize WordPress environment to use in a real cron script. Though it differs from it as the referred question is supposed for use with a (real) cron script which can be accomplished otherwise then by starting a command line php script. As the referred question is already answered and this answer is not satisfying my needs I started this question.

So what it is necessary in a command line script to initialize the wordpress environment?


2 Answers 2


I came up with following solution. The script have to start with the following code.

    if( php_sapi_name() !== 'cli' ) {
        die("Meant to be run from command line");

    function find_wordpress_base_path() {
        $dir = dirname(__FILE__);
        do {
            //it is possible to check for other files here
            if( file_exists($dir."/wp-config.php") ) {
                return $dir;
        } while( $dir = realpath("$dir/..") );
        return null;

    define( 'BASE_PATH', find_wordpress_base_path()."/" );
    define('WP_USE_THEMES', false);
    global $wp, $wp_query, $wp_the_query, $wp_rewrite, $wp_did_header;
    require(BASE_PATH . 'wp-load.php');


  • Just to add to this, you'll want to run ob_end_clean(); at after that as otherwise wordpress captures all your output and doesn't show anything until the very end.
    – Hosh Sadiq
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 12:45

If you don't want to deal with the messy process of loading WordPress manually, you can just use WP-CLI's eval-file command:

wp eval-file my-script.php

The my-script.php file can contain any WP function call. For example:

global $wpdb;

echo implode( ' ', $wpdb->tables() ) . "\n";
  • 1
    So eval-file makes all WordPress functions available without having to require anything? This answer would be more clear with a quick example of such a PHP script. Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 16:20
  • 2
    @KaelinColclasure Yep; added example.
    – scribu
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 17:24

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