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What are the differences between using WP_Query() and get_posts()? Which is better to use in what case and why?

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Well, get_posts() actually instantiates a new WP_Query object, so if you're comfortable using WP_Query directly, don't even bother with get_posts(); get_posts will only return the results from the database, whereas WP_Query gives you the whole functionality of the class.

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In addition to what John P Bloch says, you can modify the default WP_Query object (instead of creating an new instance) before it runs with it's class methods and an action hook, reducing the db calls you make.

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