What is WP-CLI and what can it do for you?
So what is WP-CLI?
WP-CLI or the WordPress Command Line Interface is a PHP based tool that allows you to manage your WordPress site via SSH (Secure Shell) interface.
In simpler terms, it is the back-door to your website. WP-Admin is the GUI or Graphical User interface gives you something nice to look at, with buttons and colours that can be accessed via a web page. WP-CLI drops the GUI and works with simple commands, providing more control and speed.
Why should you use WP-CLI?
This will depend on whether you manage one site or multiple sites but there is always benefit to using WP-CLI. When I am doing regular maintenance on a site or inspecting a client site for the first time there are several commands I always run.
# shows the current plugins and their status wp plugin status # shows the current themes and their status wp theme status # check the core WordPress install and if there are any updates available wp core check-update
Fundamentals of a WP-CLI command
wp <command> <subcommand> –<option-with-value>=<option-value> –<option-without-value>
# force install of specific WordPress version wp core update --version=4.9.1 --force
WP-CLI install page has details on how to add tab completions so you just hit tab and get a list of available commands, sub-commands and options. https://wp-cli.org
Let’s dig deeper and see what we can do!
# show all the current users wp user list # update a user password wp user update 2 --user_pass=Its@Secret! # create a new user with userid, email and role wp user create iamnewuser email@example.com --role=editor # delete a user by username wp user delete iamnewuser
# export the database to pluginupdate.sql wp db export pluginupdate.sql # import a previous or new database overwriting the current install wp db import pluginupdate.sql # search the database for old url and replace with the new one wp search-replace "//mrwilde.com" "//mrwilde.webdevstaging.site" --dry-run
Also a number of maintenance tools for DB as well but be very careful running them. Best rule if you are not sure, don’t run them.
# repairs the db with mysqlcheck utility with --repair=true wp db repair # Optimizes the database running mysqlcheck with optimize true wp db optimize # Reset the current database. wp db reset # Drop an existing database. wp db drop
# list all pages wp post list --post_type=page --fields=post_title,post_statuses # List posts in CSV wp post list --post_type=post --posts_per_page=5 --format=csv # create a list of post types in a csv format then save to a file wp post list --post_type=post --posts_per_page=5 --format=csv > posts.csv
Building and Scaffolding Sites
Here are some more detailed commands for building and setting up your sites. You will need a database in place before you begin.
# download wp core wp core download # create and configure wp-config.php wp core config --dbname=mrwilde_database --dbuser=mrwilde_user --dbpass=mrwilde_password --dbhost=localhost --dbprefix=mrwilde_ # complete the WordPress install wp core install --url=mrwilde.com --title="Mr Wilde's Website" --admin_user=admin_user --admin_password=admin_password --admin_email="firstname.lastname@example.org" # Install several plugins and activiate wp plugin install query-monitor developer php-compatibility-checker theme-checker --activate # create a child theme for the WordPress default Twenty Seventeen Theme wp scaffold child-theme mrwilde-theme --parent_theme=twentyseventeen --theme_name='MrWilde New Theme' --author='Robert Wilde' --author_uri=https://mrwilde.com --theme_uri=https://mrwilde.com --activate
Advanced commands and Piping
Here a some more advanced commands that you can use for testing and fault finding. I would highly advise you don’t use these on a production server as they will change your site and possibly prevent it from being accessed via a web page.
These commands are for development & staging environments only and make sure you do a wp db export database-name.sql first as insurance.
// regenerate thumbnails for PDF files added before WordPress 4.7 wp post list --post_type=attachment --post_mime_type=application/pdf --format=ids | xargs wp media regenerate // Combining wp post list with wp post delete lets you easily delete all posts. // In this example, $() lets us pass the space-separated page ids to wp post delete wp post delete $(wp post list --post_type='page' --format=ids) // run a commands remotely on a site wp user list --email@example.com/var/www // installing the current version in development wp core download --version=nightly --force
That is only a small sample of commands for WP-CLI. Here are some links for beginners and advanced users as well as a few posts on how to install WP-CLI on your host.
Home of WP_CLI – https://wp-cli.org/
Beginners Guide to WP-CLI
WP-CLI Tips by John Blackbourn (Creator of Query-Monitor)
WP-CLI – Advanced WordPress Management
Other External Resources
Installing on Shared Host