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An Introduction to the WordPress REST API

When the REST API was lastly added to WordPress core, it was the tip of a protracted journey. Many had anticipated this variation as the largest step ahead for WordPress within the platform’s historical past. Nonetheless, in case you’re not accustomed to the REST API, chances are you’ll be confused by what all of it means.

In brief, the addition of the WordPress REST API turned WordPress right into a fully-featured software framework. This considerably elevated its ‘extensibility,’ or its skill to be prolonged with new options and capabilities. Plus, it expanded the platform’s potential for speaking with different websites and functions.

An Introduction to REST APIs

Earlier than we dig deeper into the WordPress REST API, it’s necessary to get our terminology straight. This can be a topic the place we’ll want to make use of lots of acronyms, so let’s clear these up first.

In the beginning, you’ll have to know what Utility Programming Interfaces (APIs) are. Within the easiest phrases, an API is a method by which one system allows different methods to hook up with its information.

For instance, when a web site provides a Fb ‘like’ button to a web page, it does this by hooking into Fb’s API. This lets the online web page use the API to obtain information (the code for the like button) and ship information (the like request).

So, what’s a REST API particularly? Representational State Switch (REST) is a sort of API particular to internet providers. It comprises a standardized set of directions and guidelines, making it simpler for all ‘RESTful’ providers to attach with one another.

In brief, REST APIs allow you to make requests to an exterior system. One instance of that is Twitter. You should utilize its API to request a sure variety of tweets from a particular consumer. The API will then return the tweets based mostly in your request, which you’ll embed in your web site utilizing HTML and CSS.

These requests are carried out utilizing JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). This can be a language particularly designed for sending, receiving, and storing information.

We’re going to cowl JSON later on this article, however we advocate taking the time to familiarize your self with this language upfront. This may assist prime you for utilizing the WordPress REST API and understanding a few of the ideas we’ll be speaking about.

What the WordPress REST API Is (And Why It’s Necessary)

WordPress Rest API

The WordPress REST API capabilities in largely the identical method because the examples we’ve touched on already. Mainly, the WordPress REST API provides you full entry to WordPress options from any JSON-compatible framework.

Equally to how Twitter’s API allows you to retrieve and ship tweets, the WordPress REST API can be utilized to handle posts, customers, classes, and far more from exterior platforms. It helps you to use WordPress in quite a few beforehand unprecedented methods.

The REST API was introduced all the way in which again in 2013. It began life as a plugin, meant to be included into the WordPress core by Model 4.1. As so usually occurs, delays pushed the discharge again till it was lastly carried out into the core with the discharge of WordPress 4.7 three years later.

This was a protracted however worthwhile look forward to many individuals who noticed the WordPress REST API as an necessary step ahead for the platform. You is likely to be questioning why this addition was such an enormous deal, particularly since lots of customers most likely didn’t discover a lot distinction. Because it seems, the inclusion of the REST API was a elementary change to WordPress for a lot of causes.

By implementing a REST API, WordPress took a step away from merely being a platform for creating web sites. As a substitute, it’s now develop into a full-fledged software framework. This implies builders can use a WordPress web site to create functions for cell units and the online or as an info repository.

This shift additionally enabled WordPress to take a step away from its reliance on PHP. By making WordPress appropriate with any JSON-compatible language, the REST API tremendously expanded the probabilities for builders, enabling them to make use of WordPress performance with virtually any framework.

Lastly, the REST API gives elevated flexibility with the interfaces you should utilize to work with the platform. It made the admin interface fully elective since now you can work together along with your WordPress web site totally by JSON instructions.

Now, let’s have a look at how JSON and the REST API come collectively to make this doable.

How the REST API and JSON Work Collectively

By now, you need to have a deal with on the theoretical elements of the WordPress REST API. So, let’s have a look at the extra sensible facet of the expertise. The official handbook describes utilizing the REST API as follows:

“The WordPress REST API gives API endpoints for WordPress information varieties that permit builders to work together with websites remotely, by sending and receiving JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) objects.”

The primary phrase we have to deal with right here is “endpoints”. The simplest method to think about an endpoint is as a bit of knowledge or a operate that may be known as utilizing a JSON request. By default, WordPress gives an enormous variety of customary endpoints to make use of, however builders may create customized endpoints.

To achieve an endpoint, you need to use a ‘route,’ which takes the type of a traditional URL. You’ll be able to even do this your self proper now.

Go to your personal WordPress web site, and add /wp-json/wp/v2 to the tip of its URL. In case your web site is, you’d enter

Once you load this route, you’ll attain the endpoint, which on this case, returns all content material and meta-data on your web site in a (messy) JSON format. Through the use of completely different routes, you possibly can entry completely different endpoints to get particular forms of info and carry out numerous duties.

There are three main JSON requests you’ll use with the REST API, so let’s additionally take a fast have a look at them now. They’re:

  • GET. Any such request is used for retrieving and itemizing information from the API. For instance, you’d use a GET request to return an inventory of customers in your web site or compile weblog posts from a sure timeframe.
  • POST. This request is used for sending information to the API. It allows you to push new info to WordPress, similar to including new customers and posts or updating present information.
  • DELETE. Because the title suggests, this request is used to delete information. This allows you to take away posts, pages, customers, and extra.

GET and POST can generally be used with the identical endpoint to realize completely different outcomes.

For instance, let’s have a look at the endpoint /me/settings/. For those who had been to carry out a GET request on this endpoint, you’d obtain an inventory of the present consumer’s settings. Nonetheless, through the use of a POST request on the identical endpoint, you’d be capable to replace the settings as a substitute.

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Getting Began with the WordPress REST API

We’re now going to place all of this concept into observe and present you some very primary examples of what you are able to do with the REST API. That is solely a style that can assist you develop into snug utilizing the REST API to course of requests to WordPress.

For extra examples, we advocate testing the official reference library and the REST API Sources.

The next strategies would require you to make use of the command line to course of JSON requests. This allows you to work together along with your WordPress web site through the use of a text-based interface and sending easy instructions.

For those who don’t have any expertise utilizing the command line, we advocate taking a while to study the fundamentals first. You might also wish to use SSH to create the connection along with your web site.

Lastly, once you’re prepared, let’s have a look at some examples of how you should utilize the WordPress REST API!

1. Return Posts from a Website

Whereas you’ll clearly want the right authorization to edit a web site, it’s doable to retrieve some info from virtually any WordPress web site. It’s because the REST API is constant throughout all WordPress installations.

As we mentioned, the principle cause that APIs exist is to allow exterior functions to entry a few of your information. On this instance, we are able to retrieve a single submit from the official WordPress information weblog:


The ID has been set to 1, that means that this request will retrieve the very first submit on the weblog. It is likely to be onerous to see for the reason that JSON shouldn’t be very readable, however among the many code, you possibly can spot all of the content material and meta-data for the submit:

retrieve a post from the WordPress blog using the WordPress Rest API

You might then use this info in an software, for instance, to show it utilizing your personal personalized styling.

If you wish to return each submit from the weblog as a substitute, all you must do is take away the ID on the finish. Nonetheless, it’s extra possible that you simply’ll wish to return a choose variety of posts. The next request will return the newest three posts:


You’ll be able to do this out for your self with different websites, and even your personal weblog.

2. Replace a Publish

Now, let’s attempt to make some adjustments to WordPress utilizing the REST API. To do that, you have to to be logged in to the positioning you wish to handle. For instance, in case you’re utilizing SSH, you have to to log in to your server.

On this instance, we’ll replace an present submit. First, let’s use a request to replace the title of the submit with the ID of 1:

curl -X POST -d '{"title":"A Model New Title"}'

That is fairly self-explanatory. The title argument reveals that you simply’re updating the submit’s title, which is adopted by the textual content string containing the alternative.

There are loads of different arguments you should utilize to make adjustments to a submit. As an illustration, you should utilize an inventory to assign classes to the submit, publish it, or change its contents totally.

3. Delete a Consumer

Lastly, let’s have a look at how one can take away information utilizing the REST API. On this instance, we’ll take away a consumer from the positioning. Naturally, you’ll must be logged in and approved to handle customers earlier than you should utilize this operate.

Then, you should utilize the next request to delete the consumer with an ID of 101:

curl -X DELETE

This may take away the required consumer from the positioning. You should utilize the extra parameters to reassign the consumer’s posts to a different consumer based mostly on their ID. Alternatively, you possibly can drive a everlasting deletion as a substitute of including the consumer to the trash.

By way of these examples, you can begin to see how the REST API allows you to handle the content material in your web site and hook up with others. If you wish to study extra, we advocate digging deeper into the REST API Handbook.

Discover WordPress Growth

The WordPress REST API was an enormous step ahead for the platform, away from its roots and into the longer term. Builders had been excited from day one, however in case you weren’t accustomed to REST APIs to start with, you may need been confused about why.

Though the REST API might sound overwhelming for freshmen, you don’t must be an skilled developer to make use of some primary requests. For instance, the API allows you to carry out various duties by yourself web site (or others), similar to returning posts, updating posts, and deleting customers.

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