WordPress Post Meta Data – What It Is And Where To Find It

Updated November 18th, 2018
Updated November 18th, 2018
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A common question I hear is “what is WordPress post meta data?”

The main data of a post is the url, title, and body text of the post. The meta data is things like the author’s name, the post date, categories and tags. I think the term “meta” throws people off. If you take “meta” out you’re left with WordPress post data and that’s what it is. It’s just more information about the post. The “meta” in this case means other or additional. So post meta data is other data that is different from the main data.

It is important to understand how metadata works because it is the basis of custom fields created using a plugin like PODS or Advanced Custom Fields.

You can either watch the detailed video tutorial below or scroll below that to read the image/text version of the tutorial.

Find a Post’s ID

Go to any post on your WordPress site by clicking on the posts link on your dashboard menu.

Click on edit to open the desired post inside the editor.

When you open the post, you’ll see both the main content and the meta data. The main content consists of the URL, the actual content, the title etc. Like I mentioned earlier, the metadata are things like the date, the category, author information etc.

To find the table where the metadata is inserted, first you’ll need to find the post’s ID number in the URL (see the screenshot below).

This post’s ID is 905 so keep that in mind.

Match The ID To The Postmeta Table Entries

Head over to the cPanel and open up phpMyAdmin.

Find the database for your and click on the plus sign. If you’re not sure which of the database listed in the phpMyAdmin is the correct one you can find the database name in the wp-config.php file in your website.

To get there go to cPanel > File Manager > Website Root > wp-config.php

A little ways down the wp-config file you’ll find the database name. You’ll also see the database username and database password. Don’t worry about those. Just find the db name and find that name listed in the phpMyAdmin.

Most WordPress databases will have a lot of tables many of which created by plugins on your site. Your table list will probably look very different than mine in the screenshot below. However, all of you will have the postmeta data table.

Open the postmeta table and you’ll see all entries in that table. You’ll have to find the entires with the ID of 905. The detailed process of finding the post ID is explained in the video (above). When you find the post ID, you’ll see all metadata entries of post 905.

In this case, there are 25 entries for post 905. This means that this post has 25 post meta items. That includes things like the last edit, the author information, the date etc. Most posts have a lot post meta data.

If you are creating custom post types then nearly all of the data for the custom post type is is post meta data and found in the _metadata table.

This is an introductory tutorial for creating post meta boxes and custom field boxes where you can enter more information for that post. That can be later output through a template onto your website.

For customizing your WordPress site further, make sure you subscribe to my WordPress Tutorials – WPLearningLab channel and click on the bell notification not to miss any of the useful WordPress tutorials.

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