WordPress at a glance

register_meta() WP 1.0

Registers a meta key.

It is recommended to register meta keys for a specific combination of object type and object subtype. If passing an object subtype is omitted, the meta key will be registered for the entire object type, however it can be partly overridden in case a more specific meta key of the same name exists for the same object type and a subtype.

If an object type does not support any subtypes, such as users or comments, you should commonly call this function without passing a subtype.

Hooks from the function

true/false. True if the meta key was successfully registered in the global array, false if not. Registering a meta key with distinct sanitize and auth callbacks will fire those callbacks, but will not add to the global registry.


register_meta( $object_type, $meta_key, $args, $deprecated );
$object_type(string) (required)
Type of object metadata is for. Accepts 'post', 'comment', 'term', 'user', or any other object type with an associated meta table.
$meta_key(string) (required)
Meta key to register.
$args(array) (required)

Data used to describe the meta key when registered.

  • $object_subtype (string)
    A subtype; e.g. if the object type is "post", the post type. If left empty, the meta key will be registered on the entire object type.
    Default: ''

  • $type (string)
    The type of data associated with this meta key. Valid values are 'string', 'boolean', 'integer', 'number', 'array', and 'object'.

  • $description (string)
    A description of the data attached to this meta key.

  • $single (true/false)
    Whether the meta key has one value per object, or an array of values per object.

  • $sanitize_callback (string)
    A function or method to call when sanitizing $meta_key data.

  • $auth_callback (string)
    Optional. A function or method to call when performing edit_post_meta, add_post_meta, and delete_post_meta capability checks.

  • $show_in_rest (true/false/array)
    Whether data associated with this meta key can be considered public and should be accessible via the REST API. A custom post type must also declare support for custom fields for registered meta to be accessible via REST. When registering complex meta values this argument may optionally be an array with 'schema' or 'prepare_callback' keys instead of a boolean.
Deprecated. Use $args instead.
Default: null


Since 3.3.0 Introduced.
Since 4.6.0 Modified to support an array of data to attach to registered meta keys. Previous arguments for $sanitize_callback and $auth_callback have been folded into this array.
Since 4.9.8 The $object_subtype argument was added to the arguments array.
Since 5.3.0 Valid meta types expanded to include "array" and "object".

Code of register meta: wp-includes/meta.php WP 5.4.2

function register_meta( $object_type, $meta_key, $args, $deprecated = null ) {
	global $wp_meta_keys;

	if ( ! is_array( $wp_meta_keys ) ) {
		$wp_meta_keys = array();

	$defaults = array(
		'object_subtype'    => '',
		'type'              => 'string',
		'description'       => '',
		'single'            => false,
		'sanitize_callback' => null,
		'auth_callback'     => null,
		'show_in_rest'      => false,

	// There used to be individual args for sanitize and auth callbacks.
	$has_old_sanitize_cb = false;
	$has_old_auth_cb     = false;

	if ( is_callable( $args ) ) {
		$args = array(
			'sanitize_callback' => $args,

		$has_old_sanitize_cb = true;
	} else {
		$args = (array) $args;

	if ( is_callable( $deprecated ) ) {
		$args['auth_callback'] = $deprecated;
		$has_old_auth_cb       = true;

	 * Filters the registration arguments when registering meta.
	 * @since 4.6.0
	 * @param array  $args        Array of meta registration arguments.
	 * @param array  $defaults    Array of default arguments.
	 * @param string $object_type Type of object metadata is for. Accepts 'post', 'comment', 'term', 'user',
	 *                            or any other object type with an associated meta table.
	 * @param string $meta_key    Meta key.
	$args = apply_filters( 'register_meta_args', $args, $defaults, $object_type, $meta_key );
	$args = wp_parse_args( $args, $defaults );

	// Require an item schema when registering array meta.
	if ( false !== $args['show_in_rest'] && 'array' === $args['type'] ) {
		if ( ! is_array( $args['show_in_rest'] ) || ! isset( $args['show_in_rest']['schema']['items'] ) ) {
			_doing_it_wrong( __FUNCTION__, __( 'When registering an "array" meta type to show in the REST API, you must specify the schema for each array item in "show_in_rest.schema.items".' ), '5.3.0' );

			return false;

	$object_subtype = ! empty( $args['object_subtype'] ) ? $args['object_subtype'] : '';

	// If `auth_callback` is not provided, fall back to `is_protected_meta()`.
	if ( empty( $args['auth_callback'] ) ) {
		if ( is_protected_meta( $meta_key, $object_type ) ) {
			$args['auth_callback'] = '__return_false';
		} else {
			$args['auth_callback'] = '__return_true';

	// Back-compat: old sanitize and auth callbacks are applied to all of an object type.
	if ( is_callable( $args['sanitize_callback'] ) ) {
		if ( ! empty( $object_subtype ) ) {
			add_filter( "sanitize_{$object_type}_meta_{$meta_key}_for_{$object_subtype}", $args['sanitize_callback'], 10, 4 );
		} else {
			add_filter( "sanitize_{$object_type}_meta_{$meta_key}", $args['sanitize_callback'], 10, 3 );

	if ( is_callable( $args['auth_callback'] ) ) {
		if ( ! empty( $object_subtype ) ) {
			add_filter( "auth_{$object_type}_meta_{$meta_key}_for_{$object_subtype}", $args['auth_callback'], 10, 6 );
		} else {
			add_filter( "auth_{$object_type}_meta_{$meta_key}", $args['auth_callback'], 10, 6 );

	// Global registry only contains meta keys registered with the array of arguments added in 4.6.0.
	if ( ! $has_old_auth_cb && ! $has_old_sanitize_cb ) {
		unset( $args['object_subtype'] );

		$wp_meta_keys[ $object_type ][ $object_subtype ][ $meta_key ] = $args;

		return true;

	return false;

Related Functions

From tag: Metadatas (any)

No comments
        Log In . Register