Escaping and translating texts in WordPress with esc_html_x

The WordPress esc_html_x function is designed to secure output and translate text that has been internationalized. This function performs two primary tasks.

  • First, it escapes HTML entities in the text string to prevent malicious code injection, which can potentially harm the website or lead to unauthorized access.
  • Second, it translates the text string into the site’s current language if the translation is available. This is part of WordPress’s internationalization system, which allows developers to build sites that can be easily translated into different languages.

The esc_html_x function is particularly effective when the developer wants to output a translated string that contains HTML entities. It ensures that the string is properly displayed to the user, while also maintaining the security of the website.

By using the esc_html_x function, developers can create safer and more accessible websites that cater to a global audience.

Parameters Accepted by the esc_html_x Function

The esc_html_x function in WordPress accepts three parameters, two of which are required and one optional. Here are the specifics:

  • $text (string): This is a required parameter. It refers to the text that needs translation.
  • $context (string): This is also a required parameter. It provides context information that aids translators in their task.
  • $domain (string): This parameter is optional. Its default value is ‘default’. It serves as a unique identifier for retrieving translated strings. If not specified, ‘default’ is used.

Return Value of the esc_html_x Function

The esc_html_x function returns a string, which is the translated text. If the function is not provided with any parameters, it will not return anything.


How to Translate and Escape HTML in Text

The esc_html_x() function is often used for translating and escaping HTML in text. This is particularly useful when you’re developing a multilingual WordPress site. Here’s an example:

echo esc_html_x( 'Hello, World!', 'greeting', 'my-text-domain' );

In this code snippet, the function esc_html_x() is used to translate the string ‘Hello, World!’ in the context of ‘greeting’. The text domain ‘my-text-domain’ is used for retrieving the translated string. The function then escapes any HTML present in the translated text before outputting it.

How to Use esc_html_x() in a Conditional Statement

The esc_html_x() function can also be used in conditional statements. Here’s an example:

if ( $user_greeting ) {
 echo esc_html_x( $user_greeting, 'user greeting', 'my-text-domain' );
} else {
 echo esc_html_x( 'Hello, Guest!', 'guest greeting', 'my-text-domain' );

In this code snippet, the esc_html_x() function is used to translate and escape a user greeting if it exists. If no user greeting exists, the function translates and escapes the default greeting ‘Hello, Guest!’.


The esc_html_x function in WordPress is a specialized tool that allows developers to escape HTML content, while also providing context for translators. It is specifically designed for instances where the safe HTML elements need to be translated and the context of the translation is crucial. This function is particularly beneficial when working on internationalization of a WordPress theme or plugin, as it ensures that the HTML content is not only secure, but also contextually accurate in different languages. Therefore, the esc_html_x function plays a significant role in the development of multilingual WordPress projects.

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