Escaping text for safe use in XML with esc_xml in WordPress

The esc_xml function in WordPress is designed to encode text for safe use in XML. It translates certain characters into their respective XML entities, which can help prevent issues related to XML parsing and display. This function is particularly relevant when there is a need to output arbitrary text in XML format, such as in RSS feeds or XML sitemaps.

By transforming characters that have special meaning in XML into their respective entities, the esc_xml function helps to ensure that the text is correctly interpreted and displayed by XML parsers. This can help maintain the integrity of the XML structure and prevent potential errors or misinterpretations.

It is important to note, however, that the esc_xml function does not sanitize the text for safe use in HTML, JavaScript, or other contexts. For those purposes, other specific WordPress escaping functions should be used instead.

Parameters Accepted by the esc_xml Function

The esc_xml function in WordPress is designed to accept a specific set of parameters. The details of these parameters are as follows:

  • $text (string): This is a mandatory parameter. Its primary purpose is to represent the text that needs to be escaped.

Return Value of the esc_xml Function

Upon execution, the esc_xml function in WordPress delivers a specific return value. This value is a string that represents the text after it has been escaped.

In cases where the function does not require any parameters, this will be clearly stated and explained in a concise manner.


How to Use esc_xml to Escape XML Content

$raw_xml = '<tag>Some content with <, >, &, \', and "</tag>';
$escaped_xml = esc_xml($raw_xml);
echo $escaped_xml;

In the above example, we use the esc_xml function to escape special characters in a XML string stored in the $raw_xml variable. The esc_xml function will replace the special characters with their XML entities equivalent, making it safe to use in a XML document. The escaped XML string is then stored in the $escaped_xml variable and printed out.

How tEscape XML Attributes

$raw_attribute = "Some attribute with <, >, &, ', and ";
$escaped_attribute = esc_attr($raw_attribute);
echo '<tag attribute="'.$escaped_attribute.'">Content</tag>';

In this example, the esc_xml function is used to escape special characters in a XML attribute stored in the $raw_attribute variable. The escaped attribute is then used in a XML tag. This prevents the XML parser from misinterpreting the special characters in the attribute value.

How to Use esc_xml in a Function to Escape XML Content


function print_escaped_xml($raw_xml) {
 $escaped_xml = esc_xml($raw_xml);
 echo $escaped_xml;
print_escaped_xml('<tag>Some content with <, >, &, \', and "</tag>');

In this example, a function named print_escaped_xml is created that takes a raw XML string as an argument, escapes it using the esc_xml function, and prints the escaped XML string. The function is then called with a raw XML string as argument.


The esc_xml function in WordPress is a specialized tool designed for the purpose of escaping XML meta characters. It is primarily used in contexts where data is being output into XML format, ensuring that the XML is well-formed and preventing potential issues with parsing. This function serves as an integral part of WordPress’ data sanitization and validation system, contributing to the overall security and stability of WordPress websites.

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