Validating URLs in WordPress using wp_http_validate_url

The wp_http_validate_url function is a part of WordPress’s HTTP API that validates a specified URL. This function checks whether the URL is of an acceptable format and can be used in an HTTP request.

It can be useful in situations where there is a need to ensure the URL being used is in a correct format and safe to use in HTTP requests. This function can help prevent errors and potential security risks associated with improperly formatted or unsafe URLs.

The function performs several checks on the URL. It verifies if the URL uses a valid scheme, either HTTP or HTTPS. It also checks if the URL has a valid host and path structure. Additionally, it ensures that the URL does not contain any invalid or unsafe characters.

If the URL passes all these checks, the function returns the URL. If any of the checks fail, the function returns false. This allows the developer to handle the error condition appropriately.

Parameters Accepted by wp_http_validate_url

The wp_http_validate_url function in WordPress accepts a single parameter. This parameter is outlined below:

  • $url (string): This is a mandatory parameter. It represents the URL that the function will process and validate.

Return Value of wp_http_validate_url

The wp_http_validate_url function will return a string or a boolean false. If the URL passed as a parameter is valid, the function will return the URL as a string. If the URL is not valid or the function encounters an error during processing, it will return false.


How to Handle Invalid URL Using wp_http_validate_url Function

You can also use the wp_http_validate_url() function to handle an invalid URL in a specific way. Here’s an example:

$url = "http://";
$validated_url = wp_http_validate_url($url);
if(!$validated_url) {
 echo "<p>Please enter a valid URL.</p>";

In this example, the URL string is not valid. When we pass this URL to the wp_http_validate_url() function, it returns false. As a result, “Please enter a valid URL” is printed.

How to Use wp_http_validate_url Function in a Conditional Statement

The wp_http_validate_url() function can also be used in a conditional statement. Here’s an example:

$url = "";
if(wp_http_validate_url($url)) {
 echo "<p>URL is valid.</p>";
} else {
 echo "<p>URL is not valid.</p>";

In this example, we directly use the wp_http_validate_url() function in the conditional statement. If the function validates the URL, “URL is valid” is printed. If the function fails to validate the URL, “URL is not valid” is printed.


The WordPress wp_http_validate_url function serves as a verification tool for URLs. It checks if a given URL is in a valid format and if it uses a valid protocol, such as HTTP, HTTPS, or SSL. This function is primarily used to ensure that the URLs being used in a WordPress site or application are correctly formatted and safe to use. By employing this function, developers can help reduce errors and enhance the security of their WordPress sites.

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