Sorting arrays in WordPress with wp_list_sort

The wp_list_sort function in WordPress is a built-in feature that provides a method for sorting lists. It is primarily used to sort arrays of objects or arrays of arrays. This function operates by comparing the values of specific keys in each array or object, then arranging them in a specific order.

Using wp_list_sort can be beneficial in several ways. For instance, it can assist in organizing data for display on a website. This could be particularly useful for sorting lists of posts, comments, or other types of data that are stored in arrays or objects within a WordPress site.

It’s important to note that when using wp_list_sort, the original array or object is not modified. Instead, a new sorted array or object is returned. This ensures that the original data remains intact, while still allowing for sorted data to be used as needed.

Parameters Accepted by the wp_list_sort Function

The wp_list_sort function in WordPress accepts several parameters. These parameters are used to determine how the function will sort an array of objects or arrays.

  • $input_list (array): This is a required parameter. It is the array of objects or arrays that you want to sort.
  • $orderby (string|array): This parameter is optional. The default value is an empty array. This can be either a single field name to order by, or an array of multiple orderby fields in the format $orderby => $order.
  • $order (string): This optional parameter has a default value of ‘ASC’. It can be either ‘ASC’ or ‘DESC’. This parameter is only used if $orderby is a string.
  • $preserve_keys (bool): Also an optional parameter, with a default value of false. This parameter determines whether to preserve keys in the sorted array or not.

Return Value of the wp_list_sort Function

The wp_list_sort function returns an array. Specifically, it returns the array that has been sorted according to the parameters passed into the function.

If the function does not accept any parameters, it will simply return the original array without making any changes.


How to sort a list of posts by title

The following code snippet sorts a list of posts by their titles in ascending order.

$posts = get_posts(array('numberposts' => -1));
$sorted_posts = wp_list_sort($posts, 'post_title', 'ASC');

How to sort a list of users by user login

This code snippet sorts a list of users by their user login in descending order.

$users = get_users();
$sorted_users = wp_list_sort($users, 'user_login', 'DESC');

How to sort a list of comments by date

This code sorts a list of comments by their date in descending order, which means the most recent comments will appear first.

$comments = get_comments();
$sorted_comments = wp_list_sort($comments, 'comment_date', 'DESC');


The wp_list_sort function in WordPress is a tool that can be utilized for sorting an array of objects by one or more properties. This function can be used in various scenarios such as sorting blog posts by date, sorting comments by their status, or even sorting users by their roles. By understanding and effectively using this function, developers can create more organized and efficient WordPress websites.

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