In an earlier post, Piwik Web Analytics, and some unfortunate stats about my blog, I mentioned that the Feedburner stats for this blog show a relatively high subscribe/unsubscribe rate for this blog. I think a large part of that is my tendency to blog in spurts, and even worse, my tendency to write drafts and not publish them. In an effort to combat this, I’ve been trying to finish blog posts and then set them to “Pending” status, and go back and publish one every day (well, every day that I have some still sitting unpublished). Of course, that counts on me logging in to Wordpress every day, which isn’t something I do. The following script is, at least for now, the answer for me.

This script (a standalone PHP script) uses wp-load.php to load the wordpress environment, and then finds the oldest post with a given status (“pending” in my case) and attempts to publish it. It only does this if there has not been another post published in the last 24 hours. The following script can be found in Git at

 * wordpress_daily_post.php
 * Script to publish the oldest post with a given status, if no
 * other post has been published in 24 hours. Intended to be run
 * via cron on weekdays.
 * Copyright 2012 Jason Antman 
 * Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 
 * use it anywhere you want, however you want, provided that this header is left intact,
 * and that if redistributed, credit is given to me.
 * It is strongly requested, but not technically required, that any changes/improvements
 * be emailed to the above address.
 * The latest version of this script will always be available at:
 * $HeadURL: $
 * $LastChangedRevision: 40 $
 * Changelog:
 * 2012-09-03 Jason Antman  - 1.0
 *  - first version

define('WP_LOAD_LOC', '/var/www/vhosts/'); // Configure this to the full path of your Wordpress wp-load.php
define('SOURCE_POST_STATUS', 'pending'); // post status to publish

$VERBOSE = false;
$DRY_RUN = false;
while(count($argv) > 0) {
  if(isset($argv[0]) && $argv[0] == "-d" || $argv[0] == "--dry-run"){
    $DRY_RUN = true;
  if(isset($argv[0]) && $argv[0] == "-v" || $argv[0] == "--verbose"){
    $VERBOSE = true;
    fwrite(STDERR, "WP_LOAD_LOC=".WP_LOAD_LOC."\n");

$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] = 'localhost'; // needed for wp-includes/ms-settings.php:100

# check that we're running on a weekday
if(date('N') >= 6) {
#  if($VERBOSE){ fwrite(STDERR, "today is a saturday or sunday, dieing.\n"); }
#  exit(1);

# find the publish date/time of the last published post
$published = get_posts(array('numberposts' => 1, 'orderby' => 'post_date', 'order' => 'DESC', 'post_status' => 'publish'));
$post = $published[0];
$pub_date = $post->post_date;
$pub_id = $post->ID;

if(strtotime($pub_date) >= (time() - 86400)) {
  if($VERBOSE){ fwrite(STDERR, "last post (ID $pub_id) within last day ($pub_date). Nothing to do. Exiting.\n"); }
} else {
  if($VERBOSE){ fwrite(STDERR, "Found last post (ID $pub_id) with post date $pub_date.\n"); }

# find the earliest post of status SOURCE_POST_STATUS, if there is one.
$to_post = get_posts(array('numberposts' => 1, 'orderby' => 'post_date', 'order' => 'ASC', 'post_status' => SOURCE_POST_STATUS));
if(count($to_post) ID;
$to_pub_date = $post->post_date;
$to_pub_title = $post->post_title;
$now = time();
$new_date = date("Y-m-d H:i:s", $now);
$new_date_gmt = gmdate("Y-m-d H:i:s", $now);

if($VERBOSE){ fwrite(STDERR, "Post to publish: ID=$to_pub_id DATE=$to_pub_date NEW_DATE=$new_date TITLE=$to_pub_title\n"); }

# actually publish it
if(! $DRY_RUN){
  $arr = array('ID' => $to_pub_id, 'post_status' => 'publish', 'post_date' => $new_date, 'post_date_gmt' => $new_date_gmt);
  $ret = wp_update_post($arr); // publish the post
  if($ret == 0) {
    fwrite(STDERR, "ERROR: Post $to_pub_id was not successfully published.");
  if($VERBOSE){ fwrite(STDERR, "Published post. New ID: $ret\n"); }
else {
  fwrite(STDERR, "Dry run only, not publishing post.\n");

# check that the post really was published
$published = get_posts(array('numberposts' => 1, 'orderby' => 'post_date', 'order' => 'DESC', 'post_status' => 'publish'));
$post = $published[0];
$pub_date = $post->post_date;
$pub_id = $post->ID;
$pub_title = $post->post_title;
$pub_guid = $post->guid;

if($pub_title != $to_pub_title) {
  fwrite(STDERR, "ERROR: title of most recent post does not match title of what we wanted to post.");

fwrite(STDOUT, "Published post $pub_id at $pub_date\n");
fwrite(STDOUT, "Title: $pub_title\n");
fwrite(STDOUT, "\n\n\n GUID/Link: $pub_guid\n");
fwrite(STDOUT, "\n\n".__FILE__." on ".trim(shell_exec('hostname --fqdn'))." running as ".get_current_user()."\n");


You’ll need to set WP_LOAD_LOC (line 29) to the full path of your Wordpress installation’s wp-load.php (it should be in the top-level directory of your Wordpress installation. I run this script from cron like:

0 6 * * 1-5 /home/jantman/bin/wordpress_daily_post.php --verbose # publish WP pending posts daily

so that it runs at 6AM (local time) each weekday. Assuming you have cron setup to send you mail, you’ll get a daily message saying what was (or wasn’t) done.


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