Pagination with custom SQL query

The question:

I have my own SQL string to select Custom Post Type posts with specific WHERE clause. I’ve used the offset and limit to return appropriate posts depending on a page being displayed. That’s working fine.

Now, I would like to make previous_posts_link() and next_posts_link() functions work. They both are called from get_posts_nav_link which uses global $wp_query.

Is there a way I can re-assign global $wp_query with my SQL string or $wpdb->get_results results or anything else? So the native previous_posts_link() and next_posts_link() WP functions would work.

If not, how can I reproduce the prev and next post link functions?

I would really appreciate any help and advice! I’m totally stuck with this.
Thanks 🙂

NOTE: I have just noticed that previous_posts_link() is working correctly on all the pages, but no idea why and in this case, why next_posts_link doesn’t work :S

Here is the code:

$paged = (get_query_var('paged')) ? get_query_var('paged') : 1;
$post_per_page = intval(get_query_var('posts_per_page'));
$offset = ($paged - 1)*$post_per_page;

$sql = "
SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.*, wp_postmeta.* 
FROM wp_posts 
INNER JOIN wp_postmeta ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_postmeta.post_id)
INNER JOIN wp_postmeta AS mt1 ON (wp_posts.ID = mt1.post_id) 
WHERE 1=1  
    AND wp_posts.post_type = 'movie' 
    AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish' OR wp_posts.post_status = 'private') 
    AND ((wp_postmeta.meta_key = '_expiry_date' AND CAST(wp_postmeta.meta_value AS DATE) >= '".$current_date."') 
        OR (mt1.meta_key = '_expiry_date' AND CAST(mt1.meta_value AS CHAR) = ''))
GROUP BY wp_posts.ID 
ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC
LIMIT ".$offset.", ".$post_per_page;

$movies_all_current = $wpdb->get_results( $sql, OBJECT);

if($movies_all_current) {
global $post;

foreach( $movies_all_current as $key=>$post ) {
    //display each post
} //end foreach ?>

<div class="navigation">
    <div class="previous panel"><?php previous_posts_link('&laquo; newer') ?></div>
    <div class="next panel"><?php next_posts_link('older &raquo;') ?></div>

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

Ok, I got there at the end. I couldn’t use WP_Query class as I really needed to have my own pretty big and complex SQL. Here is what I ended up having:

In functions.php I have my custom SQL and logic for counting the values needed for the WP pagination logic:

function vacancies_current( ){
    global $wpdb, $paged, $max_num_pages, $current_date;

    $paged = (get_query_var('paged')) ? get_query_var('paged') : 1;
    $post_per_page = intval(get_query_var('posts_per_page'));
    $offset = ($paged - 1)*$post_per_page;

    /* Custom sql here. I left out the important bits and deleted the body 
     as it will be specific when you have your own. */
    $sql = "
        SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  {$wpdb->posts}.*
        FROM {$wpdb->posts}
        GROUP BY {$wpdb->posts}.ID 
        ORDER BY {$wpdb->posts}.post_date DESC
        LIMIT ".$offset.", ".$post_per_page."; ";   

    $sql_result = $wpdb->get_results( $sql, OBJECT);

    /* Determine the total of results found to calculate the max_num_pages
     for next_posts_link navigation */
    $sql_posts_total = $wpdb->get_var( "SELECT FOUND_ROWS();" );
    $max_num_pages = ceil($sql_posts_total / $post_per_page);

    return $sql_result;

Then in my template file I’d have:

    $vacancies_current = vacancies_current();
    /*followed by a standart loop to display your results */ 
<div class="navigation">
    <div class="previous panel"><?php previous_posts_link('&laquo; previous vacancies',$max_num_pages) ?></div>
    <div class="next panel"><?php next_posts_link('more vacancies &raquo;',$max_num_pages) ?></div>

The trick was in supplying previous_posts_link() and next_posts_link the $max_num_pages value and obviously in calculating it correctly.

This works very well. Hope it will help someone 🙂


Method 2

Take a look at Custom Queries – which allow you to modify the wp_query call in many interesting and useful ways, and push the results back into your global query object.

Method 3

Expanding on Anu’s answer. Instead of relying on your custom sql query you could use the WP_Query class and let WordPress handle all the heavy SQL lifting. This would surely solve your navigation issue.

Example query for movie post type within your _expiry_date meta_key:

$today = getdate();
$args = array(
    'post_type' => 'movie',
    'meta_query' => array(
            'meta_key' => '_expiry_date',
            'meta_value' => $today,
            'meta_compare' => '< '
    'posts_per_page' => -1,
     'order'    => 'DESC'

    $movie_query = new WP_Query( $args );

    while ( $movie_query->have_posts() ) : $movie_query->the_post(); 
    // Do stuff
   endwhile; ?>

 <div class="navigation">
<div class="previous panel"><?php previous_posts_link('&laquo; newer') ?></div>
<div class="next panel"><?php next_posts_link('older &raquo;') ?></div>

Method 4


global $wpdb, $paged;
query_posts($query_string . '&posts_per_page=9');
$paged = (get_query_var('paged')) ? get_query_var('paged') : 1;
$author = isset($_GET['author_name']) ? get_userdatabylogin($author_name) : get_userdata(intval($author));

query_posts($query_string . '&posts_per_page=9');

$args = array(
'post_type' => 'post',
'meta_query' => array(
        'meta_key' => 'autor',
    'post_status' => 'publish',
        'meta_value' => $author->id,
'paged' => $paged,
'posts_per_page' => 9,
'order'    => 'DESC'

$postsQuery = new WP_Query( $args );



<h1>Články od <?php echo $author->display_name; ?></h1>
        <ul class="thumbnails">

            <?php while ( $postsQuery->have_posts() ) : $postsQuery->the_post();  ?>
                <li class="span3">
                <div class="thumbnail">
                    <a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">
                    <?php the_post_thumbnail(array(260, 259)); ?>
                    $class = '';
                    if (in_category('fashion')) {
                    $class = "link-fashion";
                    } else if (in_category('beauty')) {
                    $class = "link-beauty";
                    } else if (in_category('gourmet')) {
                    $class = "link-gourmet";
                    } else if (in_category('lifestyle')) {
                    $class = "link-lifestyle";
                    } else if (in_category('about-us')) {
                    $class = "link-about";
                    <a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">
                    <h2 class="<?=  $class ?>">
                        // short_title('...', 25); 
                        echo get_the_title();
                    <?php the_excerpt(); ?>
            <?php endwhile; ?>

        <?php wp_pagenavi(); ?>

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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