Using WordPress ‘add_user_meta()’ PHP function

The add_user_meta() WordPress PHP function adds metadata to a specific user in your WordPress database.


This function is used to attach additional information, or “meta”, to a user. Here’s a basic usage example:

$user_id = 10; // Let's assume this is the ID of the user
$meta_key = 'favourite_color';
$meta_value = 'blue';
$unique = true; // This ensures the meta key is unique for the user

add_user_meta($user_id, $meta_key, $meta_value, $unique);


  • $user_id (int): The ID of the user to whom the metadata will be added.
  • $meta_key (string): The name of the metadata.
  • $meta_value (mixed): The value of the metadata. It can be any type, but must be serializable if non-scalar.
  • $unique (bool): Optional. If set to true, the same key will not be added if it already exists for the user. Default is false.

More information

See WordPress Developer Resources: add_user_meta
This function has been implemented since WordPress version 3.0.0.


Adding User Bio

In this example, we’re adding a short bio to the user.

$user_id = 10;
$meta_key = 'bio';
$meta_value = 'I love coding and pizza.';

add_user_meta($user_id, $meta_key, $meta_value, true);

Recording User’s Favorite Book

Here we’re recording the user’s favorite book.

$user_id = 15;
$meta_key = 'favorite_book';
$meta_value = 'The Great Gatsby';

add_user_meta($user_id, $meta_key, $meta_value, true);

Saving User’s Subscription Status

Let’s save whether the user has an active subscription or not.

$user_id = 20;
$meta_key = 'subscription_status';
$meta_value = 'active';

add_user_meta($user_id, $meta_key, $meta_value, true);

Storing User’s Preferred Language

This example shows how to store the user’s preferred language.

$user_id = 25;
$meta_key = 'preferred_language';
$meta_value = 'Spanish';

add_user_meta($user_id, $meta_key, $meta_value, true);

Adding a User’s Score

We can also use this function to add a score to a user, for instance in a game or quiz.

$user_id = 30;
$meta_key = 'score';
$meta_value = 1500;

add_user_meta($user_id, $meta_key, $meta_value, true);