Using WordPress ‘delete_site_meta_by_key()’ PHP function

The delete_site_meta_by_key() WordPress PHP function deletes all the site metadata entries that match a given meta key.


Here’s an example of how you can use the function:


In this example, all metadata entries that have a meta key of ‘my_custom_meta_key’ will be deleted.


  • $meta_key (string – required): The metadata key to search for when deleting.

More information

See WordPress Developer Resources: delete_site_meta_by_key()

Please note that this function is not yet deprecated, and it was introduced in WordPress 3.0.0.


Deleting a Specific Site Meta Key

This example deletes a specific meta key called ‘site_theme_color’ from all site metadata.

// The meta key you want to delete
$meta_key = 'site_theme_color';

// Use the function to delete the meta key

This code will remove the ‘site_theme_color’ meta key from all metadata across the site.

Removing Site Meta Keys for Unused Plugins

If a plugin was removed but left meta keys behind, you can delete those keys like this:

// The meta key left by the removed plugin
$meta_key = 'removed_plugin_meta';

// Delete the meta key

This will ensure your site database stays clean from unused metadata.

Cleaning up Test Meta Keys

If you’ve been testing something and created a bunch of test meta keys, you can clean them up like this:

// The test meta key you created
$meta_key = 'my_test_meta_key';

// Delete the test meta key

This is useful for keeping your site metadata clean after testing new features or plugins.

Removing Old Site Meta Keys

If your site has been running for a long time, you might have old meta keys that are no longer used:

// An old meta key that's no longer used
$meta_key = 'old_unused_meta_key';

// Delete the old meta key

This can help keep your site running smoothly by reducing the size of your site’s metadata.

Deleting Meta Keys for a Specific Feature

If a feature is no longer used and you want to delete its specific meta keys:

// The meta key for the unused feature
$meta_key = 'unused_feature_meta_key';

// Delete the meta key for the unused feature

This will remove all metadata related to the unused feature, keeping your site clean and optimized.