Using WordPress ‘esc_textarea()’ PHP function

The esc_textarea() WordPress PHP function is used for escaping text values within textarea elements.


Here’s an example showing how to use this function:

$text = "Hello <b>world!</b>";
echo '<textarea>' . esc_textarea($text) . '</textarea>';

In this case, the output will be:

<textarea>Hello &lt;b&gt;world!&lt;/b&gt;</textarea>


  • $text (string) – This parameter is the text you want to escape.

More information

See WordPress Developer Resources: esc_textarea()
This function has been implemented since WordPress version 3.1. For further details, you can refer to the source code in wp-includes/formatting.php.


Using esc_textarea() with a Form

If you’re creating a form, you can use esc_textarea() to make sure user input is safely displayed:

$text = $_POST['user_text'];
echo '<textarea>' . esc_textarea($text) . '</textarea>';

This code takes user input from a form POST and safely outputs it into a textarea element.

Escaping HTML Characters

esc_textarea() will escape HTML characters in your string. For instance:

$text = "<script>alert('Hello!');</script>";
echo '<textarea>' . esc_textarea($text) . '</textarea>';

This will output:


As you can see, esc_textarea() helps prevent any potential XSS attacks by escaping HTML characters.

Handling Newlines

esc_textarea() also preserves newlines in your text:

$text = "Line 1\nLine 2";
echo '<textarea>' . esc_textarea($text) . '</textarea>';

This will output:

<textarea>Line 1
Line 2</textarea>

Here, esc_textarea() preserves the newline character in the output.

Escaping Special Characters

esc_textarea() can handle special characters, like ampersands, in your text:

$text = "Fish & Chips";
echo '<textarea>' . esc_textarea($text) . '</textarea>';

This will output:

<textarea>Fish &amp; Chips</textarea>

In this case, esc_textarea() escapes the ampersand to prevent it from being interpreted as the start of an HTML entity.

Using with WordPress Options API

You can use esc_textarea() when retrieving options with the WordPress Options API:

$option = get_option('my_option');
echo '<textarea>' . esc_textarea($option) . '</textarea>';

This ensures that the option value is safely escaped before being output in the textarea.