Most useful WP-CLI commands with examples + how to fix most common WPCLI errors

The principle of WPCLI is to add install it on the server, add it to path so that it can be accessed from any folder and then enter the installation folder of the website for which you want to run commands.

The basic use of WP-CLI is: wp [COMMAND], e.g. wp config list will show you the content of wp-config.php file without any comments (lines that start with /* ):

wp config list
wp config list

Plugin setup is much simpler with WP-CLI, for example, to install and activate the Akismet plugin:

wp plugin install akismet --activate
wp plugin install akismet –activate

To install multiple plugins at once:

wp plugin install advanced-custom-fields jetpack akismet --activate

To check if plugin is active or inactive run wp plugin status

wp plugin status
wp plugin status

To update plugins wp plugin update name-of-the-plugin, for example:

wp plugin update akismet

or to update all plugins:

wp plugin update --all
(Yes I keep all my plugins up to date, as should you!)

Another handy command is skip-plugins, which allows you to temporarily disable plugins and load WordPress without them.

wp --skip-plugins=akismet

and to temporary disable all active plugins at once:

--wp plugin list --field=name --status=active --skip-plugins | xargs -n1 -I %

Show installed themes summary and various states:

wp theme list

To install and activate theme, copy it’s URL slug from the theme repository.

wp theme install twentytwentyone --activate

To create a child theme

wp child-theme FOLDER-NAME --parent_theme=PARENT-THEME-FOLDER --theme_name=CHILD-THEME-NAME

Here are a few more commands to activate, delete and update themes.

wp theme activate THEMENAME
wp theme update THEMENAME
wp theme delete THEMENAME

You can find more information in the official WP-CLI documentation.

To list users:

wp user list

To create a new admin user, and auto-generate a password, use:

wp user create username [email protected] --role=administrator

Or to add a custom password use –user_pass=

wp user create username [email protected] --role=administrator --user_pass=3fg62g6732rg32

To change user password

wp user update USERNAME --user_pass=NEW_PASS

Delete a user and reassign all content from that user to the admin user:

wp user delete [email protected] --reassign=1

wp db allows you to performs basic database operations using credentials stored in wp-config.php, for example to open a MySQL console using credentials from wp-config.php run:

wp db cli

To export database use:

wp db export
wp db optimize
wp db repair

I find wp db quite useful when you need to drop and import tables in database:

To drop all tables in a database run:

wp db reset

To import tables from .sql file:

wp db query < debug.sql

Here are some of the most common WP-CLI errors that Ive personally encountered so far:

Error: This does not seem to be a WordPress installation.

Enter the folder with your WP installation.

pwd – check in which directory you are currently, then to enter the right directory use cd /some/dir/wp/

wp is not added to your path, to workaround this, make sure to use the full path to the downloaded wp-cli.phar file


lf you are using W3TC plugin along with WP-CLI, you may notice the following error.

To fix this, before running any wpcli commands rename the wp-content/object-cache.php file

This is a well known bug on actual WP-CLI versions that is related to the Unicode BOM inside the wp-config.php file. To fix it, simply open the wp-config.php file and remove the code from the beginning:

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Reply