Interact with WordPress from a command line interface.


WP-CLI is a set of command line tools for managing WordPress installations. Let’s install it and explore some commands.

WP-CLI can be installed locally in various ways. You can find instructions at wp-cli.org.

If you install Pantheon’s command line tool, Terminus, you can run WP-CLI commands from your local computer on your Pantheon sites. I’ll be using Terminus in this video.

If you don’t already have a local environment configured, try installing Kalabox. It comes pre-installed with Terminus and WP-CLI.

Let’s view the plugins on my WordPress site by running terminus wp, followed by migration-example.dev, which is my site name and environment, concatenated with a period, then the actual WP-CLI command, plugin list.

Note that there are 2 plugins, akismet and jetpack, which have updates available I will update these plugins with a single command.

I begin as usual, terminus wp migration-example.dev, then double-hyphen, plugin update, double-hyphen, all.

I added those first 2 hyphens after the environment argument to make sure terminus knows that everything afterwards is a WP-CLI command.

Since code is being downloaded to your dev server here, make sure you’re in SFTP mode.

Once updated, I can run automated tests, perform user-acceptance testing, then push to live.

With WP-CLI, I can also install plugins and themes. Here I’ll download and activate the vertex theme in one command.

As usual, I run terminus wp, my environment name, double-hyphen, then the WP-CLI command, theme install vertex, and then the activate flag.

Almost all user functions available in the WordPress dashboard are available in WP-CLI.

For example, we can reset a user password by typing wp user update, with the user login, user email, or user ID of the user to update, then pass the flag user_pass with the new password value.

Another useful command is wp search-replace. It searches the database for a string and replaces it for another. It’s often used to change URLs between different environments.

WP-CLI also makes it easy to create WordPress plugins. Usually this requires some pretty rote procedures.

Now we can simply run terminus wp scaffold plugin, and generate the default structure for my new plugin, called crm-app.

Now I can see the directories, files, and even tests that are stubbed out for me. This saves time and reduces the possibility for user error.

This was a quick introduction to WP-CLI, the command line interface for WordPress. Please explore our technical documentation for more information about using and extending this tool’s functionality.

Author photo

Scott Massey

Master of Customer Success