Silent Publish


This plugin gives you the ability to publish a post without triggering pingbacks, trackbacks, or notifying update services.

A “Publish silently?” checkbox is added to the “Add New Post” and “Edit Post” admin pages (the latter only for unpublished posts). If checked when the post is published, that post will not trigger the pingbacks, trackbacks, and update service notifications that would typically occur.

In every other manner, the post is published as usual: it’ll appear on the front page, archives, and feeds as expected, and no other aspect of the post is affected.

While trackbacks and pingsbacks can already be disabled from the Add New Post/Page page, this plugin makes things easier by allowing a single checkbox to disable those things, in addition to disabling notification of update services which otherwise could only be disabled by clearing the value of the global setting, which would then affect all authors and any subsequently published posts.

If a post is silently published, a custom field ‘_silent-publish’ for the post is set to a value of 1 as a means of recording the action. However, this value is not used after publish for any purpose as of yet. Nor is the custom field unset or changed if the post is later re-published.

Also see my Stealth Publish plugin if you want to make a new post but prevent it from appearing on the front page of your blog and in feeds. (That plugin incorporates this plugin’s functionality, so you won’t need both.)

Links: Plugin Homepage | Plugin Directory Page | GitHub | Author Homepage


The plugin is further customizable via two filters. Code using these filters should ideally be put into a mu-plugin or site-specific plugin (which is beyond the scope of this readme to explain). Less ideally, you could put them in your active theme’s functions.php file.

c2c_silent_publish_meta_key (filter)

The ‘c2c_silent_publish_meta_key’ filter allows you to override the name of the custom field key used by the plugin to store a post’s silent publish status. This isn’t a common need.


  • $custom_field_key (string): The custom field key to be used by the plugin. By default this is ‘_silent-publish’.


 * Defines a custom meta key to be used by Silent Publish.
 * @param string $custom_field_key The default custom field key name.
 * @return string
function override_silent_publish_key( $custom_field_key ) {
    return '_my_custom_silent-publish';
add_filter( 'c2c_silent_publish_meta_key', 'override_silent_publish_key' );

c2c_silent_publish_default (filter)

The ‘c2c_silent_publish_default’ filter allows you to override the default state of the ‘Silent Publish?’ checkbox.


  • $state (boolean): The default state of the checkbox. By default this is false.
  • $post (WP_Post): The post currently being created/edited.


// Have the Silent Publish? checkbox checked by default.
add_filter( 'c2c_silent_publish_default', '__return_true' );


  • A screenshot of the 'Publish' sidebar box on the Add New Post admin page (for versions of WordPress older than 5.0, or later if the new block editor aka Gutenberg is disabled). The 'Publish silently?' checkbox is integrated alongside the existing fields.
  • A screenshot of the 'Silent publish?' checkbox displaying help text when hovering over the checkbox.


  1. Whether installing or updating, whether this plugin or any other, it is always advisable to back-up your data before starting
  2. Install via the built-in WordPress plugin installer. Or download and unzip inside the plugins directory for your site (typically wp-content/plugins/)
  3. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ admin menu in WordPress
  4. Click the ‘Publish silently?’ checkbox when publishing a post to prevent triggering of pingbacks, trackbacks, or notifications to update services.


Why would I want to silent publish a post?

Perhaps for a particular post you don’t want any external notifications sent out. If checked when the post is published, that post will not trigger the pingbacks, trackbacks, and update service notifications that might typically occur.

Can I have the checkbox checked by default?

Yes. See the Filters section (under Other Notes) and look for the example using the ‘c2c_silent_publish_default’ filter. You’ll have to put that code into your active theme’s functions.php file or a mu-plugin file.

Why is the “Silent publish?” checkbox disabled?

If the “Silent publish?” checkbox had been checked at the time a post is published, the field will be shown but will disabled for that published post. Once a post is published, changing the value of the checkbox has no meaning, so there is no need to make it checkable. If you unpublish the post, the checkbox will again be clickable.

Why did the “Silent publish?” checkbox disappear?

If the “Silent publish?” checkbox had not been checked at the time a post is published, the field will no longer be shown for that published post. Once a post is published, changing the value of the checkbox has no meaning, so there is no need to show it. If you unpublish the post, the checkbox will reappear.

Can I change my mind after I silently publish a post to post it again without it being silent?

Yes. You must first unpublish the post (by making it a draft or pending). Then uncheck the “Publish silently?” checkbox and republish the post.

Does this prevent email notifications from going out to people subscribed to receive a notice about new posts to the site?


Does this prevent the post being automatically shared to, or announced on, social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc)?

No. your posts will continue to be shared to social media sites upon publication (assuming it is configured to do so by whatever plugins you have in place to share your posts).

Does this plugin include unit tests?


Contributors & Developers

“Silent Publish” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


Translate “Silent Publish” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.

Change log

2.7 (2019-03-12)

  • New: Add support for new block editor (aka Gutenberg)
  • New: Add is_silent_publish_on_by_default() to determine if silent publish should be enabled for posts by default
  • New: Add register_meta() and properly register the existence of the post meta field
  • New: Add and move all but most recent changelog entries into it
  • New: Add inline documentation for hooks
  • New: Add .gitignore
  • Fix: Check if there is actually a global post in is_silent_publish_on_by_default() before attempting to use it
  • Fix: Use proper variable name when obtaining default meta key name
  • Change: Initialize plugin on ‘plugins_loaded’ action instead of on load
  • Change: Merge do_init() into init()
  • Change: Update unit test install script and bootstrap to use latest WP unit test repo
  • Change: Use apply_filters_deprecated() to formally deprecate the ‘silent_publish_meta_key’ filter
  • Fix: Correct typo in GitHub URL
  • Change: Note compatibility through WP 5.1+
  • Change: Update copyright date (2019)
  • Change: Update License URI to be HTTPS

2.6.1 (2018-07-12)

  • New: Add
  • New: Add GitHub link to readme
  • Bugfix: Fix a pair of unit tests by correctly applying do_action() instead of apply_filters()
  • Change: Minor whitespace tweaks to unit test bootstrap
  • Change: Note compatibility through WP 4.9+
  • Change: Rename readme.txt section from ‘Filters’ to ‘Hooks’
  • Change: Modify formatting of hook name in readme to prevent being uppercased when shown in the Plugin Directory
  • Change: Update copyright date (2018)

2.6 (2017-03-08)

  • Change: Overhaul how setting gets saved
    • Hook ‘save_post’ action instead of ‘wp_insert_post_data’
    • Ensure setting value isn’t saved if no meta key name is set, or the post is a revision or autosave
  • Change: Overhaul how silent publishing is implemented
    • Instead of set WP_IMPORTING constant, unhook _publish_post_hook() from ‘publish_post’ action
    • No need to potentially save the value of the meta field
  • Change: Show the “Silent publish?” checkbox as checked but disabled once a post has been silently published
  • Change: Add nonce alongside checkbox
  • Change: Add get_meta_key_name() as getter for meta_key name, allowing for late filtering
  • Change: Prevent object instantiation of the class
  • Change: Use sprintf() to produce markup rather than concatenating various strings, function calls, and variables
  • Change: Update unit test bootstrap
    • Default WP_TESTS_DIR to /tmp/wordpress-tests-lib rather than erroring out if not defined via environment variable
    • Enable more error output for unit tests
  • Change: Minor inline code documentation formatting changes (punctuation, verb tense)
  • Change: Note compatibility through WP 4.7+
  • Change: Remove support for WordPress older than 4.6 (should still work for earlier versions back to WP 3.6)
  • Change: Update readme.txt content and formatting
  • Change: Add more FAQs
  • Change: Add more unit tests
  • Change: Update copyright date (2017)

Full changelog is available in [](