How to Create a List of Forbidden Words for WordPress Titles

Recently, one of our users asked us how they can add a list of forbidden words for WordPress post titles? If you manage a multi-author blog and want authors to avoid using certain words or phrases, then this tip would come in handy. In this article, we will show you how to create a list of forbidden words for WordPress titles.

Forbidden words list for WordPress post titles

Why Create a List of Forbidden Words for Post Titles in WordPress?

It is not easy to keep all authors informed about your editorial style and policy on a multi-author site. You can use Edit Flow to leave editorial comments, add notes, and custom statuses, but it will not monitor your post titles.

If an author has publishing rights, then the unwanted words can go live on your website. You can prevent this by taking away publishing privileges from users, but this means more work for you as you will have to review and publish posts yourself.

Having said that, let’s see how you can easily add a list of banned words for WordPress post titles.

Adding a List of Banned Words for WordPress Post Titles

This method requires you to manually add code to your WordPress site. It is recommended for users who know how to paste code snippets from web into WordPress.

Important: Always backup your WordPress site when you are adding a code snippet to your WordPress files.

Simply add the following code to your theme’s functions.php file or in a site-specific plugin.

function wpb_forbidden_title($title){
global $post;
$title = $post->post_title;

// Add restricted words or phrases separated by a semicolon

$restricted_words = "word1;word2;word3";

$restricted_words = explode(";", $restricted_words);
foreach($restricted_words as $restricted_word){
if (stristr( $title, $restricted_word))
wp_die( __('Error: You have used a forbidden word "'. $restricted_word .'" in post title') );
add_action('publish_post', 'wpb_forbidden_title', 10, 1);

Don’t forget to add the words you want to ban in $restricted_words variable. You need to use a semicolon to separate different words and phrases.

This code simply triggers a function when a user tries to publish a post which checks the post title for restricted words. If it finds a restricted word in the post title, then it will show the user an error like this:

Error shown when a user tries to publish a post with a forbidden word in title

That’s all, we hope this article helped you learn how to add a list of forbidden words for WordPress post titles. You may also want to see our guide on how to require featured images for posts in WordPress.

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