Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a WP Cron Ping Tool for Local Development in WordPress

In the ever-evolving world of WordPress development, understanding and leveraging core functionalities such as WP Cron is essential. This scheduling system allows developers to automate tasks in a WordPress site, making site management and development significantly more manageable.

This comprehensive guide will provide a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create a WP Cron Ping tool for local development in WordPress. We will build upon a script placed in the .bashrc file, with all the necessary details and adjustments provided.

Table of Contents

Understanding WP Cron and Its Importance

Before delving into the creation of a WP Cron Ping tool, it’s crucial to understand what WP Cron is and why it’s important for WordPress local development.

In simple terms, WP Cron is WordPress’s scheduling system, allowing tasks to run automatically at specific intervals. These tasks include publishing scheduled posts, checking for theme or plugin updates, sending email notifications, and much more.

WP Cron is different from a typical UNIX Cron job. It relies on site visits to trigger scheduled tasks, which can lead to inconsistencies in task execution if your site has low traffic. For local development, we often need a more reliable method of running tasks, hence the need for a WP Cron Ping tool.


Before starting the guide, ensure that you have the following set up:

  1. Local WordPress Installation: You should have a WordPress site installed locally for testing.
  2. Command Line Access: You need access to a command line interface (CLI) like Terminal on macOS or Command Prompt on Windows.
  3. Basic Knowledge of Shell Scripting: Familiarity with shell scripting will help you understand and adjust the provided script as per your requirements.

Step-by-Step Guide

The script that we are going to use is a simple, straightforward bash shell script. Here it is:

wpcron() {
    echo "Cron started"

    # get url from args or user "localhost:8000" as default


    while true; do
        wget -qO- "http://$url/wp-cron.php" &> /dev/null
        echo " ---- Cron executed  $count  times on URL: http://$url/wp-cron.php"
        sleep 10

This script initiates a never-ending loop, which sends a GET request to the wp-cron.php file of your WordPress installation every 10 seconds. It is placed inside the .bashrc file for easy execution.

Here are the steps to implement this script:

  1. Open the .bashrc File: The .bashrc file resides in your home directory. Open it with a text editor. If you are using a terminal, you can use nano ~/.bashrc to open it.
  2. Place the Script in the .bashrc File: At the end of the .bashrc file, add the wpcron function script. Then, save and close the file.
  3. Reload the .bashrc File: To make the newly added function available in your current terminal session, reload the .bashrc file using the command source ~/.bashrc.
  4. Run the WP Cron Ping Tool: Now, you can run the WP Cron Ping tool with the command wpcron followed by the URL of your local WordPress installation. For example: wpcron localhost:8000


wpcron                # will ping localhost:800
wpcron   # will ping

Testing Your WP Cron Ping Tool

To ensure your WP Cron Ping tool is functioning as expected, you can schedule a task in WordPress and monitor its execution. For instance, schedule a post to be published a minute or two from the current time. Run your WP Cron Ping tool, and you should see your post published at the scheduled time, indicating that the WP Cron Ping tool is executing the cron tasks.

Executing wpcron function in a Linux terminal


Congratulations! You now have a WP Cron Ping tool set up for your local WordPress development. This tool will help improve the reliability of task execution in your local environment and make your development process much more efficient.

Remember, understanding and manipulating core functionalities like WP Cron can give you a significant advantage in your WordPress development journey. Keep exploring, keep learning, and don’t be afraid to experiment with scripts and tools to make your life as a developer easier.

Happy coding!

Member since January 2, 2019

As a seasoned WordPress developer with expertise in various tech stacks and languages, I bring years of experience to every project I handle. My passion for coding and dedication to delivering exceptional work ensures that each project I take on is of the highest quality. I specialize in creating custom themes, developing plugins, and building full-scale web systems. By staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices, I incorporate cutting-edge solutions into my work.


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