Manage your Flywheel sites with WP-CLI

Updated on January 9th, 2023

One of the most useful tools available when it comes to managing WordPress sites remotely is WP-CLI. WP-CLI is a command line interface specifically designed for WordPress. It allows you to update themes and plugins, create users, create posts, and so much more all without ever visiting WP admin.

WP-CLI is available via SSH on all Flywheel sites hosted on our Flywheel Cloud Platform. For information on connecting to your sites via SSH, please read this article.

Using WP-CLI

WP-CLI is invoked by typing wp. WP-CLI includes over 40 commands, which can all be viewed here or by simply typing wp. A lot of these commands take subcommands as additional arguments, such as wp user. Typing wp user on its own will list out its available subcommands.

An example of running a command to retrieve a list of users looks like this:

$ wp user list
| ID | user_login | display_name | user_email                | user_registered     | roles                        |
| 1  | admin      | Trevan       | [email protected] | 2013-02-01 18:43:29 | administrator,backwpup_admin |


Keep in mind, many WP-CLI commands are destructive, meaning there’s no undo function. Luckily, it’s easy to create a site backup first!

Handy commands

Now that you see how to run WP-CLI commands, it’s really just a matter of finding the command you want to run to accomplish what you’re looking to do. Here are a few commands that seem to come in most handy!

List all plugins

wp plugin list

Install and activate a plugin

wp plugin install woocommerce --activate

Deactivate a plugin

wp plugin deactivate woocommerce

Reset a user’s password

wp user update [email protected] --user_pass=new-password

Change a user’s role to administrator

wp user add-cap [email protected] administrator

Check the size of database tables

wp db size --tables

Search and replace a string in the database

wp search-replace old new

Delete transients

wp transient delete --all

Generate dummy posts

wp post generate --count=10

Delete all spam comments

wp comment delete $(wp comment list --status=spam --format=ids)

Flush the WordPress cache

wp cache flush

Known commands that won’t work on Flywheel

There are a few WP-CLI commands that you won’t be able to use on Flywheel sites, primarily due to security and permissions restrictions.

  • wp config delete
  • wp config edit
  • wp config has
  • wp config set
  • wp config shuffle-salts
  • wp core update
  • wp core verify-checksums

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