Simple Ajax Example


This is a basic example of how to use AJAX in WordPress. It shows how to take a variable from javascript, pass it to a PHP function (altering it slightly), and then pass it back to the javascript.

This assumes you already know how to enqueue javascript, etc.

Javascript Piece

jQuery(document).ready(function($) {
	// We'll pass this variable to the PHP function example_ajax_request
	var fruit = 'Banana';
	// This does the ajax request
		url: ajaxurl,
		data: {
			'fruit' : fruit
		success:function(data) {
			// This outputs the result of the ajax request
		error: function(errorThrown){

PHP Piece

function example_ajax_request() {
	// The $_REQUEST contains all the data sent via ajax
	if ( isset($_REQUEST) ) {
		$fruit = $_REQUEST['fruit'];
		// Let's take the data that was sent and do something with it
		if ( $fruit == 'Banana' ) {
			$fruit = 'Apple';
		// Now we'll return it to the javascript function
		// Anything outputted will be returned in the response
		echo $fruit;
		// If you're debugging, it might be useful to see what was sent in the $_REQUEST
		// print_r($_REQUEST);
	// Always die in functions echoing ajax content
add_action( 'wp_ajax_example_ajax_request', 'example_ajax_request' );
// If you wanted to also use the function for non-logged in users (in a theme for example)
// add_action( 'wp_ajax_nopriv_example_ajax_request', 'example_ajax_request' );

About Devin

I'm a WordPress developer based in Austin, Texas. Follow my projects on GitHub, or more general WordPress ramblings as @devinsays on twitter.

9 thoughts on “Simple Ajax Example

  1. Teerath Kumar wrote:

    I am a software engineer,
    I appreciate your work done and such a social nature to help others.

  2. Luis wrote:

    Hi Devin,
    Simple and effective, i have seen others ajax tutorials with wordpress (complex ones), but until now, i do really understand how it works, the only question i still have is this:
    In this hook:

    add_action( 'wp_ajax_example_ajax_request', 'example_ajax_request' );

    the hook name must start with “wp_ajax_xxxxxxx” because wp define it to be in that way, right?

    • Devin wrote:


  3. Nikolay wrote:

    Not working, it says:

    ReferenceError: ajaxurl is not defined

    • Siva wrote:

      Since WP 2.8 version, ajaxurl works only for administration dashboard purpose.
      try to use
      wp_localize_script( 'ajax-script', 'ajax_object', array( 'ajax_url' => admin_url( 'admin-ajax.php' ) ) );

  4. Matthew wrote:

    Hi, is this example still up to date for 2014? Thanks

    • Devin wrote:


  5. Denish wrote:

    How can i call another php file without passing an variable ?

    Instead of function. Can i run another .php file?

    • Devin wrote:

      No, you’ll need to call a function.

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