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Testing a WP Plugin

I set up a new plugin using the WP Plugin Boilerplate generator:

Make sure you have wp-cli installed

curl -O 
chmod +x wp-cli.phar 
sudo mv wp-cli.phar /usr/local/bin/wp

1 Make composer file

Make a composer.json file in the root:

	"name": "donkey-time/donkey-time",
	"description": "An example WP plugin with tests",
	"type": "wordpress-plugin",
	"config": {
		"preferred-install": "dist"
	"extra": {
		"wordpress-install-dir": "vendor/wordpress/wordpress"
	"require": {
		"php": ">=5.3",
		"composer/installers": "~1.0"
	"require-dev": {
		"roots/wordpress": "* || *",
		"wp-phpunit/wp-phpunit": "* || *",
		"phpunit/phpunit": "^5"

2 Install dependencies

Then run composer install to pull in all dependencies.

3 Create WP config file

Run a wp command to create a config file (ensure dbprefix is “wptests_”):

wp --path=vendor/wordpress/wordpress/ config create --dbname=wordpress_test --dbuser=root --dbprefix=wptests_

4 Create test scaffold

First make this file in bin/init.php to update the WP_PLUGIN_DIR


// Set the plugin dir for WordPress so it thinks that this directory is in the
// plugins directory (in order to get the test scaffold)

if ( ! defined( 'WP_PLUGIN_DIR' ) ) {
	define( 'WP_PLUGIN_DIR', dirname(dirname(__DIR__)) );

Run this command to do it quickly:

mkdir -p bin && printf "<?php\n\n# Set the plugin dir for WordPress so it thinks this project is inside the plugins directory\n\nif ( ! defined( 'WP_PLUGIN_DIR' ) ) {\n  define( 'WP_PLUGIN_DIR', dirname(dirname(__DIR__)) );\n}" > bin/init.php

4a Generate test scaffold

Then run this command to generate the plugin-tests scaffold for the plugin:

wp --require=bin/init.php --path=vendor/wordpress/wordpress scaffold plugin-tests donkey-time

5 Install WP tests lib

Then run this command so the test runner has the WP testing library available:

WP_CORE_DIR=vendor/wordpress/wordpress WP_TESTS_DIR=tests/wordpress-tests-lib/ bin/ wordpress_tests root "" localhost latest true

6 Then run the unit tests

Run this command to run the tests: WP_TESTS_DIR=tests/wordpress-tests-lib/ vendor/bin/phpunit

Note it must be phpunit version 5.x to work with WP tests

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