WP REST API (v1 – Deprecated)


There are two options for authenticating with the API. The basic choice boils down to:

Cookie authentication is the basic authentication method included with WordPress. When you log in to your dashboard, this sets up the cookies correctly for you, so plugin and theme developers need only to have a logged-in user.

However, WP API includes a technique called nonces to avoid CSRF issues. This prevents other sites from forcing you to perform actions without explicitly intending to do so. This requires slightly special handling for the API.

For developers using the built-in Javascript API, this is handled automatically for you. This is the recommended way to use the API for plugins and themes. Custom data models can extend wp.api.models.Base to ensure this is sent correctly for any custom requests.

For developers making manual Ajax requests, the nonce will need to be passed with each request. The API uses nonces with the action set to wp_json. These can then be passed to the API via the _wp_json_nonce data parameter (either POST data or in the query for GET requests), or via the X-WP-Nonce header.

As an example, this is how the built-in Javascript client creates the nonce:

wp_localize_script( 'wp-api', 'WP_API_Settings', array( 'root' => esc_url_raw( get_json_url() ), 'nonce' => wp_create_nonce( 'wp_json' ) ) );

This is then used in the base model:

options.beforeSend = function(xhr) {
	xhr.setRequestHeader('X-WP-Nonce', WP_API_Settings.nonce);

	if (beforeSend) {
		return beforeSend.apply(this, arguments);

OAuth Authentication

OAuth authentication is the main authentication handler used for external clients. With OAuth authentication, users still only ever log in via the normal WP login form, and then authorize clients to act on their behalf. Clients are then issued with OAuth tokens that enable them to access the API. This access can be revoked by users at any point.

OAuth authentication uses the OAuth 1.0a specification (published as RFC5849) and requires installing the OAuth plugin on the site. (This plugin will be included with the API when merged into core.)

Once you have WP API and the OAuth server plugins activated on your server, you’ll need to create a “consumer”. This is an identifier for the application, and includes a “key” and “secret”, both needed to link to your site.

To create the consumer, run the following on your server:

$ wp oauth1 add

ID: 4
Key: sDc51JgH2mFu
Secret: LnUdIsyhPFnURkatekRIAUfYV7nmP4iF3AVxkS5PRHPXxgOW

This key and secret is your consumer key and secret, and needs to be used throughout the authorization process. Currently no UI exists to manage this, however this is planned for a future release.

For examples on how to use this, both the CLI client and the API console make use of the OAuth functionality, and are a great starting point.

Basic Authentication

Basic Authentication is an optional authentication handler for external clients. Due to the complexity of OAuth authentication, Basic authentication can be useful during development. However, Basic authentication requires passing your username and password on every request, as well as giving your credentials to clients, so it is heavily discouraged for production use.

Basic authentication uses HTTP Basic Authentication (published as RFC2617) and requires installing the Basic Auth plugin.

To use Basic authentication, simply pass the username and password with each request through the Authorization header. This value should be encoded as per the HTTP Basic specification.