Proof of concept code to isolate specific post types to their own sandboxed DB tables
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WP Isolation

by Greg Schoppe


Isolate one or more WordPress post types to a set of dedicated database tables (a sandbox, if you will), with their own separate set of IDs. Why? Maybe just to punish myself. You tell me.



Install and activate the plugin, then after your post types and taxonomies are declared, call WP Isolate like this:

$sandbox_name = WPIsolate::Init( array( 'post_type_slugs' ), array( 'taxonomy_slugs' ), 'sandbox_name' );

Where sandbox_name is an optional slug to identify the sandboxed tables. If you omit 'sandbox_name', your sandbox will automatically be assigned a name.

the WPIsolate::Init() function is shorthand for:

$wpi = WPIsolate::Instance();
$sandbox = $wpi->register( array( 'post_type_slugs' ), array( 'taxonomy_slugs' ) );


You may need to run a shortcode that references posts from another sandbox. to do so, simply wrap that shortcode in a [sandbox] shortcode, like so:

[sandbox name='example']
	some random content

The optional name attribute lets you select a specific sandbox. without that attribute, the shortcode defaults to returning to the main sandbox from whatever sandbox is currently running.

Helper Functions:

These helpers are a set of two functions that can surround a set of operations, forcing them to take place in the context of a specific sandbox, similar to how the shortcode wraps content.

$wpi = WPIsolate::Instance();
$wpi->start_temp_sandbox( 'sandbox_name' );
// insert your code for sandbox "sandbox_name" here



Theoretically, there is no reason this code couldn't work on a multisite, with enough tweaking, but it hasn't been considered for the proof of concept stage, so multisite tables are not auto-generated.

Featured Images

Currently, Featured Images and Media are completely unsupported for sandboxed post types. They could be supported in the future, but media library support adds a whole new can of worms about where to store media that relates specifically to a sandboxed post... the likely answer is "in the same sandbox", but that starts to raise issues of split post types. Whoever decided that media was a post_type that has unique relationships to other post types was not thinking abstractly. The same can be said for Menu items.

Taxonomies attached to multiple post types in different sandboxes

Just no. Isolation means isolation.


Since Gutenberg relies on the WP API to communicate with the database, an I haven't touched that yet, this is not Gutenberg compatible at the moment. It seems doubtful that WP API will be flexible enough to support the necessary hacks to make this work.

Pretty much any sufficiently complicated plugin

This is a proof of concept, designed to be used on custom post types, where everything is manually set by the developer. Trying to sandbox a page builder or WooCommerce or things like that is just not gonna work. I'm not even certain it will support ACF, although it's worth a shot. Yoast, on the other hand, works great!


These could certainly be made to work, but the effort hasn't been put in for proof of concept code