WooCommerce: View Product Hidden Custom Fields (“Protected Meta”)

I was working on a WooCommerce project recently and I didn’t want to waste time searching through all the hidden product post meta.

Post meta are basically product custom fields that are added via the update_post_meta() WordPress function by WooCommerce itself, a custom plugin, a snippet, a theme. For example, “total_sales” is a default WooCommerce product custom field that updates every time the product is purchased. You can “get” total sales with the get_post_meta() WordPress function.

In the same way, there are dozens of default and third party product custom fields that are stored inside the WooCommerce product meta. If the product custom field “meta key” starts with an underscore (“_”), however, this won’t be visible in the “Custom Fields” section of the edit product page screen. Which is a bummer.

So, today, I’ll show you a quick trick so you can always know what the values for product meta keys are without having to mess with print_r() or error_log() in your PHP functions. In the image below, you see the final outcome. Enjoy!

WordPress will not show custom fields which have meta_key starting with an “_” (underscore) in the custom fields list on the post edit screen. Here on the single product page edit screen, after installing my snippet, you can now see how “_backorders” is now visible for example. That was previously hidden!

PHP Snippet: Show Post/Product/Order/Page Hidden Custom Fields @ Edit Post Page

/**
 * @snippet       Show Hidden Custom Fields @ WooCommerce Product Edit
 * @how-to        Get CustomizeWoo.com FREE
 * @author        Rodolfo Melogli
 * @compatible    WooCommerce 4.0
 * @donate $9     https://businessbloomer.com/bloomer-armada/
 */

add_filter( 'is_protected_meta', '__return_false' ); 

Where to add this snippet?

You can place PHP snippets at the bottom of your child theme functions.php file (before "?>" if you have it). CSS, on the other hand, goes in your child theme style.css file. Make sure you know what you are doing when editing such files - if you need more guidance, please take a look at my free video tutorial "Where to Place WooCommerce Customization?"

Does this snippet (still) work?

Please let me know in the comments if everything worked as expected. I would be happy to revise the snippet if you report otherwise (please provide screenshots). I have tested this code with Storefront theme, the WooCommerce version listed above and a WordPress-friendly hosting on PHP 7+.

If you think this code saved you time & money, please join other Business Bloomer supporters and avail of 365 days of WooCommerce benefits. Thank you in advance :)

Need Help with WooCommerce Customization?

Check out these free video tutorials. You can start learning how to customize WooCommerce without unnecessary plugins. Watch me code and learn by example!

  • how-to-edit-woocommerce-with-php-snippets
  • woocommerce-hooks-add_action-list-visual
  • woocommerce-customize-single-product-page-PHP

Rodolfo Melogli

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as a WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza.

2 thoughts on “WooCommerce: View Product Hidden Custom Fields (“Protected Meta”)

  1. Hi Rodolfo!
    thank you for your useful information. You are right – there are a dozen of hidden or visible custom/meta fields in every product and order. I found even very old meta I created long-long time ago for products I do not have right now.
    Is there any reason to keep these in site’s DB or to wipe them for DB speed reason?

    1. Great! No, I don’t think this slows down the DB by a lot, unless you have 100,000 products

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