How To Get Top Parent Page ID In WordPress

Often when working with pages in WordPress you’ll need to get the ID of the very top parent in a hierarchy of pages. This could be useful for many reasons, but I run into the need most often when I need to list out multiple levels of children pages on the sidebar for a given section of pages.

When you are on a parent page life is easy because listing its children pages on a sidebar is simple as this:

<?php  wp_list_pages("child_of={$post->ID}&title_li=");  ?>

*In this case “child_of={$post->ID}” simply means get all children pages of the current page.

Now that’s great, but when you navigate to one of those child pages, or even worse a third-level child page, you’ll quickly realize that “$post->ID”, no longer refers to the very top parent, but to the page you are on and therefore the function doesn’t work as intended.

The solution is actually pretty simple. Instead of using the current page ID as a parameter in wp_list_pages(), you simply create a new function to always return the very top parent page ID and use that.

Here’s a very simple function that will accomplish that. Drop this in your functions.php file..

function get_top_parent_page_id() {

    global $post;

    $ancestors = $post->ancestors;

    // Check if page is a child page (any level)
    if ($ancestors) {

        //  Grab the ID of top-level page from the tree
        return end($ancestors);

    } else {

        // Page is the top level, so use  it's own id
        return $post->ID;



And then update your code in your template to look like this…

<?php $parent_page = get_top_parent_page_id($post->ID); ?>

<?php wp_list_pages("child_of=$parent_page&title_li="); ?>
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16 Responses to How To Get Top Parent Page ID In WordPress

  1. Jordan says:

    Thanks for this not-so-obvious trick, took me a while to google it out.

  2. Zachary Stewart-Glazer says:

    Works great; very useful. Thanks so much!

  3. Erik says:

    Thank you for this simple, yet effective trick. Just what I was looking for!

  4. prakash says:

    this is a very good post.


  5. Dallon says:

    The “$id” parameter is useless since it’s using the global $post variable… change the top of the function to look like this:

    function get_top_parent_page_id() {
    global $post;

    or this:

    function get_top_parent_page_id($id) {
    $post = get_post($id);

  6. Adam says:

    I fail to see why you’re passing the page id in as a parameter if you’re not using it. Is this a typo, or is there something magical happening here?

  7. Milap says:

    hey , it worked perfectly for me..

    Thanks a lot…

  8. Michelle says:

    Perfect! Thanks so much for posting this.

  9. Michael says:

    2 years later still very useful. Thanks a lot!

  10. Rammarera says:

    In WP 3.5, I received an error notice in row 9, but if you replace the:
    return end($post->ancestors);
    return end( get_post_ancestors($post) );
    it works. At least for me.

  11. Thanos says:

    Thanks for this simple yet awesome code.I searched all over the internet for this thing exactly and surprisingly no one has done something like that (not even as a plug-in)

  12. Anderson Clayton says:

    Thanks so much, work like a charm!

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