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Force load 404 page

I have a certain case, hard to describe so I’ll show the code:

Here I make sure all “subpages” load the projects page template. For example: shows the projects page.

add_rewrite_rule( '^projects\/(.*)\/?', "index.php?page_id=8", 'top' );

In the page-projects.blade.php template I test if the project type provided as subpage exist.

$project_type_url = str_replace('/projects/', '', $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']);
$project_types = get_posts( array( 'post_type' => 'projecttype', 'posts_per_page' => -1 ) );
$valid_url = false;
foreach( $project_types as $project_type ) :
  if( $project_type->post_title === $project_type_url ) $valid_url = true;

Above code works, if i go to, $valid_url is false (as opposed to where it is true).

Now I’d prefer to show the 404 template when the project type does not exist. I tried a few things, the only thing I could come up with that effectively works, is copying the 404 template’s content in page-project.blade.php inside an @if structure.

@if ( !$valid_url )
  404 template content
  projects template content

Is this the best approach to my problem?

If you run this logic at the controller level, rather than the view level, it should be much easier to return a 404.

Try to use the pre_get_posts action to set the 404 like so:

add_action('pre_get_posts', function (\WP_Query $query): void {
    if (// your logic to catch the endpoint) {
        $query->is_404 = true;

Not 100% sure that’ll work but makes sense to me.

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