esc_url returns incorrect URL

What would be the reason for <?php echo esc_url( home_url( '/' ) ); ?> to be sending me to an incorrect website?

I use it in my search bar and when I search a value it sends me to one of my other websites, but I am not sure what I did to make this happen.

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It ended up being something very easy, but something I overlooked. Since I always use <?php get_search_form(); ?> for my search forms, I naturally assume that in my section template for the search area, I was using that, but I was not.

I built the theme custom off of another theme I built for a different website and for some reason in the form’s action="" I hardcode the url for the first site; that is why I kept getting forwarded there.

I thought I checked the section, but must have overlooked it. After two days or so, I decided to re-check the section, thanks to the suggestions in the comments which made me re-think the problem.

So yeah, really stupid brain fart, but it is now solved.

Consider the following code:

<form role="search" method="get" action="<?php echo esc_url( home_url( '/' ) ); ?>">

home_url() is a WordPress function that retrieves the home URL for the current site. When called with an optional $path argument, it returns the Home URL with the optional $path argument appended.

Here’s the function definition (from wp-includes/link-template.php L#1959):

function get_home_url( $blog_id = null, $path = '', $scheme = null ) {
    $orig_scheme = $scheme;

    if ( empty( $blog_id ) || !is_multisite() ) {
        $url = get_option( 'home' );
    } else {
        switch_to_blog( $blog_id );
        $url = get_option( 'home' );

    if ( ! in_array( $scheme, array( 'http', 'https', 'relative' ) ) ) {
        if ( is_ssl() && ! is_admin() && 'wp-login.php' !== $GLOBALS['pagenow'] )
            $scheme = 'https';
            $scheme = parse_url( $url, PHP_URL_SCHEME );

    $url = set_url_scheme( $url, $scheme );

    if ( $path && is_string( $path ) )
        $url .= '/' . ltrim( $path, '/' );

    return apply_filters( 'home_url', $url, $path, $orig_scheme, $blog_id );

Basically, there’s nothing in this function that would return a random URL out of nowhere.

When situations like this occur, the best thing to do is to grep your code for clues.

Run this in a shell in the WordPress root installation directory:

grep -nr ""

This will list all the occurences of in your code-base and show the files that they appear in. If there are multiple occurrences, you can use a bit more advanced search (using command line options such as awk) to see which one’s actually causing troubles.

Note: I know this has already been solved, but this might be useful for future visitors, so I’m posting it as an answer 🙂