Options API

The Options API, added in WordPress 1.0, allows creating, reading, updating and deleting of WordPress options. In combination with the Settings API it allows controlling of options defined in settings pages.

Where Options are Stored?

Options are stored in the {$wpdb->prefix}_options table. $wpdb->prefix is defined by the $table_prefix variable set in the wp-config.php file.

How Options are Stored?

Options may be stored in the WordPress database in one of two ways: as a single value or as an array of values.

Single Value

When saved as a single value, the option name refers to a single value.

// add a new option
add_option('wporg_custom_option', 'hello world!');
// get an option
$option = get_option('wporg_custom_option');

Array of Values

When saved as an array of values, the option name refers to an array, which itself may be comprised key/value pairs.

// array of options
$data_r = array('title' => 'hello world!', 1, false );
// add a new option
add_option('wporg_custom_option', $data_r);
// get an option
$options_r = get_option('wporg_custom_option');
// output the title
echo esc_html($options_r['title']);

If you are working with a large number of related options, storing them as an array can have a positive impact on overall performance.

Accessing data as individual options may result in many individual database transactions, and as a rule, database transactions are expensive operations (in terms of time and server resources). When you store or retrieve an array of options, it happens in a single transaction, which is ideal.

Function Reference

Add OptionGet OptionUpdate OptionDelete Option
add_option() get_option() update_option() delete_option()
add_site_option() get_site_option() update_site_option() delete_site_option()