get_option( string $option, mixed $default = false )

Retrieves an option value based on an option name.


If the option does not exist, and a default value is not provided, boolean false is returned. This could be used to check whether you need to initialize an option during installation of a plugin, however that can be done better by using add_option() which will not overwrite existing options.

Not initializing an option and using boolean false as a return value is a bad practice as it triggers an additional database query.

The type of the returned value can be different from the type that was passed when saving or updating the option. If the option value was serialized, then it will be unserialized when it is returned. In this case the type will be the same. For example, storing a non-scalar value like an array will return the same array.

In most cases non-string scalar and null values will be converted and returned as string equivalents.


  1. When the option has not been saved in the database, the $default value is returned if provided. If not, boolean false is returned.
  2. When one of the Options API filters is used: ‘pre_option_$option’, ‘default_option_$option’, or ‘option_$option’, the returned value may not match the expected type.
  3. When the option has just been saved in the database, and get_option() is used right after, non-string scalar and null values are not converted to string equivalents and the original type is returned.


When adding options like this: add_option( 'my_option_name', 'value' ) and then retrieving them with get_option( 'my_option_name' ), the returned values will be:

  • false returns string(0) ""
  • true returns string(1) "1"
  • 0 returns string(1) "0"
  • 1 returns string(1) "1"
  • '0' returns string(1) "0"
  • '1' returns string(1) "1"
  • null returns string(0) ""

When adding options with non-scalar values like add_option( 'my_array', array( false, 'str', null ) ), the returned value will be identical to the original as it is serialized before saving it in the database:

array(3) {
    [0] => bool(false)
    [1] => string(3) "str"
    [2] => NULL

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(string) (Required) Name of the option to retrieve. Expected to not be SQL-escaped.


(mixed) (Optional) Default value to return if the option does not exist.

Default value: false

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(mixed) Value of the option. A value of any type may be returned, including scalar (string, boolean, float, integer), null, array, object. Scalar and null values will be returned as strings as long as they originate from a database stored option value. If there is no option in the database, boolean false is returned.

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More Information

A concise list of commonly-used options is below, but a more complete one can be found at the Option Reference.

  • 'admin_email' – E-mail address of blog administrator.
  • 'blogname' – Weblog title; set in General Options.
  • 'blogdescription' – Tagline for your blog; set in General Options.
  • 'blog_charset' – Character encoding for your blog; set in Reading Options.
  • 'date_format' – Default date format; set in General Options.
  • 'default_category' – Default post category; set in Writing Options.
  • 'home' – The blog’s home web address; set in General Options.
  • 'siteurl' – WordPress web address; set in General Options.
    Warning: This is not the same as get_bloginfo( 'url' ) (which will return the homepage url), but as get_bloginfo( 'wpurl' ).
  • 'template' – The current theme’s name; set in Presentation.
  • 'start_of_week' – Day of week calendar should start on; set in General Options.
  • 'upload_path' – Default upload location; set in Miscellaneous Options.
  • 'users_can_register' – Whether users can register; set in General Options.
  • 'posts_per_page' – Maximum number of posts to show on a page; set in Reading Options.
  • 'posts_per_rss' – Maximum number of most recent posts to show in the syndication feed; set in Reading Options.

There are many more options available, a lot of which depend on what plugins you have installed.

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File: wp-includes/option.php

function get_option( $option, $default = false ) {
	global $wpdb;

	if ( is_scalar( $option ) ) {
		$option = trim( $option );

	if ( empty( $option ) ) {
		return false;

	 * Until a proper _deprecated_option() function can be introduced,
	 * redirect requests to deprecated keys to the new, correct ones.
	$deprecated_keys = array(
		'blacklist_keys'    => 'disallowed_keys',
		'comment_whitelist' => 'comment_previously_approved',

	if ( ! wp_installing() && isset( $deprecated_keys[ $option ] ) ) {
				/* translators: 1: Deprecated option key, 2: New option key. */
				__( 'The "%1$s" option key has been renamed to "%2$s".' ),
				$deprecated_keys[ $option ]
		return get_option( $deprecated_keys[ $option ], $default );

	 * Filters the value of an existing option before it is retrieved.
	 * The dynamic portion of the hook name, `$option`, refers to the option name.
	 * Returning a truthy value from the filter will effectively short-circuit retrieval
	 * and return the passed value instead.
	 * @since 1.5.0
	 * @since 4.4.0 The `$option` parameter was added.
	 * @since 4.9.0 The `$default` parameter was added.
	 * @param mixed  $pre_option The value to return instead of the option value. This differs
	 *                           from `$default`, which is used as the fallback value in the event
	 *                           the option doesn't exist elsewhere in get_option().
	 *                           Default false (to skip past the short-circuit).
	 * @param string $option     Option name.
	 * @param mixed  $default    The fallback value to return if the option does not exist.
	 *                           Default false.
	$pre = apply_filters( "pre_option_{$option}", false, $option, $default );

	if ( false !== $pre ) {
		return $pre;

	if ( defined( 'WP_SETUP_CONFIG' ) ) {
		return false;

	// Distinguish between `false` as a default, and not passing one.
	$passed_default = func_num_args() > 1;

	if ( ! wp_installing() ) {
		// Prevent non-existent options from triggering multiple queries.
		$notoptions = wp_cache_get( 'notoptions', 'options' );

		if ( isset( $notoptions[ $option ] ) ) {
			 * Filters the default value for an option.
			 * The dynamic portion of the hook name, `$option`, refers to the option name.
			 * @since 3.4.0
			 * @since 4.4.0 The `$option` parameter was added.
			 * @since 4.7.0 The `$passed_default` parameter was added to distinguish between a `false` value and the default parameter value.
			 * @param mixed  $default The default value to return if the option does not exist
			 *                        in the database.
			 * @param string $option  Option name.
			 * @param bool   $passed_default Was `get_option()` passed a default value?
			return apply_filters( "default_option_{$option}", $default, $option, $passed_default );

		$alloptions = wp_load_alloptions();

		if ( isset( $alloptions[ $option ] ) ) {
			$value = $alloptions[ $option ];
		} else {
			$value = wp_cache_get( $option, 'options' );

			if ( false === $value ) {
				$row = $wpdb->get_row( $wpdb->prepare( "SELECT option_value FROM $wpdb->options WHERE option_name = %s LIMIT 1", $option ) );

				// Has to be get_row() instead of get_var() because of funkiness with 0, false, null values.
				if ( is_object( $row ) ) {
					$value = $row->option_value;
					wp_cache_add( $option, $value, 'options' );
				} else { // Option does not exist, so we must cache its non-existence.
					if ( ! is_array( $notoptions ) ) {
						$notoptions = array();

					$notoptions[ $option ] = true;
					wp_cache_set( 'notoptions', $notoptions, 'options' );

					/** This filter is documented in wp-includes/option.php */
					return apply_filters( "default_option_{$option}", $default, $option, $passed_default );
	} else {
		$suppress = $wpdb->suppress_errors();
		$row      = $wpdb->get_row( $wpdb->prepare( "SELECT option_value FROM $wpdb->options WHERE option_name = %s LIMIT 1", $option ) );
		$wpdb->suppress_errors( $suppress );

		if ( is_object( $row ) ) {
			$value = $row->option_value;
		} else {
			/** This filter is documented in wp-includes/option.php */
			return apply_filters( "default_option_{$option}", $default, $option, $passed_default );

	// If home is not set, use siteurl.
	if ( 'home' === $option && '' === $value ) {
		return get_option( 'siteurl' );

	if ( in_array( $option, array( 'siteurl', 'home', 'category_base', 'tag_base' ), true ) ) {
		$value = untrailingslashit( $value );

	 * Filters the value of an existing option.
	 * The dynamic portion of the hook name, `$option`, refers to the option name.
	 * @since 1.5.0 As 'option_' . $setting
	 * @since 3.0.0
	 * @since 4.4.0 The `$option` parameter was added.
	 * @param mixed  $value  Value of the option. If stored serialized, it will be
	 *                       unserialized prior to being returned.
	 * @param string $option Option name.
	return apply_filters( "option_{$option}", maybe_unserialize( $value ), $option );

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Version Description
1.5.0 Introduced.

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User Contributed Notes

  1. Skip to note 3 content
    Contributed by ptasker

    A quick tip that the output of get_option() is filterable:

    return apply_filters( "option_{$option}", maybe_unserialize( $value ), $option );

    So you can change the output of get_option() at run time.

     //Outputs an array of all plugins
     var_dump( get_option('active_plugins') );
     add_filter( 'option_active_plugins', function( $plugins ){
    	return [];
    //Outputs an empty array
    var_dump( get_option('active_plugins') );

    Helpful for disabling specific plugins when required.

  2. Skip to note 6 content
    Contributed by ecotechie

    Check if option is set to avoid warnings.
    Was getting Illegal Offset warnings when the checkbox was not selected on a plugin’s option page.
    Adding isset() inside checked() sorted it all out.

    function comment_author_url_render() {
    	$options = get_option( 'plugin_settings' );
    	<input type='checkbox' name='plugin_settings[setting]' <?php checked( isset( $options['setting'] ) ); ?> value='1'>

    Hope this helps somebody else out.

  3. Skip to note 7 content
    Contributed by Anurag soni

    Just like we use


    to incorporate the date format defined in Settings -> General,

    We can also use


    to incorporate the time format defined in Settings -> General.

    for example

    <?php the_time(get_option('date_format')); ?>
    <?php the_time(get_option('time_format')); ?>
  4. Skip to note 9 content
    Contributed by tradesouthwest

    There is a “long-hand” format for creating option settings-field parameter in one line that is harder to read/follow semantically, but provides a single string to a options setting instead of two strings for every option.

    $wpdevref_text_2 = esc_attr( get_option( 'wpdevref_options' )['wpdevref_text_field_2'] );

    The above returns false, so technically there is no default to setup unless you require a value.
    And there are just a bit less parameter parsing than

    $options = get_option('wpdevref_options'); 
    $wpdevref_text_2 = (empty($options['wpdevref_text_2'] )) 
                     ? 'Default Text' : $options['wpdevref_text_2']; 

    Alternatively (if default required):

    $wpdevref_text_2 = (empty( get_option( 'wpdevref_options' )['wpdevref_text_field_2']) )
                     ? 'Default Text' : get_option( 'wpdevref_options' )['wpdevref_text_field_2'];

    And for a checkbox in a settings array, try:

    'value'   => get_option('wpdevref_fields')['wpdevref_dashnews_widgetcheck'],
    'checked' => esc_attr( checked( 1, 
                 get_option('wpdevref_fields')['wpdevref_dashnews_widgetcheck'], false ) );
  5. Skip to note 10 content
    Contributed by shadialaghbari

    This is helpful for assigning defaults values to multiple options:

     * Retrieves multiple options values as an associative array based on an option name.
     * @param string $option_name (Required) Name of option to retrieve.
     * @param array $defaults (Optional) Default values to return if the option does not exist.
    function wporg_prfex_get_theme_option( $option_name, $defaults = array() ) {
      $options = get_option( $option_name );
      //checking if options exists
      if ( ! empty( $options ) ) {
        $it = new MultipleIterator();
        $it->attachIterator( new ArrayIterator( $options ) );
        $it->attachIterator( new ArrayIterator( $defaults ) );
        foreach ( $it as $setting_name => $value ) {
          if ( empty( $value[0] ) ) {
            $optionsArray[ $setting_name[1] ] = $value[1];
          } else {
            $optionsArray[ $setting_name[0] ] = $value[0];
        }// end loop
        return $optionsArray;
      } else {
        // if no options then set the defaults
        $optionsArray = $defaults;
        return $optionsArray;

    Usage as the following:

    $defaults = array(
          'settings_name1' => 'rgba(255, 0, 0, 0.7)',
          'settings_name1' => 'rgba(31, 200, 219, 0.7)',
          'settings_name1' => 'rgba(44, 181, 232, 0.7)'
    $colors = wporg_prfex_get_theme_option( 'option_name', $defaults );

    Displaying the option:

    echo $colors['settings_name1'];
  6. Skip to note 11 content
    Contributed by A WP Life

    Simply way to check the option value set or not.

    For Example, I have a plugin version 1.0 that is installed on the user site. The plugin version is set on the plugin activation. If I released a new plugin version 2.0 and need to check the installed plugin version and new apply changes on the new version update.

    For it, you need to set default value in function:

    get_option( 'key_name', 'default_value' )

    So, if option value not set or avaiable than default value assigned to variable.

    Sample code:

    $my_plugin_version = get_option('plugin_name_version', '2.0');
    if($my_plugin_version == '1.0') {
    	// do something or apply changes and update the plugin version into option value
    } else {
    	// do nothing
  7. Skip to note 13 content
    Contributed by venkat

    check options exists or not, use isset to check
    if value exists then checked box appear, if there is no option then unchecked box appears

    $checkbox = get_option('options');
        if ( isset( $checkbox['check_box'] ) ) {
            echo 'value exists- so return checked box ';
        } else {
            echo ' no value  - so return unchecked box ';

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