Function and usage of get_option() in wordpress


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    The get_option() function in WordPress is a crucial function used to retrieve a value from the options table in the WordPress database. It is extensively used in theme and plugin development to access various settings and configurations. Here's a detailed explanation and sample usage:

    Function Signature:

    get_option( string $option, mixed $default_value = false ): mixed


    • Purpose: Retrieves the value of a specified option from the WordPress database.
    • Return Value: The function returns a mixed type. It can return any type of value including scalar (string, boolean, float, integer), null, array, or object.


    • Option Non-existence: If the option does not exist in the database, and no default value is provided, it returns false. This is used to check if an option needs initialization during a plugin installation. However, it's recommended to use add_option() for initialization as it avoids overwriting existing options.
    • Type Conversion: The type of the returned value might differ from the type passed during saving or updating. For instance, serialized values are unserialized upon retrieval. Non-string scalar and null values stored in the database are often converted and returned as string equivalents.
    • Exceptions:
      • If the option hasn't been saved in the database, and a default value is provided, that default value is returned. Otherwise, false is returned.
      • When using Options API filters (pre_option_$option, default_option_$option, option_$option), the returned value might not match the expected type.
      • When an option is newly saved and immediately retrieved, non-string scalar and null values aren't converted to strings, and the original type is returned.


    1. Retrieving Basic Scalar Values:

      • add_option( 'my_option_name', 'value' )
      • Retrieving with get_option( 'my_option_name' ):
        • 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) ""
    2. Retrieving Non-Scalar Values:

      • add_option( 'my_array', array( false, 'str', null ) )
      • Retrieving with get_option( 'my_array' ) returns the same array structure:
        array(3) {
          [0] => bool(false)
          [1] => string(3) "str"
          [2] => NULL


    • $option (string, required): Name of the option to retrieve. It should not be SQL-escaped.
    • $default_value (mixed, optional): Default value to return if the option does not exist. Default is false.


    • The value of the option, which can be of any type, including scalar, null, array, or object. Scalar and null values are returned as strings if they originate from a stored database value.

    Usage in Context:

    The get_option() function is commonly used in WordPress development to access site settings, theme options, or plugin configurations. It's a straightforward way to access data that influences the behavior and appearance of a WordPress site. For example, accessing site URL, reading theme settings, or fetching custom configurations set by a plugin.

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