Is there a way to output the default value of a wp_customize text field type using the echo get_theme_mod (); without actually going in the Theme Customizer, modifying something and then saving it?

I just read on another stackexchange question that the get_theme_mod will only show something after you save it in Theme Customizer. Not being able to output the default value of a wp_customize setting seems to defy the purpose of using a default value.

So, back to the question: is there a way to automatically display the default value of a wp_customize setting in front-end?


Sadly not - all your customize controls are hooked onto customize_register, so they'll only ever come into play when customising the theme for the first time.

get_theme_mod() takes a second argument for a "default" value - yes, it means two instances of data in your code, but it's a half-solution.

I guess a more DRY approach would be a coupling of globals & helper functions:

$my_theme_defaults = array(
    'foo' => 'bar',
    'baz' => 'boo',

function my_theme_customize( $wp_customize ) {
    global $my_theme_defaults;

            'default' => $my_theme_defaults['foo'],

function my_theme_mod( $name ) {
    global $my_theme_defaults;

    echo get_theme_mod( $name, $my_theme_defaults[ $name ] );
  • That would mean you'll have $my_theme_defaults as global variable, and also put side effects within a file that should contains only functions. – guido Apr 25 '18 at 12:45
  • I'm just demonstrating the concept. You could use an array constant (PHP 5.6+) or a class (properties & methods), or you could refactor my_theme_mod to encapsulate the defaults & a second parameter flag for passing them straight back. – TheDeadMedic Apr 25 '18 at 12:53

Actually you can output a default value. The correct way is to set a default for your mod like this:

echo get_theme_mod( 'MOD_ID', 'YOUR DEFAULT OUTPUT' );
  • This does not answer the question. – TheDeadMedic Apr 26 '18 at 11:39

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