Is there a file where WordPress defines $GLOBALS?

I'm just curious as to what WordPress uses it for and for what purpose.

That's all!


4 Answers 4


I'm not sure if all of these are WordPress globals, but I did a quick grep type search of the WordPress files and tried to extract all the globals I could..

This is the list I compiled. It may not be perfect, but should *hopefully* represent a lot of the $GLOBALS keys that WordPress uses It won't account for globalised variables that aren't explicitly defined as $GLOBAL, but still have global scope.


If you wanted to get a better idea of everything inside the global array you could run something like the following to get a print out, because the above approach was obviously flawed since globals are defined in more than one way.

add_action( 'shutdown', 'print_them_globals' );

function print_them_globals() {

    ksort( $GLOBALS );
    echo '<ol>';
    echo '<li>'. implode( '</li><li>', array_keys( $GLOBALS ) ) . '</li>';
    echo '</ol>';

That should give you a more comprehensive list of variables in the global scope.

Hope that's helpful. :)

  • ++++++ wp_filesystem, wp_rewrite, wp_registered_widgets, wp_registered_sidebars, wpdb, current_screen, pagenow, is_IE, is_gecko, is_opera, is_iphone etc..., authordata, wp_roles, wp_scripts, _wp_using_ext_object_cache.. There are probably hundreds out there. Code is Poetry :) Jul 29, 2011 at 15:47
  • Well sure, there are plenty more than end up in the global scope, but they aren't defined in the same way, so impossible to factor into my regex pattern.
    – t31os
    Jul 29, 2011 at 16:05
  • 3
    Added a function to my answer that will give a more comprehensive list of globals... :)
    – t31os
    Jul 29, 2011 at 16:13

Unfortunately, no.

Globals definitions are scattered throught the codebase.

There's no documentation for most of them, either.

  • I think it should also be noted that if you declare ANY variable in the global scope it is automatically added to the $GLOBALS array without ever typing $GLOBALS[, so a grep search wouldn't possibly return every global variable in WordPress.
    – stevendesu
    Jul 29, 2011 at 13:59
  • @steven_desu: I think you meant to post that to t31os' answer.
    – scribu
    Jul 29, 2011 at 14:30
  • It wasn't grep, technically speaking it was a regex pattern match across all files in the WordPress installation directory using Notepad++, my search went along the lines $GLOBALS([^, ]+)([, ]+) ... which gave me a bundle of results, which i then copy and pasted, and stripped away all the irrelevant data.
    – t31os
    Jul 29, 2011 at 15:47

$GLOBALS is an associative array containing references to all variables which are currently defined in the global scope. This is a PHP language tool.

Global variables can be defined simply by creating a new item in the $GLOBALS array like this:

$GLOBALS['foo'] = 'foo content';

WordPress Globals are used to share data across files. They are not defined in any specific place but you can find some of the most important ones here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Global_Variables

PHP makes it even easier to use $GLOBALS by allowing you to access the items by simply declaring it using the global keyword.

global $foo;
$foo = 'foo new content';

is the same as:

$GLOBALS['foo'] = 'foo new content';

Please note, if you didn't define $foo as global, it will not be linked to the global variable scope.

Some further reading on this: http://www.php.net/manual/en/reserved.variables.globals.php


If you try to print out all the $GLOBALS and get an error 'allowed memory exceeded' or something like that, than put this code inside functions.php:

    function print_all_globals() {
       $test = array_keys($GLOBALS);
       echo "<pre style='background:blue;color:white;'>";
       echo "</pre>";

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