is there a way to hook / filter or add action that would be printed in the wp-config file? lets say i want to add some simple command like "empty the trash" aka

define('EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 1 ); 

This should be changes in the wp-config but i want it to go with theme..

Any way to do that?


2 Answers 2


There is, as far as I know, no way to hook into wp-config.php from a Theme. For one, wp-config.php shouldn't be writeable; for another, wp-config.php is executed well-before a Theme's functions.php file is parsed. For a great overview of how WordPress boots, have a look at this two-part post by Theme.FM (part 1, part 2) or this Explanation with a flowchart by @Rarst.

You might want to look into removing the define() from wp-config.php, and moving it into the Theme? I'll have to look to see where it gets used, but there's a good chance that WordPress won't have looked for it before functions.php gets parsed.


As per @ChristopherDavis' comment below, EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS gets defined at wp-settings.php, via default-constants.php. So, you have to define it in wp-config.php, if you want to override the default.

p.s. why would you want to define the number of trash days in a Theme, anyway?

  • 1
    removing the define doesn't work. WordPress sets up defaults if they aren't defined in wp-config.php core.svn.wordpress.org/trunk/wp-includes/default-constants.php the functions in there get called in wp-settings.php Oct 27, 2011 at 20:12
  • @ChristopherDavis Well there ya go, then! Thanks for the clarification. (Note, I was referring to moving the define() to functions.php, not to removing it entirely.) Oct 27, 2011 at 20:16
  • RE: the edit. Yes, exactly. It's not really a theme or plugins job to try and change wp-config options. Oct 27, 2011 at 20:20
  • ChristopherDavis, kaiser & chipbennett - Thanks a lot for the debate, your answers and the refrence links - it taught a lot :) - I really appreciate it
    – Sagive
    Oct 28, 2011 at 2:16
  • Just to expend on the reason i asked - i wanted to create a defaults / custom define attributed after new installation plugin that would offer a lot of easy to set common options. The "empty my trash" option was just a small example
    – Sagive
    Oct 28, 2011 at 2:21

You can just redefine it in your functions.php file (call define with the key/value you want). Since it loads later, it's going to be replaced with your value. I just tried this with a plugin, it generated some unexpected output errors, but it worked.

That said, if this is a theme for public consumption, it is definitely not your job to change site wide configuration options without consulting your users. If it's for a client, you should be able to edit their wp-config directly.

You're better off to use xref (or something like ack-grep) to search for where the constant is used and how. Are there hooks in those functions/whatever that you could used to accomplish the same thing as redefining the variable?

  • 1
    Couldn't you use @define( etc... ) to avoid the error output? Not that it's a good idea, but it should work.
    – kaiser
    Oct 27, 2011 at 20:51
  • Good call, I suppose you could. I only saw the "unexpected output" error during plugin activation. No other PHP warnings/errors (with WP_DEBUG set to true). Oct 27, 2011 at 21:15
  • Ah, unexpected output comes if you want to echo something during activation/deactivation/uninstallation. If you don't do that it's no problem.
    – kaiser
    Oct 27, 2011 at 21:52

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