I am creating a Wordpress theme from scratch and I would like to save a file with the theme option anytime the theme options change.

I was thinking about:

do_action('admin_init', 'my_custom_function');
function my_custom_function(){

but in this case the file will be save anytime the admin area is loaded.

On the dashboard the theme creates forms to manage the theme options, like the following:

<form method="post" action="options.php">

    <?php settings_fields( 'theme-settings-group' ); ?>
    <?php do_settings_sections( 'theme-settings-group' ); ?>

    // form in here
    <?php submit_button(); ?>


This form send information to options.php which save the theme options on the database based on the setting group specified.

I would like to trigger an function any time something is saved in "options.php".

Can you guys suggest please? Thannks

  • Welcome to WordPress Development. WordPress has a special API for themes to store options which I do not currently understand well enough to explain but others do. Our site is different from most - if you have not done so yet, consider checking out the tour and help center to find out how things work. Jun 10, 2020 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


Here is the solution:

update_option_{option_name}: Runs after the option with name "option_name" has been updated. For example, for the option with name "foo":

 add_action('update_option_foo', 'my_custom_function', 10, 2);

update_option: Runs before an option gets updated. Example:

add_action('update_option', 'my_custom_function', 10, 3);

updated_option: Runs after an an option has been updated. Example:

add_action('updated_option', 'my_custom_function', 10, 3);
  • It should be mentioned that the hooks updated_option and update_option_{$option} which run after tan option has been saved, will not fire if the value of the option is the same as the previously saved ones. Some suggest to use pre_update_option_{$option} however this hook is fires just before the values have been updated into the database which might not work depending on your callback needs.
    – Aedan
    Feb 23, 2023 at 18:47

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