Working with transients with a timeout, I seem to be getting two transients created, and I don't quite understand why. Looking at the source code on: https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/set_transient/, it would appear this only occurs when wp_using_ext_object_cache() returns false.

My calls are:

set_transient( 'mytransientprefix_key', 'value', 3600);

and then I update the same transient with:

set_transient( 'mytransientprefix_key', 'new_value', 3600);

In the wp_options table, I'm then left with:

One _transient_timeout_mytransientprefix_key ("value") and one _transient_mytransientprefix_key ("new_value").


  • The _timeout_ one ought to a unix timestamp for now + 3600, not 'value'. Is it definitely 'value'?
    – Rup
    Jan 20, 2021 at 10:50

1 Answer 1


Why WordPress creates two transients: Because the first transient with timeout in the name, is used for storing the expiration you set for your transient (but the stored value is a UNIX timestamp, not simply the value you passed like 3600) so that WordPress knows when to delete your transient. As for the second one, it stores the actual transient value that you passed to set_transient(), i.e. the second parameter.

$key = 'mytransientprefix_key';

set_transient( $key, 'value', 3600 );
// That will create two options:
// _transient_timeout_mytransientprefix_key and
// _transient_mytransientprefix_key

    get_option( '_transient_timeout_' . $key ),
    get_option( '_transient_' . $key )
// Sample output: int(1611143902) string(5) "value"

So the value of the "timeout" transient shouldn't be value — try the above code and see how it goes?

  • 1
    Thanks for the explanation, I somehow overlooked the fact that the table doesn't actually have a timeout column, #LOL (it should, but that's a different discussion).
    – joho
    Jan 20, 2021 at 11:16

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