When making changes in the full site editor, where are the settings actually stored?

When searching for this I get a gazillion results saying the settings are stored in theme.json, but this can't be right. If I check the theme.json file right after making changes in the full site editor the changes are not reflected in theme.json. I have to export the theme in the full site editing first.

1 Answer 1


When you make modifications to templates the new HTML of the template is saved as a custom post type with the wp_template post type. This is then used instead of the version stored in the theme directory. The same is true template parts, except the post type for those is wp_template_part.

When you modify global styles the styles and settings properties of theme.json are copied to to the database, this time as a post with the wp_global_styles post type, with your changes applied to this copy.

  • Thanks. It was that last part about global styles I was concerned about. Found it when searching for wp_global_styles in the phpMyAdmin. Kind of weird that the changes are written to the DB and not the theme.json file. Why is that?
    – Arete
    Mar 25, 2023 at 11:27
  • 1
    Reading and writing from files is slower and theme files are all overwritten whenever there’s a theme update. It would also make it impossible to reset to defaults. Mar 26, 2023 at 4:23
  • Thank you very much @JacobPeattie for detailed answer.. one more thing for future WP google-er like me.. if you use customizer.php to style (easier css) then it's saved in custom_css post type.. good thing it's both outputed on front Apr 15, 2023 at 10:22

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