I want to use the get_option() function of wordpress in one of my theme's files, which is not related to WP, it is just located in the same directory of the other theme files. I need this file because of some extra IPN paypal related actions, but I need some values from the options table that exists in WP to be called in this page in order for it to work. I know I can't just use get_option() as this file is overlooked by wordpress. Is there any approach by including some parts of wordpress in my theme to make this functionality only work?

  • I retagged your question. Hint: Just take a look inside wp-load.php.
    – kaiser
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 19:40
  • Have you thought about getting these values out of the database using a custom mysql query? Loading the entire WordPress system for a couple of option values might be overkill. For maintainability I recommend Abdussamads answer (build it into a plugin) Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 19:13

4 Answers 4


The shortest way is to load wp-load.php and abort the loading of the template engine (Note: You couldn't do that, if you'd be loading the header file, like you see it on many sites in the interweb).

# No need for the template engine
define( 'WP_USE_THEMES', false );
# Load WordPress Core
// Assuming we're in a subdir: "~/wp-content/plugins/current_dir"
require_once( '../../../wp-load.php' );

The simplest way is include wp-load.php file. This file will loads all WP core, so you can use WP functions such as get_option in your PHP file:

include 'path/to/wp-load.php';

echo get_option( 'option_name' );
  • +1 But by above answer, you can delete "the simplest" ;)
    – kaiser
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 19:48
  • 2
    One line (including wp-load.php) vs. multiple lines (plugin comments in the beginning), that's the simplest, lol.
    – Anh Tran
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 1:16

Turn your external file into a WordPress plugin. That way you'll have full access to WP core functions.

  • 1
    This would make your life much easier in the long run. Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 17:31

This should work on any WordPress installation:

function load_wp_load() {
  $wp_did_header = true;
  require_once($_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT'] . '/index.php');
  $matches = preg_grep('/wp-blog-header.php/', get_included_files());
  if (!empty($matches)) {
    $abspath = dirname(reset($matches)) . '/';
    define('ABSPATH', $abspath);
    require_once(ABSPATH . 'wp-load.php');

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