Plugin settings

You need to perform some extra steps if your plugin needs settings to be saved and controlled via the administration panel:

  • Create a file in your plugin’s default view folder called plugins/your_plugin/settings.php, where your_plugin is the name of your plugin’s directory in the mod hierarchy

  • Fill this file with the form elements you want to display together with internationalised text labels

  • Set the name attribute in your form components to params[`varname`] where varname is the name of the variable. These will be saved as metadata attached to a plugin entity. So, if your variable is called params[myparameter] your plugin (which is also passed to this view as $vars['entity']) will be called $vars['entity']->myparameter

An example settings.php would look like:

echo elgg_view_field([
        '#type' => 'select',
        '#label' => elgg_echo('myplugin:settings:limit'),
        'name' => 'params[limit]',
        'value' => $vars['entity']->limit,
        'options' => [5,8,12,15],


You don’t need to add a save button or the form, this will be handled by the framework.


You cannot use form components that send no value when “off.” These include radio inputs and check boxes.

If your plugin settings require a cache flush you can add a (hidden) input on the form with the name ‘flush_cache’ and value ‘1’

        '#type' => 'hidden',
        'name' => 'flush_cache',
        'value' => 1,

User settings

Your plugin might need to store per user settings too, and you would like to have your plugin’s options to appear in the user’s settings page. This is also easy to do and follows the same pattern as setting up the global plugin configuration explained earlier. The only difference is that instead of using a settings file you will use usersettings. So, the path to the user edit view for your plugin would be plugins/<your_plugin>/usersettings.php.


The title of the usersettings form will default to the plugin name. If you want to change this, add a translation for <plugin_id>:usersettings:title.

Group settings

If your plugin needs settings per group you can extend the view groups/edit/settings to show your settings. The settings are shown during group creation and edit. In order for the settings to be saved correctly they need a name in the format settings[<plugin id>][<setting name>].

Retrieving settings in your code

To retrieve settings from your code use:

$setting = elgg_get_plugin_setting($name, $plugin_id);

or for user settings:

$user_setting = elgg_get_plugin_user_setting($name, $user_guid, $plugin_id);

// or
$user = get_user($user_guid);
$user_setting = $user->getPluginSetting($plugin_id, $name);


  • $name Is the value you want to retrieve

  • $user_guid Is the user you want to retrieve these for (defaults to the currently logged in user)

  • $plugin_name Is the name of the plugin (detected if run from within a plugin)

or for group settings:

$group = get_entity($group_guid);
$value = $group->getPluginSetting('<plugin id>', '<setting name>');

Setting values while in code

Values may also be set from within your plugin code, to do this use one of the following functions:

$plugin = elgg_get_plugin_from_id($plugin_id);
$plugin->setSetting($name, $value);

or for user settings:

$user = elgg_get_logged_in_user_entity();
$user->setPluginSetting($plugin_id, $name, $value);

or for group settings:

$group = get_entity($group_guid);
$group->setPluginSetting($plugin_id, $name, $value);


The $plugin_id needs to be provided when setting plugin (user)settings.

Default plugin (group|user) settings

If a plugin or a user not have a setting stored in the database, you sometimes have the need for a certain default value. You can pass this when using the getter functions.

$user_setting = elgg_get_plugin_user_setting($name, $user_guid, $plugin_id, $default);

$plugin_setting = elgg_get_plugin_setting($name, $plugin_id, $default);

$group_setting = $group->getPluginSetting($plugin_id, $name, $default);

Alternatively you can also provide default plugin and user settings in the elgg-plugin.php file.


return [
        'settings' => [
            'key' => 'value',
        'user_settings' => [
            'key' => 'value',


Group settings don’t have a default value available in the elgg-plugin.php file.