Using plugin_basename to retrieve a plugin base path in WordPress

The plugin_basename function in WordPress is a utility function that retrieves the name and directory path of a plugin file. This function helps in identifying the plugin file relative to the base plugin directory. The output of this function can be helpful in various scenarios such as when you need to reference a particular plugin file for enqueuing scripts or styles, or when you want to ensure a specific plugin file is being used.

It’s important to note that the plugin_basename function doesn’t return the absolute file path, but rather a path relative to the base directory of the plugins. This makes the function more reliable and consistent across different installations and setups of WordPress, as it is unaffected by the absolute file structure of the server.

However, the function only works correctly if the plugin file is located in the plugins directory or its subdirectories. It may not return the expected results if used with files outside of these directories.

Parameter Accepted by plugin_basename Function

  • $file (string) – This is a required parameter that represents the filename of the plugin. It is important to note that this parameter must be of the string data type.

Return Value of the plugin_basename Function

The plugin_basename function, upon successful execution, returns a string value. This string value represents the name of the plugin. This returned value can be utilized for various purposes depending on the specific requirements of your WordPress plugin development.


How to Use plugin_basename to Get the Path to the Plugin File

One of the most common usages of the plugin_basename function is to get the path to the plugin file from the plugins directory.

<?php $plugin_path = plugin_basename(__FILE__);
echo $plugin_path;

This code snippet uses the plugin_basename function to get the path to the current file from the plugins directory. The __FILE__ magic constant is used to get the full path and filename of the current file. The result is then stored in the $plugin_path variable and displayed on the screen.


The plugin_basename function is a utility function in WordPress that retrieves the name of the plugin folder or the main plugin file. This function is particularly useful when you need to accurately reference a plugin’s location within your code, especially when working with plugin hooks or generating URLs for enqueuing scripts and styles. Its functionality allows for more efficient and accurate plugin referencing, enhancing the overall development process in WordPress.

Related WordPress Functions