How To Var Dump In WordPress

When developing or troubleshooting WordPress sites, it’s often necessary to examine the contents of variables, arrays, and objects in detail. This process of outputting variable content in human-readable format is known as “Var Dump.” In this blog post, we’ll explore different ways to perform a var dump in WordPress and how to format the output as HTML.

What is Var Dump?

Var dump is a process used by developers to display the contents of a variable for debugging purposes. It can help you understand the data stored in a variable, verify if the data is correct, and identify any potential issues in your code. PHP provides a built-in function called var_dump() that can be used to display variable information.

Using var_dump() in WordPress

Let’s say you want to examine the contents of the global $post variable in WordPress. To perform a var dump, simply add the following code in your theme’s functions.php file or a custom plugin:

function wpb_var_dump_post_data() {
    global $post;
    echo '<pre>';
    echo '</pre>';
add_action('wp_footer', 'wpb_var_dump_post_data');

The above code snippet will output the contents of the $post variable in the footer of your WordPress site. We use the pre HTML tag to format the output, so it’s easier to read.

Improving Var Dump Output

While var_dump() is a useful function, the output can be quite verbose and difficult to read. Fortunately, there are alternative methods to achieve a cleaner and more readable output.

Using print_r()

The print_r() function is another built-in PHP function that provides a more human-readable output compared to var_dump(). To use it, simply replace the var_dump() function with print_r() in the previous example:

function wpb_print_r_post_data() {
    global $post;
    echo '<pre>';
    echo '</pre>';
add_action('wp_footer', 'wpb_print_r_post_data');

Using Kint Debugger

Kint Debugger is a WordPress plugin that provides a powerful alternative to var_dump() and print_r(). After installing and activating the plugin, you can use the d() function provided by Kint to perform a var dump:

function wpb_kint_post_data() {
    global $post;
add_action('wp_footer', 'wpb_kint_post_data');

Kint Debugger provides a clean, well-formatted output that is easier to read and understand than the default PHP functions. It also allows you to expand or collapse nested arrays and objects, making it an excellent tool for exploring complex data structures in WordPress.


Var dump is an essential tool for WordPress developers to understand the data stored in variables and troubleshoot issues in their code. In this blog post, we discussed different ways to perform a var dump in WordPress and format the output as HTML. By using the appropriate method, you can ensure that your debugging process is efficient and effective, helping you create better and more reliable WordPress sites.