Plugin Options Page and Nonces

As any good plugin developer knows, WordPress 2.8 introduced a new way to handle the changing of options. The register_setting() function is used in combination with options.php to create an easy way to create option pages for plugin settings. This enables the plugin developer to focus on his plugin, rather than spending a great deal of time creating options pages.

Sounds great, right? Well, sure, until you introduce nonces (which you should).

For most developers, using the update-options nonce, in combination with the page_options POST variable, will suffice, and works fine with their current code. However, the code itself says “this is for back compat and will eventually be removed”. Being good developers, we want to keep up with the latest standards, and make sure our plugins work in future versions of WordPress. Our other option is to set the option_page POST variable. This sounds fine, as we already have unique identifiers for our plugin functions (right?), so we can simply do <input type="hidden" name="option_page" value="rm_plugin_options" />, right?

Wrong. Turns out, you need to do one extra step: whitelisting your options.

Whitelisting your options is what you usually do with page_options, except, that POST variable isn’t used when we use option_page. Instead, we need to whitelist the options in the HTML, via the whitelist_options filter. I could explain the setup of whitelist_options, but you can find that out by simply looking at the source of wp-admin/options.php. Instead, here’s some example code. Enjoy.

function rm_whitelist_options($whitelist) {
	// option_page is the key here, values are option names to let through
	$whitelist['rm_plugin_options'] = array(
	return $whitelist;
add_filter( 'whitelist_options', 'rm_whitelist_options' );

So, finally done? Nope, still have one last thing to do: nonces! This is the most simple part. You must set it to [option_page]-options for options.php to accept it.

Finally, we have it done. Now, good luck with your plugin!