Use WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE Constant to Code for Different Environments

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The WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE, introduced in WordPress 5.5, is constant in WordPress is an essential tool for managing different settings in different environments for your development and deployment workflow.

By defining this WordPress constant, you can easily distinguish between development, staging, and production environments, allowing you to configure your site accordingly.

Why? Well, when doing web development, you have probably encountered situations where you need specific actions to occur only in certain environments.

For instance, if you use Stripe on your website, you likely want users to be charged only in the production environment. In staging, development, or local environments, it would be ideal to use Stripe’s test data instead of real customer credit cards.

Consider emails as another example. When testing a new mail-sending feature, it would be beneficial for all emails in the development environment to be sent to your email address rather than to end users.

There are numerous scenarios where you want specific actions limited to certain environments. While these implementations are clever, the lack of a standardized approach means developers often have to reinvent the wheel, making it difficult to share solutions efficiently.

So, let’s explore what the WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant does and how it can streamline your WordPress development process.

The WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant is defined in the wp-config.php file, located in the root directory of your WordPress installation. This constant lets you specify the environment type your WordPress site is running in. The possible values are local, development, staging, and production.

You can set the constant by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file:

define( 'WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE', 'development' );


When you define the WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant, WordPress can adjust its behavior based on the specified environment. This allows developers to create environment-specific configurations, ensuring that their development, staging, and production environments are properly separated.


  1. Environment-Specific Configurations: By setting the WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant, you can tailor your WordPress configuration to each environment. For instance, you might enable debugging in development but disable it in production.
  2. Improved Security: In production environments, you can disable features that should not be accessible to the public, such as debugging tools and error messages.
  3. Streamlined Development Workflow: The constant helps maintain a clear separation between different environments, reducing the risk of deploying development code to production.
  4. Consistent Deployment: By defining environment types, you can automate deployments and ensure consistent configurations across all environments.


You should use the WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant if:

  • You have multiple environments for development, staging, and production.
  • You need to configure different settings for each environment.
  • You want to streamline your deployment process.

Potential Issues

While the WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant offers many advantages, it can be misconfigured if not used carefully. Ensure that the constant is set correctly in each environment to avoid unintended behavior.

Using Plugins Instead of Manual Configuration

Manually adding the WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant to your wp-config.php file is not always the best approach. There are several WordPress plugins that handle this for you, making the process seamless and error-free. Some popular options include:

  1. WP Staging: This plugin allows you to create a staging environment for testing purposes. It helps you clone your site and set the appropriate environment type.
  2. Local WP: This plugin is designed for local development. It helps you set up a local environment and configure the WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant accordingly.
  3. Environment Indicator: This plugin visually indicates the current environment type in your WordPress admin dashboard. It helps you avoid confusion and ensures you’re working in the correct environment.

These plugins automatically configure the WP_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE constant and offer additional settings to manage your environments more effectively. By using these plugins, you can ensure your site is configured correctly without manually editing the wp-config.php file.