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Remove All Matching Options from the WordPress Database

Typically when you want to remove an option from the WordPress database, you can use a function like delete_option(). But there are cases where such functions are insufficient. For example, in a previous version of my plugin Blackhole for Bad Bots, a database option is added for each blocked request, and each option name includes a random string, like blackhole_1btvitae9o. Because of the random string, using a function like delete_option() is useless. So to provide a solution, this quick post provides two ways to remove all matching options from the WordPress database.

Technique #1

The first way to remove all matching options from the database actually does use delete_option(), however additional logic is used to determine which options to delete. Here is the code:

// Remove all matching options from the database
foreach (wp_load_alloptions() as $option => $value) {
	
	if (strpos($option, 'blackhole_') !== false) {
		
		delete_option($option);
		
	}
	
}

The only required modification is to replace blackhole_get_vars with the option name that you want to delete. For this example, and option name that contains the string blackhole_get_vars is matched and deleted. So all of these options would be deleted:

blackhole_4qjg68sl5t
blackhole_ole5sq4rin
blackhole_9ogln954hh
blackhole_loskonz0y8
blackhole_nzb0bcl6e7
.
.
.

And so forth. So it’s an effective way to target and remove all options that match a particular pattern. Important: be careful and choose a pattern that ONLY exists in the options you want to remove. Remember to test thoroughly before using this code in a live plugin.

Technique #2

Instead of using delete_option(), this technique uses the wpdb Class to directly remove all options that are LIKE the specified pattern.

global $wpdb;
$wpdb->query("DELETE FROM $wpdb->options WHERE option_name LIKE '%blackhole_%'");

The only required change is to replace blackhole_ with whatever option name you want to find and delete. You have to be careful and choose a pattern that ONLY exists in the options you want to remove. Remember to test thoroughly before using this code in a live plugin.

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