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How does ACF Pro store its data?

  • Hello!

    I am planning to start using ACF Pro but a question came to my mind…

    How does it store internally the data it manages? Is it normal post meta or does it use its own way and tables?

    Thanks a lot!

  • ACF uses post meta, user meta, options, and very soon term meta.

    The way the data is stored is dependent on the field type. Most basic field types are stored as text values. Any field that references a WP object, like a post or attachment or a term, these store the ID values of those objects. If a field allows multiple values, like a mutliselect, checkbox, relationship, then the value is stored as a serialized array. Repeaters and flex fields are the most complicated, storing data using multiple meta keys.

  • Hello John!

    Thanks a lot for answering. The question was just in case we stop using ACF Pro in the future (hope that’s not the case!), to have a standard “fallback”.

    We wouldn’t like to be left without an option to continue in a different way. As long as ACF Pro uses standard ways as you described and I’ve seen in the db, everything’s ok.

    Will buy soon then, as the repeater field is something we’ll be using too. I bet this would be the hardest field of all to migrate in the case described above.

    Thanks again! Cheers!

  • Just so that you know, when I build themes I generally don’t uses the ACF function in the theme and instead use get_post_meta() and get_option(). I do this so that if for some reason ACF gets deactivated then then theme will still work. So, it is completely possible to get all of the information and manipulate it without ACF running.

    That being said, rebuilding that admin of a site that was using ACF to use something else… well, I wouldn’t build an admin without it. ACF saves many many hours of work that would be spend building custom meta boxes.

  • Hey John,

    Good advice there using get_post_meta instead of ACF Pro methods in the theme.

    I don’t plan to stop using ACF Pro as long as it continues working as it does today. But this being a large and profitable site, I just have to evaluate worst case scenarios before introducing something new 😉

    Thanks again for your lenghty explanations. They’ve been really really helpful!

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