For a long time, I manually changed the $version parameter when I was using wp_enqueue_script or wp_enqueue_style. At some point, I’d forget to make the change though and then some caching plugin would have issues because it wouldn’t realize that the script/style had been updated and I’d waste time wondering why I was seeing a cached version of scripts.

To combat this I started adding the version number of the plugin or theme as the $version argument in wp_enqueue_script so let’s look at how I do that.


My first stab at solving this problem was while writing a plugin and dealing with admin scripts and styles only. If this is your sole use case then get_plugin_data( __FILE__ ) will get you the information you need.

add_action( 'admin_enqueue_scripts', 'admin_enqueue' );

function admin_enqueue(){

	$plugin_data = get_plugin_data( __FILE__ );
	$version = $plugin_data['Version'];

	wp_enqueue_script( 'my_script_name', plugins_url( '/plugin-folder/path-to/script.js' ), array( 'jquery'), esc_attr( $version ), true );


Unfortunately, if you want a method that works when you’re adding scripts to the frontend and to the admin area of WordPress you’re going to be let down by get_plugin_data as this function is only defined in the WordPress admin area.

To get reliable access to this data anytime you want to add $version to your enqueued scripts you need to use get_file_data . This is available on both the frontend and the admin area in WordPress.

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'frontend_enqueue' );

function frontend_enqueue(){

	$plugin_data = get_file_data( __FILE__, [
		'Version' => 'Version',
	], 'plugin' );
	$version = $plugin_data['Version'];

	wp_enqueue_script( 'my_script_name', plugins_url( '/plugin-folder/path-to/script.js' ), array( 'jquery'), esc_attr( $version ), true );


get_file_data reads the first 8kb of a file for metadata embedded in the file. Then you can define the metadata values you want to be passed through in an array. The final declaration of plugin above will translate into a filter that will be named extra_plugin_headers that you could modify if needed.


The biggest caveat to using get_file_contents is that you need to be doing your enqueue work in the main plugin file that has the standard WordPress plugin headers as that is what the plugin is reading.

That works for me, and using get_file_contents I can use a standard snippet to enqueue scripts and make sure I have the version number appended all the time.

Posted by Curtis McHale

Web developer specializing in membership and ecommerce sites. I like to ride my bicycle.