4.6.x bootstrap.inc cache_get($key)
4.7.x bootstrap.inc cache_get($key)
5.x cache.inc cache_get($key, $table = 'cache')
6.x cache.inc cache_get($cid, $table = 'cache')
6.x cache-install.inc cache_get($key, $table = 'cache')
7.x cache.inc cache_get($cid, $bin = 'cache')

Return data from the persistent cache. Data may be stored as either plain text or as serialized data. cache_get will automatically return unserialized objects and arrays.


$cid: The cache ID of the data to retrieve.

$table: The table $table to store the data in. Valid core values are 'cache_filter', 'cache_menu', 'cache_page', or 'cache' for the default cache.

@see cache_set()

11 calls to cache_get()
block_list in modules/block/block.module
Return all blocks in the specified region for the current user.
book_menu_subtree_data in modules/book/book.module
Get the data representing a subtree of the book hierarchy.
check_markup in modules/filter/filter.module
Run all the enabled filters on a piece of text.
drupal_get_schema in includes/common.inc
Get the schema definition of a table, or the whole database schema.
form_get_cache in includes/form.inc
Fetch a form from cache.

... See full list


includes/cache.inc, line 15


function cache_get($cid, $table = 'cache') {
  global $user;

  // Garbage collection necessary when enforcing a minimum cache lifetime
  $cache_flush = variable_get('cache_flush_' . $table, 0);
  if ($cache_flush && ($cache_flush + variable_get('cache_lifetime', 0) <= time())) {
    // Reset the variable immediately to prevent a meltdown in heavy load situations.
    variable_set('cache_flush_' . $table, 0);
    // Time to flush old cache data
    db_query("DELETE FROM {" . $table . "} WHERE expire != %d AND expire <= %d", CACHE_PERMANENT, $cache_flush);

  $cache = db_fetch_object(db_query("SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM {" . $table . "} WHERE cid = '%s'", $cid));
  if (isset($cache->data)) {
    // If the data is permanent or we're not enforcing a minimum cache lifetime
    // always return the cached data.
    if ($cache->expire == CACHE_PERMANENT || !variable_get('cache_lifetime', 0)) {
      $cache->data = db_decode_blob($cache->data);
      if ($cache->serialized) {
        $cache->data = unserialize($cache->data);
    // If enforcing a minimum cache lifetime, validate that the data is
    // currently valid for this user before we return it by making sure the
    // cache entry was created before the timestamp in the current session's
    // cache timer. The cache variable is loaded into the $user object by
    // sess_read() in session.inc.
    else {
      if (isset($user->cache) && $user->cache > $cache->created) {
        // This cache data is too old and thus not valid for us, ignore it.
        return 0;
      else {
        $cache->data = db_decode_blob($cache->data);
        if ($cache->serialized) {
          $cache->data = unserialize($cache->data);
    return $cache;
  return 0;


colemanw’s picture

It should be noted that the return value is an object.

Garrett Albright’s picture

…unless the cached item is not found; in which case the return value is an integer (0).

EvanDonovan’s picture

If you just want the data, here's a little helper function I wrote:

/* Wraps cache_get to return just the data. */
function cache_get_data($key, $table) {
  $cache_obj = cache_get($key, $table);
  if(is_object($cache_obj) && isset($cache_obj->data)) {
    return $cache_obj->data;
  else {
    return 0;

Note that this function be extended to check expiration manually, as per the below comments, if needed.

uibi’s picture

cache_get() returns expired cache items so you have to manually check wether the returned item is still valid:

if (($cache = cache_get('my_module:my_function', 'cache'))
      && !empty($cache->data)
      && (time() < $cache->expire)) //check expiration manually
    //use $cache->data
    //do expensive processing and store result in the cache

Some links for further references:

armanschwarz’s picture

Newbie here. uibi: it was my understanding that once a cache object has expired, it will be cleared from the cache automatically along with all other temporary cache objects, ie. whenever drupal feels like it. Is this correct?

Fabianx’s picture

That is correct, but the cache is only cleared on cron runs or manual cache clearing. This is normally called garbage collection and garbage collection most often is an asynchronous process to allow for good performance.

So it can happen that the object is still in the cache, even though it is expired already.

The above code helps to workaround that problem by checking the expire timestamp.

Hope that helps.

Best Wishes,