CodeIgniter pagination configuration file seems pointless

In the CodeIgniter documentation:

Simply create a new file called pagination.php, add the $config array in that file. Then save the file in application/config/pagination.php and it will be used automatically. You will NOT need to use $this->pagination->initialize() if you save your preferences in a config file.

However, one of the pagination configurations is the base_url, which presumably is going to be unique in every instance of pagination. For instance, if you use pagination for a controller function named yesterday your base_url might be something like /news/yesterday/pages/. Then for a controller function named today, your base_url might be /news/today/pages/. Given this scenario, you’ll need settings common for both instances stored in your pagination.php file and unique settings declared at the time you create the pagination links.

Consider this code:

In older versions of CodeIgniter, this code worked in conjunction with a pagination.php config file. However, after upgrading my project to version 3.1.0, I discovered the styling of my pagination links were totally broken. The settings contained within pagination.php were suddenly being ignored. Apparently the initialize() function is resetting pagination to its defaults, disregarding the pagination.php file entirely, and only using the $config settings array passed into it.

I no longer see the use of having a pagination.php file for common settings. If one of the core principals of CodeIgniter is DRY (Do not Repeat Yourself), then pagination.php has been rendered useless in this regard. You’re going to have both common configuration settings for all pagination instances in your project along with settings that are unique to each instance. If having unique settings for multiple instances precludes being able to use pagination.php, then its own purpose is already defeated. In order to use pagination.php, every instance of pagination would need an identical URL structure, which makes it impossible to use on more than one Controller function.

Consider two scenarios that illustrate the issue:

1. Do not use pagination.php file – Declare all settings for each instance of pagination by constructing the $config array in every Controller function. Settings common to all instances of pagination will need to be repeated for each instance of pagination throughout your Controller functions. Does not adhere to DRY principles. Not ideal.

2. Use pagination.php file – All pagination settings are contained in a central location adhering to DRY principles. However, since base_url is also a pagination setting, you’ll be forced to use the same Base URL for all instances of pagination. Impossible.


1. Copy your common pagination settings into your custom configuration file contained within application/config/ directory. If you don’t already have a custom configuration file, create and auto-load it. Assign the array to a single configuration item named pagination:

2. Access these common settings within your Controller by calling your new custom configuration item. Use a foreach to loop through the pagination settings array:

One advantage of this method is that you can individually over-ride any specific setting by simply assigning it to the $config array anytime after your foreach loop.

3. Delete the seemingly useless pagination.php file!

2 Replies to “CodeIgniter pagination configuration file seems pointless”

  1. You can merge config by using array_merge function, like this:

    // Your settings
    $config[‘per_page’] = 3;

    // Add common settings
    $config = array_merge($this->config->item(‘pagination’), $config,);

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