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PHP explode()

Reading time 1 min
Published Aug 14, 2017
Updated Oct 10, 2019

PHP explode: Main Tips

  • PHP explode function is used to get an array of strings from a single string.
  • Using explode() in PHP is completely binary-safe.
  • It was introduced in PHP4 with the limit parameter, though negative limits weren't allowed until PHP 5.1.
Theory is great, but we recommend digging deeper!

Syntax: Parameters Explained

The correct PHP explode function syntax is displayed below:


Let's figure out what each parameter represents when using PHP explode function:

Parameter Description
separator Needed. Defines the place where should PHP explode string. Cannot be an empty string!
string Needed. Specifies the exact string to split.
limit Optional. Defines the number of elements in an array to return after:
> 0 - Returns the array including a max of limit element(s)
< 0 - Returns the array except for the last -limit elements()
0 - Returns an array with one element

Usage: Code Examples

Look at the example below. It shows different outcomes that can be achieved using limit parameter with PHP explode function:

  $string = 'first,second,third,fourth';

  // limit - zero
  print_r(explode(',', $string, 0));

  // limit - positive
  print_r(explode(',', $string, 2));

  // limit  - negative
  print_r(explode(',', $string, -1));

In this next example, comma is used as a separator. See how that turns out:

  $string = "This is example, with, commas!";
  print_r (explode(",", $string));