PHP output garbled


Answers ( 1 )


    It's a common issue faced in PHP development related to character encoding problems.

    Here's a detailed explanation and solutions:


    Garbled output in PHP often occurs when there's a mismatch in character encoding between the database, the PHP script, and the web page. PHP might be fetching data in one encoding (like UTF-8) and the web page might be interpreting it in another (like ISO-8859-1).


    1. Set UTF-8 Encoding in PHP Script: Ensure your PHP script is encoded in UTF-8 without BOM (Byte Order Mark). Use a text editor like Notepad++ or Sublime Text to save your PHP files in UTF-8 encoding.

      header('Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8');
    2. Database Connection Encoding: If you're fetching data from a database, ensure the connection is set to use UTF-8 encoding. For MySQL, use:

      $connection = new mysqli($host, $user, $password, $database);
    3. HTML Meta Tag: In your HTML, specify UTF-8 as the charset in the <head> section:

      <meta charset="UTF-8">
    4. PHP.ini Configuration: Check your PHP configuration file (php.ini) for the default charset and set it to UTF-8 if it's not already.

      default_charset = "UTF-8"
    5. File Encoding: Ensure that the text files you read in your PHP script are saved in UTF-8 encoding, especially if they contain special characters.

    6. Database Table and Column Encoding: Make sure your database tables and columns are set to use UTF-8 encoding. In MySQL, you can check this using the SHOW CREATE TABLE tablename command.

    Additional Tips:

    • Consistency is key. Make sure all parts of your system (PHP, HTML, Database) use the same encoding.
    • Sometimes, the issue might be with the tool or editor you use to view the output. Ensure it supports UTF-8.
    • If you're still facing issues, check the specific PHP functions you're using for string manipulation or database interaction. They might have encoding-specific behaviors.

    Example Code:

    Here's an example of setting up a UTF-8 encoded PHP script to fetch data from a MySQL database:

    header('Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8');
    $host = 'localhost';
    $user = 'username';
    $password = 'password';
    $database = 'database_name';
    $connection = new mysqli($host, $user, $password, $database);
    if ($connection->connect_error) {
        die("Connection failed: " . $connection->connect_error);
    $sql = "SELECT * FROM your_table";
    $result = $connection->query($sql);
    if ($result->num_rows > 0) {
        while($row = $result->fetch_assoc()) {
            echo $row["your_column"]. "<br>";
    } else {
        echo "0 results";

    This code sets the correct UTF-8 encoding for the HTML output, establishes a connection with the database with UTF-8 encoding, and fetches data from the database.

Leave an answer