PHP Character Encoding Requirements

Encodings of the following types are safely used with PHP.

  • A singlebyte encoding,

    • which has ASCII-compatible (ISO646 compatible) mappings for the characters in range of 00h to 7fh.

  • A multibyte encoding,

    • which has ASCII-compatible mappings for the characters in range of 00h to 7fh.
    • which don't use ISO2022 escape sequences.
    • which don't use a value from 00h to 7fh in any of the compounded bytes that represents a single character.

These are examples of character encodings that are unlikely to work with PHP.


Although PHP scripts written in any of those encodings might not work, especially in the case where encoded strings appear as identifiers or literals in the script, you can almost avoid using these encodings by setting up the mbstring's transparent encoding filter function for incoming HTTP queries.


It's highly discouraged to use SJIS, BIG5, CP936, CP949 and GB18030 for the internal encoding unless you are familiar with the parser, the scanner and the character encoding.


If you are connecting to a database with PHP, it is recommended that you use the same character encoding for both the database and the internal encoding for ease of use and better performance.

If you are using PostgreSQL, the character encoding used in the database and the one used in PHP may differ as it supports automatic character set conversion between the backend and the frontend.

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