2023's Top Interview Questions for PHP Developers - IQCode

Overview of PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor

PHP, an open-source server-side scripting language, is widely used for creating dynamic websites and mobile APIs. It supports various databases such as MySQL, Solid, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, and generic ODBC. The PHP code is embedded within HTML to manage dynamic content, session tracking, databases, and e-commerce sites. Most web hosting servers support PHP, making it cost-effective.

Scope of PHP

PHP holds a prominent position in the industry, as it can produce substantial results with minimal code. As a result, businesses are investing a considerable amount of money to hire proficient PHP developers who can work efficiently in this field. In this article, we'll go over some common PHP interview questions that are frequently asked for both experienced and fresher candidates.

PHP Interview Questions for Freshers

1. How do variables differ from constants in PHP?

In PHP, variables are used to store values that can be changed throughout the program's execution. In contrast, constants are used to store the values that cannot be altered during the execution of a program. The "define()" function is used to define constants in PHP.

Understanding Sessions in PHP

// Start a session session_start();

// Set session variables $_SESSION['username'] = 'JohnDoe'; $_SESSION['loggedIn'] = true;

// Access session variables $loggedIn = $_SESSION['loggedIn']; $username = $_SESSION['username'];

// End session session_destroy();

In PHP, a session is a way to store information about a user across multiple requests. When a session is started, a unique session ID is assigned to the user, which is then stored in a cookie on the user's computer. This cookie is sent back to the server with each subsequent request, allowing the server to access the session variables.

To start a session in PHP, you simply need to call the session_start() function at the beginning of your script. You can then set session variables using the $_SESSION[] superglobal array.

Once you've set session variables, you can access them on any page that has access to the same session ID by using the $_SESSION[] array again.

Finally, when the user logs out or the session expires, you can destroy the session by calling the session_destroy() function.

What Does PEAR Stand For?

PEAR is an acronym which stands for "PHP Extension and Application Repository".

Explanation of $message and $$message in PHP

In PHP, a variable is a placeholder for a value that can change during program execution. The $ symbol is used to declare a variable.

- $message is a simple variable that stores a value. - $$message is a variable variable. It takes the value of a variable and treats that as the name of a variable.


$message = "hello";
$$message = "world";
echo $hello;  // Output: world

So, in the above example, $$message refers to the variable whose name is stored in $message (i.e. $hello) and stores the value "world" in it.

Is PHP a Case-Sensitive Language?

In PHP, variable names, function names, and keywords are all case-sensitive. This means that $variable and $VARIABLE are two different variables in PHP. Similarly, the function name myFunction() is not the same as MyFunction(). However, it is worth noting that the values assigned to variables are not case-sensitive. For example, $myVar and $MYVAR would hold the same value if assigned with the same value.

Types of Variables in PHP

In PHP, there are four different types of variables:

  • Integer: Used to represent whole numbers, both positive and negative.
  • Float: Used to represent decimal numbers.
  • String: Used to represent a sequence of characters.
  • Boolean: Used to represent true/false values.

Additionally, PHP also has two special types of variables:

  • Array: Used to store multiple values in a single variable.
  • Object: Used to create and store complex data structures.

It's important to use the appropriate type of variable for the data you are trying to represent in order to ensure proper functionality and avoid errors.

Rules for Naming a PHP Variable

In PHP, variables are declared using the $ sign, followed by the variable name. Here are some rules to follow when naming a PHP variable:

1. Variable names must start with a letter or an underscore. 2. Variable names can only contain letters, numbers, and underscores. 3. Variable names are case-sensitive, meaning that $myVar is different from $MyVar or $MYVAR. 4. Variable names should be descriptive and should reflect the purpose of the variable. 5. Avoid using reserved keywords, such as echo, if, while, etc. as variable names.

Example of a valid variable name: $firstName

Example of an invalid variable name: $2ndName

Difference between "echo" and "print" in PHP

In PHP, both "echo" and "print" are used to output strings to the browser. However, there are some differences between them:

1. "echo" is faster than "print" because it doesn't return a value, while "print" returns a value of 1.

2. "echo" can output multiple values separated by commas, while "print" can only output one value.

3. "print" can be used as part of an expression, unlike "echo".

Here are some examples of how to use "echo" and "print" in PHP:

  // Using echo
  echo "Hello, world!"; // Output: Hello, world!
  echo "The answer is: ", 42; // Output: The answer is: 42

  // Using print
  print "Hello, world!"; // Output: Hello, world!
  $result = print "The answer is: " . 42; // Output: The answer is: 42
  echo $result; // Output: 1

In general, it is recommended to use "echo" for simple output and "print" only when you need to use its return value as part of an expression.

Some Drawbacks of PHP

PHP has a number of disadvantages, some of which are:

1. Security vulnerabilities due to the open-source nature of the language.

2. Poor error handling and debugging capabilities in comparison to other programming languages.

3. Limited scalability and less efficient memory usage compared to other languages such as C++ and Java.

4. Low performance when dealing with heavy computational tasks.

5. The syntax and structure of PHP can be confusing and difficult to understand for beginners.

6. Limited support for functional programming techniques compared to other programming languages like Python or JavaScript.

7. The standard library lacks certain important features that are present in other languages.

It is important to consider these drawbacks when deciding which programming language to use for a project.

How PHP and HTML can interact?

PHP is often used in conjunction with HTML to create dynamic web pages. The PHP code is embedded within the HTML code. When a user visits a web page that includes PHP code, the PHP code is executed on the server and the HTML output is sent to the user's web browser.

One way PHP and HTML can interact is through embedding PHP code within HTML tags. For example, to display the current date on a webpage, the following PHP code could be added within an HTML paragraph tag:

<p>Today's date is <?php echo date("m/d/Y"); ?></p>

The PHP code within the

 <?php ?>

tags would execute on the server and output the current date in the specified format within the HTML paragraph tag.

Another way PHP and HTML can interact is through HTML forms. HTML forms can be used to collect data from users, which can then be processed by PHP scripts. The PHP code can receive the data submitted through the HTML form and perform actions with it, such as storing it in a database or sending an email.

Overall, PHP and HTML can interact in many ways to create dynamic and interactive web pages.

Purpose of "@" symbol in PHP

In PHP, the "@" symbol is used before a statement to suppress any error messages that the statement could generate. It turns off error reporting for that specific statement, allowing any errors to be handled differently or ignored completely. This can be useful in cases where an error message might be displayed to the user, revealing sensitive information or causing confusion. However, it is generally not recommended to rely on the "@" symbol for error handling, as it can lead to overlooked errors and make debugging more difficult.

The Significance of Parser in PHP

In PHP, a parser is a program that is essential in reading and interpreting the code written in the language. It is crucial since it decodes the PHP language, which is typically written in a plain text format, into a format that the computer can understand and execute.

The parser helps in identifying and detecting errors in the code, such as syntax errors, compilation issues, and other forms of bugs that may be present. Without a parser, it would be difficult for PHP developers to debug their code and resolve issues that may arise during development.

Additionally, a parser plays a significant role in ensuring that PHP code adheres to the rules and standards set by the language, making it easier to maintain and develop scalable applications. It helps developers write more efficient and robust code by providing a clear structure for the language and a set of rules to follow in its usage.

In summary, the parser is a fundamental component of the PHP language and acts as a translator between the developer and the computer, making it possible to write code that not only works but is also maintainable and scalable.

Different Types of Array in PHP

In PHP, there are three types of arrays:

1. Indexed arrays - these arrays use numeric keys and can be accessed using a loop or a specific index value.


$fruits = array("Apple", "Banana", "Mango");

2. Associative arrays - these arrays use named keys or strings as an index to access the values.


$ages = array("Peter" => "35", "John" => "28", "Mary" => "21");

3. Multidimensional arrays - these arrays hold other arrays as their elements. In other words, they are arrays of arrays.


$cars = array( array("Toyota", 2015, "green"),
              array("BMW", 2017, "blue"),
              array("Honda", 2018, "red")

By knowing the different types of arrays and their usage, you can easily create complex data structures in your PHP programs.

Explaining the Main Types of Errors

In programming, errors are commonly referred to as bugs. Bugs can be divided into three main types:

1. Syntax Errors: Syntax errors refer to the mistakes made in the program's syntax. These errors cause the program to either fail to compile or interpret the code. Syntax errors are also known as parsing errors, and they're typically easy to spot because they generate error messages as soon as you compile or run your code.

2. Runtime Errors: Runtime errors occur during the execution of the program. These errors are not recognized by the compiler, and they occur only when the program is running. Runtime errors are also known as exceptions or bugs, and they're particularly tricky because they can occur at any time during the program execution.

3. Logical Errors: Logical errors are the hardest to detect and fix. These errors occur when the program is structurally sound but produces an unintended result. Logical errors are also known as bugs or defects, and they can be caused by a variety of factors such as incorrect calculations, improper use of algorithms, or flawed logic in the program. These errors often require debugging and rigorous testing to be detected and rectified.

Can JavaScript interact with PHP?

Yes, JavaScript can interact with PHP. However, they are different languages that run on different environments. JavaScript runs on the clientside (using a web browser) while PHP runs on the serverside.

One way JavaScript can interact with PHP is by making AJAX calls to a PHP file on the server and receiving the data in JSON format. This can be useful for dynamic web applications where data needs to be updated without refreshing the entire page.

Another way they can interact is by passing data between them using cookies or sessions.

Overall, JavaScript and PHP can work together to create dynamic and powerful web applications.

Explaining the 'foreach' Loop in PHP

In PHP, 'foreach' is a loop that is used to iterate over an array or an object. It works by picking each element of an array or property of an object and then executing a block of code for each iteration.

Here's the basic syntax for using the 'foreach' loop in PHP:

foreach ($arrayOrObject as $value) { //code to be executed }

In the above code, $arrayOrObject is the array or object over which we want to iterate, and $value is each value or property obtained from the array or object in each iteration.

It is also possible to obtain both the key and the value of an array or object in each iteration of the loop, by using the following syntax:

foreach ($arrayOrObject as $key => $value) { //code to be executed }

In the above code, $key represents the key of each element in the array or object, while $value represents its corresponding value.

The 'foreach' loop continues until it has iterated over every item in the array or object. It is a very useful loop construct in PHP, making it easy to perform various tasks involving arrays or objects.

The most commonly used method for hashing passwords in PHP?

In PHP, the most widely used method for hashing passwords is the


function. It uses a strong one-way hashing algorithm to securely encrypt the password, making it difficult to decipher. It also automatically generates a unique salt for each password, which adds an extra layer of security. To verify a password, the


function is used, which compares the password entered by the user with the stored hashed password.

Difference between include() and require() functions in PHP

The include() and require() functions are used to include and integrate code from other files in PHP. The main difference between them is how they handle errors:

  • include() function produces a warning and continues to execute the script if the specified file is not found
  • require() function produces a fatal error and stops the execution of the script if the specified file is not found

Therefore, using require() is more strict and secure, as it ensures that the required file is present and fully functional before the script continues to execute.

  // Example Use Case of require() function
  // Example Use Case of include() function

Introduction to Cookies in PHP

In web development, cookies are small pieces of data stored by the web browser on the user's computer. They contain information about the user and the website that created them. Cookies can be used to save user preferences, login information, and other types of data.

In PHP, you can create and use cookies using the built-in functions. Here's an example of how to create a cookie:

$name = "user"; $value = "John Doe"; setcookie($name, $value, time() + (86400 * 30), "/");

In this example, we're creating a cookie named "user" with the value "John Doe". The cookie expires after 30 days (86400 seconds * 30) and is available to all pages in the root directory of the website ("/").

Once a cookie has been created, you can access it using the $_COOKIE superglobal variable. For example:

if(isset($_COOKIE[$name])) { echo "Welcome back, " . $_COOKIE[$name] . "!"; } else { echo "Nice to meet you!"; }

In this example, we're checking if the "user" cookie exists and displaying a personalized message depending on whether or not it exists.

Difference between ASP.NET and PHP

When it comes to web development, ASP.NET and PHP are two popular programming languages. The main difference between the two is that ASP.NET is a Microsoft technology whereas PHP is open source. ASP.NET works best with Microsoft servers and technologies, while PHP can run on any platform that supports its interpreter. ASP.NET uses C# and VB.NET as its programming languages, while PHP uses its own language. Additionally, ASP.NET provides a more structured development environment while PHP allows for more flexibility. Ultimately, the choice between ASP.NET and PHP depends on the specific needs and preferences of a project.

Understanding the Meaning of 'Escaping to PHP'

Escaping to PHP refers to the process of inserting PHP code into an HTML document. This involves using PHP tags () to enclose the PHP code that will be executed on the server before the document is sent to the client's browser. The purpose of this is to enable dynamic content creation, where the server can modify the output based on various factors such as user input or data retrieved from a database. It is important to properly escape and sanitize any user input to avoid security vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.

Explanation of Path Traversal Vulnerability

Path traversal refers to a type of vulnerability where an attacker exploits the insufficient input validation in a web application to navigate to files or directories outside of the application's root directory. This can enable the attacker to access sensitive files on the server, such as configuration files or user data.

For example, suppose a web application accepts user input to specify the path of a file to be opened and read by the application. If the application fails to properly validate the user input, an attacker can enter a specially crafted input that contains "../" directory traversal sequences to navigate to files outside of the expected directory.

To prevent path traversal attacks, it's important to validate all user input that specifies file or directory paths. Input validation should ensure that the path is within the expected directory and that it doesn't contain any directory traversal sequences. Additionally, it's recommended to use a secure development framework or library that includes built-in protection against path traversal attacks.

Meaning of a Final Method and a Final Class

In Java, a final method is a method that cannot be overridden by any subclasses. Once a final method is declared in a class, it becomes a part of the class's interface and cannot be changed. This is useful when the behavior of a method should not be modified or extended by any subclasses.

A final class, on the other hand, is a class that cannot be extended by any subclasses. This is useful when a class should be prevented from being subclassed, either because it is complete on its own or because its design does not allow for extension. When a class is declared as final, all of its methods are implicitly final as well.

Steps to create a new database using MySQL and PHP

To create a new database using MySQL and PHP, follow these steps:

  1. Establish a connection to the MySQL server using PHP's mysqli or PDO extension.
  2. Create a new database by executing the CREATE DATABASE statement. For example:
    CREATE DATABASE mydatabase;
  3. Close the connection to the MySQL server.

Here's an example code snippet to create a new database using mysqli:

// Establish a connection to the MySQL server
$host = 'localhost';
$user = 'username';
$password = 'password';
$conn = mysqli_connect($host, $user, $password);

// Check for connection error
if (!$conn) {
    die('Connection failed: ' . mysqli_connect_error());

// Create a new database
$sql = 'CREATE DATABASE mydatabase;';
if (mysqli_query($conn, $sql)) {
    echo 'Database created successfully';
} else {
    echo 'Error creating database: ' . mysqli_error($conn);

// Close the connection

Explanation of session_start() and session_destroy() functions in PHP

In PHP, the session_start() function starts a new or resumes an existing session. This function must be called before any output is sent to the browser, as it sets HTTP headers necessary for session tracking. Once the session is started, you can store and retrieve variables through the $_SESSION superglobal array.

On the other hand, the session_destroy() function terminates the current session and removes all session data. It does not unset the session variables, so if you want to clear them as well, you need to use the $_SESSION superglobal array and unset each variable individually.

These session functions are commonly used in web applications to keep track of user activity and login status, as well as to store user-specific data across multiple pages.

Understanding Memcache and Memcached in PHP

Memcache and Memcached are caching systems that can be used in PHP. They store data in memory to reduce the time it takes to retrieve information from a database or file system. Memcached is an improved version of Memcache with more features and better performance.

It is possible to share a single instance of a Memcache between several PHP projects. This is useful if you have multiple projects that need to access the same data, or if you want to make sure that the data is consistent across all projects. To achieve this, you can create a Memcache object in a separate PHP file and include it in each project that needs to use it. This way, all projects will be using the same instance of Memcache.

Different Methods to Handle MySQL Result Set in PHP

When executing MySQL queries in PHP, there are a few different methods to handle the results returned by the database. Some of these methods include:

- Using MySQLi Object-Oriented interface (mysqli) - Using MySQLi Procedural interface (mysqli_query) - Using PDO (PHP Data Objects)

Each of these methods has their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the specific use case and coding style. It's important to choose the right method that suits your requirements and coding standards.

Connecting to a URL in PHP

To connect to a URL in PHP, we can use the built-in function "file_get_contents()". This function reads the entire contents of a file or URL into a string variable. Here is an example:

$url = "https://www.example.com"; <br>
$data = file_get_contents($url); <br>
echo $data;

In this example, we have stored the URL in a variable called "$url". We then use the "file_get_contents()" function to read the contents of the URL into a variable called "$data". We can then echo out the contents of "$data" to display the contents of the URL in the browser.

Creating an API in PHP

To create an API in PHP, you can follow these steps:

1. Define the endpoints - endpoints are the URLs that the API will use to receive requests and send responses.

2. Write the code - for each endpoint, you will need to write code that retrieves the necessary data from the database or other sources, processes it, and formats it into a response that can be sent back to the client.

3. Choose a data format - you will need to choose a data format for the responses your API will send. Popular options include JSON and XML.

4. Handle errors - your API should be able to handle errors, validate input data, and return error messages to the client if necessary.

5. Secure your API - you will need to secure your API to prevent unauthorized access and ensure data privacy. This can be achieved through various means such as using SSL/TLS encryption, requiring authentication, and using access control mechanisms.

6. Test your API - before making your API available to clients, you should test it thoroughly to ensure it works correctly and handles errors properly.

Examples of popular PHP frameworks that can help you create APIs quickly and efficiently include Laravel, Symfony, and Slim.

What is PDO in PHP?

PDO stands for PHP Data Objects. It is a PHP extension that provides a consistent interface for accessing databases in PHP. PDO is a way to interact with databases in a more secure and efficient way. It supports various database systems such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQLite, and more. With PDO, you can write reusable and portable code that can easily be migrated across different databases. It also provides advanced features like prepared statements, transactions, error handling, and more. Overall, PDO is a powerful tool for working with databases in PHP.

Difference Between GET and POST Requests

In HTTP protocol, GET and POST requests are two different methods used to send data from client to server.

GET Request:

  • Used to request data from the server
  • Data is sent as query parameters in the URL
  • Restriction on data size (maximum URL limit)
  • Data is visible in URL (not secure for sensitive information)
  • Caching is possible

POST Request:

  • Used to send data to the server
  • Data is sent in the request body
  • No restriction on data size
  • Data is not visible in URL (more secure for sensitive information)
  • Caching is not possible

In summary, GET requests are mainly used to retrieve data, while POST requests are used to submit or update data. The choice between them mainly depends on the nature and size of the data being transmitted and the level of security required.

Understanding Type Hinting in PHP

Type hinting in PHP is a feature that allows developers to specify the data type of a function's parameters and its return value. It enables developers to declare the type of data that a function should accept or return, making code more readable, predictable and secure.

Here is an example of how type hinting works:

function calculate(int $num1, int $num2) : int {
    return $num1 + $num2;

In the example above, the "int" before each parameter name indicates that the function expects integer values for those parameters. The ": int" before the function name specifies that the function returns an integer value.

Type hinting is particularly useful when working with objects. Here's an example:

function printData(User $user) {
    echo $user->name;
    echo $user->age;

$user1 = new User('John', 30);

Here, we've specified that the "printData" function requires a User object as its parameter. This makes it clear to anyone reading the code that a User object is required to use this function.

In summary, type hinting is a powerful feature of PHP that allows developers to specify what types of data their functions should accept and return. Using type hinting can make code more readable, predictable and secure, and is particularly useful when working with objects.

Terminating execution of a PHP script

To terminate the execution of a PHP script, you can use the




functions. These functions can be used at any point in the script and will immediately stop the execution of the script.

The syntax for using






You can also use these functions to display a message to the user before terminating the script. For example:

die("Sorry, something went wrong.");

This will display the message "Sorry, something went wrong." to the user and terminate the script.

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