Published May 23, 2022Updated Jul 17, 2023
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The explode() function takes a string and splits it on a given delimiter string. It returns an array of the substrings produced.


explode($delimiter, $string, $limit)

The explode() function takes three parameters:

  • $delimiter: a required string that specifies the characters on which $string will be split. The $delimiter has the following behaviors:

    • If $delimiter is an empty string, explode() will throw a ValueError exception.
    • If $delimiter is not found in $string and a negative $length is used, an empty array is returned.
    • If $delimiter is not found in $string and $length is positive or omitted, an array containing $string is returned.
    • If $delimiter is found at the start or end of $string, empty values for each $delimiter will be added to the beginning or end of the returned array respectively.
  • $string: a required string that will be split by the explode() function.

  • $limit: an optional int that specifies how many strings will be returned in the resulting array as follows:

    • A positive value will return up to $limit strings if more than $limit strings can be produced, splitting on $delimiter; the last element will contain the remainder of $string.
    • A $limit of 0 is treated as 1.
    • A negative $limit will omit the last n elements from the result.
    • If $limit is omitted, explode() will return as many substrings as possible.


The following example uses the explode() function to convert a string of fruits separated by ", " to an array of fruits. Then the print_r() function prints the information about the returned array to the console:

print_r (explode(", ", "apple, strawberry, orange"));

The example will result in the following output:

[0] => apple
[1] => strawberry
[2] => orange

Codebyte Example

The following shows three examples of the explode() function operating on one comma-delimited string.

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