Skip to main content

PHP and UTF8 encoding issues - Tips and tricks to resolve

Typically, having the proper character encoding on a page can be a bit of a pain, even if you have the right meta-tag. Here are some tips on how to ease the issue.

  1. Add the following to the top of your php page:
    ini_set('default_charset', 'UTF-8');
    header('content-type: text/html; charset: utf-8');
  2. Be sure that your databases in tables in mysql have a utf-8 correlation. This can be changed in phpMyAdmin under the options tab.
  3. Make sure your MySQL query declares UTF-8
    //currently: PDO
    $conn_info = 'mysql:host=localhost; dbname=test; charset=UTF8';
    $dbh = new PDO($conn_info, $db_user, $db_password);
    //Before 5.3.6: PDO
    $db = new PDO($con, $db_user, $db_password);
    $db->exec('set names utf8');
    //not recommended!
    if ($db = @mysql_connect($host, $username, $password)) {
    		mysql_select_db($databasename, $db);
    		mysql_query('SET NAMES utf8');
            //code here
  4. Make sure the php file is in UTF-8, not ASCII: Text editors such as sublime, can convert the page to UTF-8 for you, as post editors (and IDE's) may actually use ASCII. To convert the file to UTF-8 in sublime Text, go to file > Save with encoding > UTF-8. Its recommended that PDO databases access is used. Check out this Tuts+ Article: Why You Should Be Using PHP's PDO for Database Access for more information
  5. Be sure yor web view uses the UTF meta encoding tag as well:
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
  6. Lastly, be sure to check your code editor's settings to make sure you are viewing it in UTF-8 encoding.