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6 Useful PHP code snippets

6 Useful PHP code snippets

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Posted on February 6, 2012

Here’s a selection of really useful PHP code snippets that I find using on a weekly basis. You could use these as is or expand them as part of other applications or add them to a php class.

Adjust server time

If you have a server in a different timezone to you then you might be seeing funny things happen when you add the time to a MySQL database for example. You can fix this by adding or subtracting hours as in the example below.

$now = date('Y-m-d-G');
$now = strftime("%Y-%m-%d-%H", strtotime("$now -8 hours"));

Create a slug URL from string of text

Here we’re passing in a simple string of text converting it to lowercase and replacing all the spaces with a dash.

function create_slug(strtolower($string)){
   $slug=preg_replace('/[^a-z0-9-]+/', '-', $string);
   return $slug;

echo create_slug('Create a slug URL from string of text');

Convert HEX value to RBG

If you’ve ever need to get an RGB colour format converted from a Hexadecimal this is the function for the job.

function hextorgb($hexvalue){
        if($hexvalue[0] == '#') {
                $hexvalue = substr( $hexvalue, 1);
        if(strlen( $hexvalue ) == 6){
                list($r, $g, $b) = array($hexvalue[0] . $hexvalue[1], $hexvalue[2] . $hexvalue[3], $hexvalue[4] . $hexvalue[5]);
        }elseif (strlen($hexvalue) == 3) {
                list($r,$g,$b) = array($hexvalue[0] . $hexvalue[0], $hexvalue[1] . $hexvalue[1], $hexvalue[2] . $hexvalue[2]);
                return false;
        $r = hexdec($r);
        $g = hexdec($g);
        $b = hexdec($b);
        return array('R' => $r, 'G' => $g, 'B' => $b);

$rgb = hextorgb('#fff000');


Display a users Gravatar image

Getting users images from Gravatar is simple. If you have the users email address you just need to MD5 hash it and append it to the gravatar URL.

   $gravatar = '' . md5($email_address) . '?s=32';
   echo '<img src="' . $gravatar . '" width="32" height="32"/>';

Convert links in a string of text to hyperlinks

Very useful function which will convert a string of text and ad hyperlinks to all the URLs. We loop through each URL and add a hyperlink

function url_to_link($text){
            $reg_exUrl = "/(http|https|ftp|ftps)\:\/\/[a-zA-Z0-9\-\.]+\.[a-zA-Z]{2,3}(\/\S*)?/";
            // Check if there is a url in the string
            if (preg_match_all($reg_exUrl, $text, $url)) {
                foreach($url[0] as $v){
                    $position = strpos($text,' '.$v)+1;    
                    $text = substr_replace($text,'', $position, strlen($v));
                    $text = substr_replace($text,''.$v.'', $position ,0);
                return $text;
            else {
                // if no urls in the text just return the text
                return $text;

$string = 'This is a string of text and we have a link: we also have another link';
echo url_to_link($string);

Parse JSON in PHP

Parsing a string of JSON is easier than you may think as we can use the json_decode() function in PHP which will convert the JSON into an array in PHP which we can then manipulate as needed.

  $json ='{"id":0,"name":"Ashley","surname":"Ford","Website":""} ';

   // print  the array
   echo $array->name; 

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  • Prabakar

    useful tutorial.

  • Voyagewave

    Setting up server time is useful snippet and json decoding one too. thanks

  • sonu sindhu

    unreliable script nice work
    Thanks for many many help for this..

  • saha

    Very useful code snippets. I’ll use adjust server time code and code Display a users Gravatar image. Thanks for sharing these code snippets.

  • phphunger

    i will add these to my library…great work….

  • Brian

    Awesome post. Would be usful to see snipit #2 in JavaScript form. :)

  • rmmoul

    As always, good stuff.

    That function for finding links is going into my tool box!

  • Chris

    Nice snippets for beginners. It is worth to mention what slug function is not UTF-8 compliant, and with some characters(chinese, cyrillic, latin extended) it will skip letters.

  • Jeremy

    Thank you!! You have just made my day!! I will definetly be using at least 4 of these by the end of the day!!