Array in PHP

Array in PHP

Arrays in PHP is a type of data structure that allows us to store multiple elements of similar data type under a single variable thereby saving us the effort of creating a different variable for every data.

A PHP array is a variable that stores more than one piece of related data in a single variable.

Think of an array as a box of chocolates with slots inside.

The box represents the array itself while the spaces containing chocolates represent the values stored in the arrays.

The diagram below illustrates the above syntax.

Numeric Arrays

Numeric arrays use number as access keys.

An access key is a reference to a memory slot in an array variable.

The access key is used whenever we want to read or assign a new value an array element.

Below is the syntax for creating numeric array in php. Array Example

$variable_name[n] = value;


$variable_name = array(n => value, …);


  • “$variable_name…” is the name of the variable
  • “[n]” is the access index number of the element
  • “value” is the value assigned to the array element.

Let’s now look at an example of a numeric array.

Suppose we have 5 movies that we want to store in array variables.

We can use the example shown below to do that.


$movie[0] = 'Shaolin Monk'; $movie[1] = 'Drunken Master'; $movie[2] = 'American Ninja'; $movie[3] = 'Once upon a time in China'; $movie[4] = 'Replacement Killers';



Each movie is given an index number that is used to retrieve or modify its value. Observe the following code-

$movie[0]="Shaolin Monk";
$movie[1]="Drunken Master";
$movie[2]="American Ninja";
$movie[3]="Once upon a time in China";
$movie[4]="Replacement Killers";
echo $movie[3];
$movie[3] = " Eastern Condors";
echo $movie[3];


Once upon a time in China Eastern Condors

As you can see from the above examples, working with arrays in PHP when dealing with multiple values of the same nature is very easy and flexible.

Alternatively, the above array variables can also be created using the following code.

$movie = array(0 => "Shaolin Monk",
               1 => "Drunken Master",
               2 => "American Ninja",
               3 => "Once upon a time in China",
               4 =>"Replacement Killers" );
echo $movie[4];


Replacement Killers

PHP Associative Array

Associative array differ from numeric array in the sense that associative arrays use descriptive names for id keys.

Below is the syntax for creating associative array in php.

$variable_name['key_name'] = value;

$variable_name = array('keyname' => value); ?>


  • “$variable_name…” is the name of the variable
  • “['key_name']” is the access index number of the element
  • “value” is the value assigned to the array element.

 Let’s suppose that we have a group of persons, and we want to assign the gender of each person against their names.

We can use an associative array to do that.The code below helps us to do that.

$persons = array("Mary" => "Female", "John" => "Male", "Mirriam" => "Female");
echo ""; 
echo "Mary is a " . $persons["Mary"];



Array ( [Mary] => Female [John] => Male [Mirriam] => Female ) Mary is a Female

Associative array are also very useful when retrieving data from the database.

The field names are used as id keys. 

PHP Multi-dimensional arrays

These are arrays that contain other nested arrays.

The advantage of multidimensional arrays is that they allow us to group related data together.

Let’s now look at a practical example that implements a php multidimensional array.

The table below shows a list of movies by category.

The above information can be represented as a multidimensional array. The code below shows the implementation.

$movies =array(
"comedy" => array("Pink Panther", "John English", "See no evil hear no evil"),
"action" => array("Die Hard", "Expendables"),
"epic" => array("The Lord of the rings"),
"Romance" => array("Romeo and Juliet")



Array ( [comedy] => Array ( [0] => Pink Panther [1] => John English [2] => See no evil hear no evil ) [action] => Array ( [0] => Die Hard [1] => Expendables ) [epic] => Array ( [0] => The Lord of the rings ) [Romance] => Array ( [0] => Romeo and Juliet ) )

Another way to define the same array is as follows


                "comedy" => array(

                                0 => "Pink Panther",

                                1 => "john English",

                                2 => "See no evil hear no evil"


                "action" => array (

                                0 => "Die Hard",

                                1 => "Expendables"


                "epic" => array (

                                0 => "The Lord of the rings"


                "Romance" => array


                                0 => "Romeo and Juliet"


); echo $film["comedy"][0]; ?>


Pink Panther

 Note: the movies numeric array has been nested inside the categories associative array 

PHP Arrays: Operators

PHP Array Functions

Count function

The count function is used to count the number of elements that an php array contains. The code below shows the implementation.

$lecturers = array("Mr. Jones", "Mr. Banda", "Mrs. Smith");
echo count($lecturers);



is_array function

The is_array function is used to determine if a variable is an array or not. Let’s now look at an example that implements the is_array functions.

$lecturers = array("Mr. Jones", "Mr. Banda", "Mrs. Smith");
echo is_array($lecturers);




This function is used to sort arrays by the values.

If the values are alphanumeric, it sorts them in alphabetical order.

If the values are numeric, it sorts them in ascending order.

It removes the existing access keys and add new numeric keys.

The output of this function is a numeric array

$persons = array("Mary" => "Female", "John" => "Male", "Mirriam" => "Female");


print_r($persons); ?>


Array ( [0] => Female [1] => Female [2] => Male )


This function is used to sort the array using the key. The following example illustrates its usage.

$persons = array("Mary" => "Female", "John" => "Male", "Mirriam" => "Female");


print_r($persons); ?>


Array ( [John] => Male [Mary] => Female [Mirriam] => Female )


This function is used to sort the array using the values. The following example illustrates its usage.


$persons = array("Mary" => "Female", "John" => "Male", "Mirriam" => "Female");





Array ( [Mary] => Female [Mirriam] => Female [John] => Male )

Why use arrays?

  • Contents of Arrays can be stretched,
  • Arrays easily help group related information such as server login details together
  • Arrays help write cleaner code.


  • Arrays are special variables with the capacity to store multi values.
  • Arrays are flexibility and can be easily stretched to accommodate more values
  • Numeric arrays use numbers for the array keys
  • PHP Associative array use descriptive names for array keys
  • Multidimensional arrays contain other arrays inside them.
  • The count function is used to get the number of items that have been stored in an array
  • The is_array function is used to determine whether a variable is a valid array or not.
  • Other array functions include sort, ksort, assort etc.

Thanks For Visiting, Keep Visiting

Further reading

☞ PHP for Beginners - Become a PHP Master - CMS Project

☞ Learn Object Oriented PHP By Building a Complete Website

☞ MEVP Stack Vue JS 2 Course: MySQL + Express.js + Vue.js +PHP

☞ Object Oriented PHP & MVC

☞ PHP OOP: Object Oriented Programming for beginners + Project

☞ Learn PHP Fundamentals From Scratch

☞ The Complete PHP MySQL Professional Course with 5 Projects

☞ The Complete JavaScript Course 2019: Build Real Projects!

This post was originally published here

php web-development

What's new in Bootstrap 5 and when Bootstrap 5 release date?

How to Build Progressive Web Apps (PWA) using Angular 9

What is new features in Javascript ES2020 ECMAScript 2020

Deno Crash Course: Explore Deno and Create a full REST API with Deno

How to Build a Real-time Chat App with Deno and WebSockets

Convert HTML to Markdown Online

HTML entity encoder decoder Online

Random Password Generator Online

HTML Color Picker online | HEX Color Picker | RGB Color Picker

PHP Web Application Development Company

As a top **PHP Web Application Development Company in USA**[]( ""), we at Data EximIT have...

PHP Website Development

Skenix Infotech is a leading PHP Web Development Company that helps companies get results with industry best practices. Get affordable PHP Development Services.

Hire Dedicated PHP Developer

Looking to hire affordable yet experienced PHP developers? **[Hire Dedicated PHP Developer]( "Hire Dedicated PHP Developer")**, who can convert your idea to reality, within the stipulated...

Advantages of Hiring PHP Developer for your Website Project

PHP - Hypertext pre-processor, a scripting language used by many people in developing web pages, but most of us are unaware even of the full form. To train someone and make them learn this whole language is as difficult and time-consuming as it is...

Hire PHP Developer and Web Developer for your Online Business

PHP is widely used open-source scripting language it helps in making dynamically easy your websites and web application. Mobiweb Technology is your best technical partner and offering you solution for any kind of website and application...