Server Side Form Validation

Server Side Form Validation using Regular Expressions

The preg_match() function searches a string for pattern, returning true if the pattern exists, and false otherwise.

Validate Name

The code below shows a simple way to check if the name field only contains letters and whitespace. If the value of the name field is not valid, then store an error message:

$name = $_POST["name"];
if (!preg_match("/^[a-zA-Z ]*$/",$name)) {
  $nameErr = "Only letters and white space allowed";
}

Validate Email

The easiest and safest way to check whether an email address is well-formed is to use PHP’s filter_var() function.

In the code below, if the e-mail address is not well-formed, then store an error message:

$email = $_POST["email"];
if (!filter_var($email, FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL)) {
  $emailErr = "Invalid email format";
}

Validate Url

The code below shows a way to check if a URL address syntax is valid (this regular expression also allows dashes in the URL). If the URL address syntax is not valid, then store an error message:

$website = $_POST["website"];
if (!preg_match("/b(?:(?:https?|ftp)://|www.)[-a-z0-9+&@#/%?=~_|!:,.;]*[-a-z0-9+&@#/%=~_|]/i",$website)) {
  $websiteErr = "Invalid URL";
}

Validate Name, E-mail, and URL

$nameErr = $emailErr = $genderErr = $websiteErr = "";
$name = $email = $gender = $comment = $website = "";

if ($_SERVER["REQUEST_METHOD"] == "POST") {
   if (empty($_POST["name"])) {
     $nameErr = "Name is required";
   } else {
     $name = test_input($_POST["name"]);
     // check if name only contains letters and whitespace
     if (!preg_match("/^[a-zA-Z ]*$/",$name)) {
       $nameErr = "Only letters and white space allowed";
     }
   }
  
   if (empty($_POST["email"])) {
     $emailErr = "Email is required";
   } else {
     $email = test_input($_POST["email"]);
     // check if e-mail address is well-formed
     if (!filter_var($email, FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL)) {
       $emailErr = "Invalid email format";
     }
   }
    
   if (empty($_POST["website"])) {
     $website = "";
   } else {
     $website = test_input($_POST["website"]);
     // check if URL address syntax is valid (this regular expression also allows dashes in the URL)
     if (!preg_match("/b(?:(?:https?|ftp)://|www.)[-a-z0-9+&@#/%?=~_|!:,.;]*[-a-z0-9+&@#/%=~_|]/i",$website)) {
       $websiteErr = "Invalid URL";
     }
   }

   if (empty($_POST["comment"])) {
     $comment = "";
   } else {
     $comment = test_input($_POST["comment"]);
   }

   if (empty($_POST["gender"])) {
     $genderErr = "Gender is required";
   } else {
     $gender = test_input($_POST["gender"]);
   }
}

function test_input($data) {
   $data = trim($data);
   $data = stripslashes($data);
   $data = htmlspecialchars($data);
   return $data;
}

Html form

Name: <input type="text" name="name"> <span class="error">* <?php echo $nameErr;?></span>
E-mail: <input type="text" name="email"> <span class="error">* <?php echo $emailErr;?></span>
Website: <input type="text" name="website"> <span class="error"><?php echo $websiteErr;?></span>
Comment: <textarea name="comment" rows="5" cols="40"></textarea>
Gender:
<input type="radio" name="gender" value="female">Female
<input type="radio" name="gender" value="male">Male
<span class="error">* <?php echo $genderErr;?></span>
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit">

Posted in Php

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