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MySQL PHP API  /  ...  /  mysql_real_escape_string

5.5.41 mysql_real_escape_string

Copyright 1997-2014 the PHP Documentation Group.

  • mysql_real_escape_string

    Escapes special characters in a string for use in an SQL statement


This extension was deprecated in PHP 5.5.0, and it was removed in PHP 7.0.0. Instead, the MySQLi or PDO_MySQL extension should be used. See also MySQL: choosing an API guide and related FAQ for more information. Alternatives to this function include:



string mysql_real_escape_string(string unescaped_string,
resource link_identifier= =NULL);

Escapes special characters in the unescaped_string, taking into account the current character set of the connection so that it is safe to place it in a mysql_query. If binary data is to be inserted, this function must be used.

mysql_real_escape_string calls MySQL's library function mysql_real_escape_string, which prepends backslashes to the following characters: \x00, \n, \r, \, ', " and \x1a.

This function must always (with few exceptions) be used to make data safe before sending a query to MySQL.

Security: the default character set

The character set must be set either at the server level, or with the API function mysql_set_charset for it to affect mysql_real_escape_string. See the concepts section on character sets for more information.



The string that is to be escaped.


The MySQL connection. If the link identifier is not specified, the last link opened by mysql_connect is assumed. If no such link is found, it will try to create one as if mysql_connect was called with no arguments. If no connection is found or established, an E_WARNING level error is generated.

Return Values

Returns the escaped string, or FALSE on error.


Executing this function without a MySQL connection present will also emit E_WARNING level PHP errors. Only execute this function with a valid MySQL connection present.


Example 5.48 Simple mysql_real_escape_string example

// Connect
$link = mysql_connect('mysql_host', 'mysql_user', 'mysql_password')
    OR die(mysql_error());

// Query
$query = sprintf("SELECT * FROM users WHERE user='%s' AND password='%s'",

Example 5.49 mysql_real_escape_string requires a connection example

This example demonstrates what happens if a MySQL connection is not present when calling this function.

// We have not connected to MySQL

$lastname  = "O'Reilly";
$_lastname = mysql_real_escape_string($lastname);

$query = "SELECT * FROM actors WHERE last_name = '$_lastname'";



The above example will output something similar to:

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /this/test/script.php on line 5
Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /this/test/script.php on line 5

string(41) "SELECT * FROM actors WHERE last_name = ''"

Example 5.50 An example SQL Injection Attack

// We didn't check $_POST['password'], it could be anything the user wanted! For example:
$_POST['username'] = 'aidan';
$_POST['password'] = "' OR ''='";

// Query database to check if there are any matching users
$query = "SELECT * FROM users WHERE user='{$_POST['username']}' AND password='{$_POST['password']}'";

// This means the query sent to MySQL would be:
echo $query;


The query sent to MySQL:

SELECT * FROM users WHERE user='aidan' AND password='' OR ''=''


This would allow anyone to log in without a valid password.



A MySQL connection is required before using mysql_real_escape_string otherwise an error of level E_WARNING is generated, and FALSE is returned. If link_identifier isn't defined, the last MySQL connection is used.


If magic_quotes_gpc is enabled, first apply stripslashes to the data. Using this function on data which has already been escaped will escape the data twice.


If this function is not used to escape data, the query is vulnerable to SQL Injection Attacks.


mysql_real_escape_string does not escape % and _. These are wildcards in MySQL if combined with LIKE, GRANT, or REVOKE.

See Also

The magic_quotes_gpc directive
The magic_quotes_runtime directive

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