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What is $_REQUEST in php

$_REQUEST is a superglobal array in PHP that contains data from various sources: $_GET, $_POST, and $_COOKIE. It allows you to access form data sent via both GET and POST methods, as well as cookie data, in a single associative array.

Details and Usage

  • GET Data: Data sent via the URL query string (e.g., example.com/page.php?name=John).
  • POST Data: Data sent via the HTTP POST method, typically from a form submission.
  • Cookie Data: Data stored on the user’s computer and sent with HTTP requests.

When you use $_REQUEST, PHP will automatically merge the contents of $_GET, $_POST, and $_COOKIE arrays, giving precedence to $_POST data over $_GET and $_COOKIE.


Here’s a basic example demonstrating the usage of $_REQUEST:

$name = $_REQUEST[‘name’]; // Will capture ‘name’ from POST, GET, or COOKIE
echo “Hello, ” . htmlspecialchars($name) . “!”;

<form method=”post” action=””>
Name: <input type=”text” name=”name”>
<input type=”submit”>

In this example:

  • When the form is submitted, the data from the input field with the name “name” will be available in the $_REQUEST array.
  • The htmlspecialchars function is used to prevent XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) attacks by converting special characters to HTML entities.

Security Considerations

While $_REQUEST can be convenient, using it might not always be the best practice due to potential security and clarity issues:

  • Ambiguity: It can be unclear whether data came from a GET, POST, or COOKIE, making debugging harder.
  • Security: If you only expect data from one source (e.g., POST), using $_REQUEST can introduce vulnerabilities. Always validate and sanitize input data appropriately.

Best Practices

  • Prefer $_GET, $_POST, and $_COOKIE for accessing specific types of data.
  • Always validate and sanitize input to prevent security vulnerabilities.

Using $_REQUEST can be convenient in certain situations, but understanding its behavior and potential pitfalls is crucial for writing secure and maintainable PHP code.

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