Change the PHP Query String Variable Separator Using php.ini

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As you probably know, the default PHP query string variable separator is the "&" character. One annoyance with using the "&" character is that, in order to have valid XHTML syntax, you need to output your &'s as "&". If you'd like to avoid all of that mess, you can simply change the separating character to a semi-colon (;). Here's how:


//inside the php.ini file
arg_separator.input = ";"

//example URL:  /page.php?key1=value1;key2=value2;key3=value3

There you go -- one easy step to outputting cleaner URLs. Do any of you use this method?

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  1. Personally I set it to & which validates fine.

    and if you don’t have access to the ini file the following works:

  2. pretty useful

  3. Didnt know this one, thx ;)

  4. And how Search engines see on this trick?

  5. @wsr: Search engine sees it as the same — you wouldn’t be penalized by this.

  6. @david: Maybe, but standart is “&” and many SE use this symbol to explode and analyze query string…

  7. I think this will break a 3rd party CMS(like wordpress).

  8. Alex

    Think SEO

  9. If you really want to display pretty URLs it’s better to use mod_rewrite.

  10. Keep in mind that XML invalidates the & symbol when it’s located in the href tag.
    To validate your XML you have to supply & EG: href=”?i=1&x=2″
    When using this method the return value in the URI will return as “&”, and if you are using relative URLs in your application navigation, this will invalidate the DOM generated XML in most browsers and stop page load in Google Chrome (Safari).
    Result: href=”/mypage.php?i=1&x=2″

    Returns – EntityRef: expecting ‘;’

  11. To fix the above the first example href=”?i=1&x=2″ should read with &
    like so

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