Understanding PHP Superglobals: $_POST

PHP superglobals are special variables that are available in all scopes of a PHP script. They provide access to important information such as user input, server information, and environment variables. One of the most commonly used superglobals is $_POST.

What is $_POST?

$_POST is a superglobal variable that is used to collect form data after submitting an HTML form. When a form is submitted, the data is sent to the server in the form of key-value pairs, where the keys represent the names of the form elements and the values represent the input provided by the user. The $_POST variable collects this data and makes it available for further processing in PHP.

How to Use $_POST

Using $_POST is relatively simple. You simply need to access the key-value pairs within the $_POST array. For example, if you have a form with a field named "username", you can access the value entered by the user as follows:

$username = $_POST['username'];

It is important to note that the $_POST variable is only available after the form has been submitted. Before the form has been submitted, $_POST will be an empty array.

Security Considerations

When using $_POST, it is important to take security into consideration. User input should never be trusted and should always be validated and sanitized before it is used. This can help to prevent security vulnerabilities such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).

Example: Creating a Contact Form

Here is an example of how you can use $_POST to create a simple contact form.

<form action="contact.php" method="post">
  <label for="name">Name:</label>
  <input type="text" id="name" name="name">

  <label for="email">Email:</label>
  <input type="email" id="email" name="email">

  <label for="message">Message:</label>
  <textarea id="message" name="message"></textarea>

  <input type="submit" value="Submit">

In this example, the form is submitted to the contact.php script using the POST method. The form elements have unique name attributes, which will be used as the keys in the $_POST array.

  $name = $_POST['name'];
  $email = $_POST['email'];
  $message = $_POST['message'];

  // Validate and sanitize data here

  // Send email

In this example, the form data is collected from the $_POST array and stored in separate variables. It is then validated and sanitized before it is used. This is just a simple example, but it demonstrates the basic usage of $_POST in PHP.


$_POST is a powerful tool for collecting form data in PHP. When used correctly, it can greatly simplify the process of handling form submissions. However, it is important to take security considerations into account and to validate and sanitize user input before using it.

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