Understanding PHP Superglobals: The $_REQUEST Variable

The PHP language has many built-in variables, called superglobals, that provide a convenient way to access data from various sources in your scripts. One of the most commonly used superglobals is the $_REQUEST variable, which combines the values of the $_GET, $_POST, and $_COOKIE variables into a single array.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the $_REQUEST variable, exploring its properties, use cases, and best practices for working with it in your PHP scripts.

What is the $_REQUEST Variable?

The $_REQUEST variable is a PHP superglobal that contains data submitted to the server through various means, such as GET and POST requests, or cookies. It combines the data from the $_GET, $_POST, and $_COOKIE variables into a single array, making it an easy and convenient way to access all the data sent to the server from the client.

When to Use the $_REQUEST Variable

The $_REQUEST variable is useful when you want to access data submitted by the client, regardless of the method used. For example, if you want to process a form submitted by the user, you can use the $_REQUEST variable to access the values submitted in the form, without having to know whether the form was submitted using the GET or POST method.

Additionally, if you want to access data stored in a cookie, you can use the $_REQUEST variable to retrieve the data, without having to worry about the specifics of the $_COOKIE variable.

How to Access Data in the $_REQUEST Variable

To access the data in the $_REQUEST variable, you simply use the array notation, providing the key that corresponds to the value you want to retrieve. For example, if you have a form with a text field named "username", you can access the value submitted in the field as follows:

$username = $_REQUEST['username'];

Best Practices for Working with the $_REQUEST Variable

When working with the $_REQUEST variable, it's important to follow some best practices to ensure that your scripts are secure and reliable. Some of the best practices for working with the $_REQUEST variable include:

  • Validate the data received from the client, to ensure that it is safe to use in your scripts. This can be done using various methods, such as checking for valid input formats, or sanitizing the data to remove any malicious code.

  • Use the appropriate method for accessing the data, depending on your needs. For example, if you are accessing data submitted through a form, use the $_POST variable, instead of the $_REQUEST variable, to ensure that the data is being transmitted securely.

  • Avoid using the $_REQUEST variable when accessing sensitive data, such as passwords or other confidential information, to prevent security risks.


The $_REQUEST variable is a powerful and versatile PHP superglobal that makes it easy to access data submitted by the client. By understanding its properties, use cases, and best practices, you can make the most of this variable in your PHP scripts. Whether you're building a web form, processing user data, or working with cookies, the $_REQUEST variable is an essential tool for PHP developers.

Practice Your Knowledge

What are the global arrays provided in PHP to deal with data passed via HTTP requests?

Quiz Time: Test Your Skills!

Ready to challenge what you've learned? Dive into our interactive quizzes for a deeper understanding and a fun way to reinforce your knowledge.

Do you find this helpful?