The xml_error_string() function is a PHP built-in function that retrieves a string description of an XML parser error. When parsing an XML file using the SimpleXML library or other XML parsing libraries in PHP, errors may occur due to incorrect XML syntax or other issues.

The xml_error_string() function is useful when you need to retrieve a user-friendly error message that can be displayed to the user, to help them understand what went wrong during the XML parsing process.


The syntax of the xml_error_string() function is as follows:


Where $code is the error code returned by the XML parser.

Usage Examples

Let's take a look at some practical examples of using xml_error_string() in PHP.

Example 1: Retrieving an XML Parser Error String

Suppose you have an XML file "data.xml" that contains an error in the XML syntax. You can use the SimpleXML library in PHP to parse the XML file and retrieve the error string using xml_error_string(), like this:

$xml = simplexml_load_file("data.xml");
if ($xml === false) {
  $error_string = xml_error_string(xml_get_error_code($xml));
  echo "Error: $error_string";

This code loads the XML file "data.xml" using the simplexml_load_file() function, and checks if the function returns false, indicating that an error occurred during parsing. If an error occurred, it retrieves the error code using xml_get_error_code(), and then retrieves the error string using xml_error_string(). Finally, it prints the error string to the console.

Example 2: Displaying an XML Parser Error Message

Suppose you have a web application that allows users to upload XML files. You can use the SimpleXML library in PHP to parse the uploaded file and display an error message to the user if an error occurs, like this:

if (isset($_FILES["xml_file"])) {
  $xml = simplexml_load_file($_FILES["xml_file"]["tmp_name"]);
  if ($xml === false) {
    $error_string = xml_error_string(xml_get_error_code($xml));
    echo "Error: $error_string";
  } else {
    // process the XML file

This code checks if an XML file was uploaded using the $_FILES array, and if so, loads the file using simplexml_load_file(). If an error occurs during parsing, it retrieves the error code and error string using xml_get_error_code() and xml_error_string(), and displays the error message to the user. If no errors occur, the code can process the XML file as needed.


In this article, we've discussed PHP's xml_error_string() function and how it can be used to retrieve a string description of an XML parser error in PHP. We've explained what the function does, its syntax, and provided examples of how it can be used in practical scenarios. By following these examples, you can easily retrieve user-friendly error messages during the XML parsing process, and ensure that your web applications are more robust and user-friendly.

Practice Your Knowledge

What does the libxml_get_errors() function in PHP do?

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