How to Use echo, print, and print_r in PHP

While working with PHP, every developer should know how to use echo, print, and print_r.

This snippet is dedicated to exploring these essential parts of the PHP programming language.

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Using echo

PHP echo is considered a language construct and not a function. It is capable of accepting a list of arguments. Yet, it will not return any value.

You can’t use it as a variable function in PHP. However, you can apply it for displaying the output of parameters, passed to it.

The example of using PHP echo is illustrated below:

// PHP program for illustrating echo

// Declaring variables and initializing them.
$x = "W3docs ";
$y = "Computer science portal";

// Displaying the value of $x
echo $x, $y;

Check out the output:

W3docs Computer science portal

Using print

PHP print is not a real function, either. It is considered a language construct.

Yet, unlike echo, it always returns the value 1. It can easily be used as an expression. There is another difference between echo and print: print is capable of accepting a single argument at a time. You can’t use it as a variable function.

Also, the print construct is capable of returning merely strings.

For a better perception, take a look at the example below:

// PHP program for illustrating echo

// Declaring a variable and initializing it.
$x = "W3docs";

// Displaying the value of $x
print $x;

The output will be:


Using print_r()

PHP print_r() is considered a regular functions. It is capable of outputting detailed information about a parameter in a human-understandable format.

The print_r() functions is handy for detecting glitches in the process of the program execution. It is more similar to var_dump().

Let’s check out an example of using print_r():

// PHP program for illustrating echo

// Declaring an array
$arr = [
  '0' => "W3docs",
  '1' => "Computer",
  '2' => "Science",
  '3' => "Portal",

// Displaying the value of $x

The output will look as follows:

    [0] => W3docs
    [1] => Computer
    [2] => Science
    [3] => Portal

In this snippet, we represented to you the most proper ways of using echo, print, and print_r() in PHP. You can use them in your daily programming practice to improve the quality of your work.