Chapter 7. Types

Table of Contents
Floating point numbers
Pseudo-types used in this documentation
Type Juggling


PHP supports eight primitive types.

Four scalar types:

Two compound types:

And finally two special types:

This manual also introduces some pseudo-types for readability reasons:

You may also find some references to the type "double". Consider double the same as float, the two names exist only for historic reasons.

The type of a variable is usually not set by the programmer; rather, it is decided at runtime by PHP depending on the context in which that variable is used.

Note: If you want to check out the type and value of a certain expression, use var_dump().

Note: If you simply want a human-readable representation of the type for debugging, use gettype(). To check for a certain type, do not use gettype(), but use the is_type functions. Some examples:

$bool = TRUE;   // a boolean
$str  = "foo";  // a string
$int  = 12;     // an integer

echo gettype($bool); // prints out "boolean"
echo gettype($str);  // prints out "string"

// If this is an integer, increment it by four
if (is_int($int)) {
    $int += 4;

// If $bool is a string, print it out
// (does not print out anything)
if (is_string($bool)) {
    echo "String: $bool";

If you would like to force a variable to be converted to a certain type, you may either cast the variable or use the settype() function on it.

Note that a variable may be evaluated with different values in certain situations, depending on what type it is at the time. For more information, see the section on Type Juggling.