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What is count_chars() function in php?



Generally, in computing, a bytean eight bits value. represents a single character. A collection of different characters will give us a word that can usually be of different sizes. The string type in PHP can be a single word or a group of words. The count_chars() is used on strings.

The count_chars() method examines a string and identifies the individual characters using its byte-value, which is unique for every character. It will then return its evaluation on the characters of the string as indicated in a return mode value.




  • string_value: This is the string whose character will be examined.
  • mode: This mode parameter is an integer value. It can be 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4, which triggers a special return value. Check below for the possible return values.

Return value

The value returned by this method depends on the value of the mode parameter provided. Each mode value (0, 1, 2, 3 or 4) triggers a different return value. These are discussed below:

  • 0: If this mode value is provided, an array value will be returned. This array is a key-value pair array. The key is a byte-value --that is any of the characters–. the frequency of occurrence of the byte --the character-- in the variable of concern as frequency as the value.
  • 1: This mode value returns the same as the mode value 0. The difference is that only byte-values with a frequency greater than zero are listed.
  • 2: This returns the same value as mode 0. The only difference is that only byte-values with a frequency equal to zero will be listed.
  • 3: This mode returns a string that contains all unique characters in the provided set of characters.
  • 4: Here, the byte-value of every available character not used in the variable provided will be returned by this mode.


The count_chars() function examines a couple of strings using some of its return modes in the code snippet below:


//define variables whose character info will be returned
$variable_to_count = "byte sized shots";

//use foreah method to return the count of each character
//in $variable_to_count1
foreach (count_chars($variable_to_count, 1) as $i => $val) {
   echo "There is $val instance(s) of \"" , chr($i) , "\" in the string.\n";

$output1  = count_chars("The cheerleader",3);

echo $output1;


  • Line 4: We declare a variable.

  • Lines 8–10: We start and conclude a foreach loop that iterates the array returned by the count_chars() function on line 8.

  • Line 12: We use the mode 3 of the count_chars() method to return values of all unique characters in the string value provided.

  • Line 14: We print the result of the operation on line 12 to the screen.



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