What is the difference between single-quoted and double-quoted strings in PHP? [Answered]

Problem:

I’m a little confused why I see some code in PHP with string placed in single quotes and sometimes in double quotes.

I just know in .NET, or the C language, if it is in a single quote, that means it is a character, not a string.

Answer #1: Difference betweek single quotes and double quotes in PHP

PHP strings can be specified not just in two ways, but in four ways.

  1. Single quoted strings will display things almost completely “as is.” Variables and most escape sequences will not be interpreted. The exception is that to display a literal single quote, you can escape it with a back slash \', and to display a back slash, you can escape it with another backslash \\ (So yes, even single quoted strings are parsed).
  2. Double quote strings will display a host of escaped characters (including some regexes), and variables in the strings will be evaluated. An important point here is that you can use curly braces to isolate the name of the variable you want evaluated. For example let’s say you have the variable $type and you want to echo "The $types are". That will look for the variable $types. To get around this use echo "The {$type}s are" You can put the left brace before or after the dollar sign. Take a look at string parsing to see how to use array variables and such.
  3. Heredoc string syntax works like double quoted strings. It starts with <<<. After this operator, an identifier is provided, then a newline. The string itself follows, and then the same identifier again to close the quotation. You don’t need to escape quotes in this syntax.
  4. Nowdoc (since PHP 5.3.0) string syntax works essentially like single quoted strings. The difference is that not even single quotes or backslashes have to be escaped. A nowdoc is identified with the same <<< sequence used for heredocs, but the identifier which follows is enclosed in single quotes, e.g. <<<'EOT'No parsing is done in nowdoc.

Notes: Single quotes inside of single quotes and double quotes inside of double quotes must be escaped:

$string = 'He said "What\'s up?"';
$string = "He said \"What's up?\"";

Speed:
I would not put too much weight on single quotes being faster than double quotes. They probably are faster in certain situations. Here’s an article explaining one manner in which single and double quotes are essentially equally fast since PHP 4.3 (Useless Optimizations toward the bottom, section C). Also, this benchmarks page has a single vs double quote comparison. Most of the comparisons are the same. There is one comparison where double quotes are slower than single quotes.

Answer #2:

Things get evaluated in double quotes but not in single:

$s = "dollars";
echo 'This costs a lot of $s.'; // This costs a lot of $s.
echo "This costs a lot of $s."; // This costs a lot of dollars.

Answer #3:

' Single quoted

The simplest way to specify a string is to enclose it in single quotes. Single quote is generally faster, and everything quoted inside treated as plain string.

Example:

echo 'Start with a simple string';
echo 'String\'s apostrophe';
echo 'String with a php variable'.$name;

" Double quoted

Use double quotes in PHP to avoid having to use the period to separate code (Note: Use curly braces {} to include variables if you do not want to use concatenation (.) operator) in string.

Example:

echo "Start with a simple string";
echo "String's apostrophe";
echo "String with a php variable {$name}";

Is there a performance benefit single quote vs double quote in PHP?

Yes. It is slightly faster to use single quotes.

PHP won’t use additional processing to interpret what is inside the single quote. when you use double quotes PHP has to parse to check if there are any variables within the string.

Answer #4:

In PHP, both 'my name' and "my name" are string. You can read more about it at the PHP manual.

Thing you should know are

$a = 'name';
$b = "my $a"; == 'my name'
$c = 'my $a'; != 'my name'

In PHP, people use single quote to define a constant string, like 'a''my name''abc xyz', while using double quote to define a string contain identifier like "a $b $c $d".

And other thing is,

echo 'my name';

is faster than

echo "my name";

but

echo 'my ' . $a;

is slower than

echo "my $a";

This is true for other used of string.

Hope you learned something from this post.

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