How Do You Change the Type of Data Types in PHP?


Angela Bailey

When working with PHP, you may come across situations where you need to change the data type of a variable. PHP provides several functions and techniques to convert one data type to another. In this tutorial, we will explore some commonly used methods for changing data types in PHP.

Converting Strings to Numbers

Often, you may need to convert a string containing numeric characters into an actual number. PHP offers various functions for achieving this task:

  • (int) or (integer): This is the most common way to convert a string into an integer. It removes any decimal points and only keeps the whole number part.

    For example:

  • $stringNumber = "42"; 
    $intNumber = (int)$stringNumber; 
    // $intNumber now holds the value 42
  • (float) or (double): If your string contains floating-point numbers, you can use these casting operators to convert it into a floating-point number. For example:
  • $stringFloat = "3.14"; 
    $floatNumber = (float)$stringFloat; 
    // $floatNumber now holds the value 3.14
  • intval(): This function converts a string into an integer similar to the (int) casting operator but also provides additional options for handling different number systems like binary, octal, or hexadecimal.
  • $binaryString = "1010"; 
    $decimalNumber = intval($binaryString, 2); 
    // $decimalNumber now holds the value 10

Converting Numbers to Strings

Sometimes, you may need to convert a number into a string data type. PHP offers multiple techniques to achieve this:

  • (string): You can simply wrap the number variable with the (string) casting operator to convert it into a string. For example:
  • $number = 42; 
    $stringNumber = (string)$number; 
    // $stringNumber now holds the value "42"
  • strval(): This function converts any variable into a string, including numbers. It is particularly useful when you want to convert variables of different data types without worrying about their original type.
  • $floatNumber = 3.14; 
    $stringFloat = strval($floatNumber); 
    // $stringFloat now holds the value "3.14"

Converting Strings to Arrays

In PHP, you can also convert a string into an array based on a specific delimiter or split pattern:

  • explode(): This function splits a string into an array by using a delimiter. For example:
  • $string = "apple,banana,orange"; 
    $array = explode(",", $string); 
    // $array now holds ["apple", "banana", "orange"]
  • str_split(): If you want to split a string character by character and create an array, you can use this function:
  • $string = "hello"; 
    $array = str_split($string); 
    // $array now holds ["h", "e", "l", "l", "o"]

Converting Arrays to Strings

Converting an array into a string can be useful for various purposes, such as storing data in a database or displaying it on a web page. PHP provides functions to accomplish this:

  • implode() or join(): Both of these functions join the elements of an array into a single string using a specified delimiter:
  • $array = ["apple", "banana", "orange"]; 
    $string = implode(",", $array); 
    // $string now holds "apple,banana,orange"
  • array_join(): This function is similar to implode() and join(), but it accepts an associative array and allows you to specify both the key-value separator and the element separator:
  • $assocArray = ["name" => "John", "age" => 25]; 
    $string = array_join("=", ", ", $assocArray); 
    // $string now holds "name=John, age=25"


In PHP, changing the data type of variables is essential for performing various operations. Whether you need to convert strings to numbers or vice versa, or even convert arrays to strings and back again, PHP provides a wide range of functions and casting operators to handle these tasks efficiently.

By utilizing techniques like casting operators, built-in functions such as intval(), strval(), explode(), implode(), and other related methods, you can easily change the type of data types in PHP based on your specific requirements.

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