How to Validate an Email in PHP | 3 Tips To Follow

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Is your email marketing not working out? You may have sent those emails to the unintended receivers who never opened them. Not only does it make your email marketing ineffective, but it also inflicts a harmful impact on your email address’s IP reputation.

Eventually, after your IP reputation falls below a certain level, your sent emails end up in your subscribers’ spam folders, making your email marketing a mere cost.
The root of this problem is inaccurate data, particularly email addresses.

While filling the email addresses in a PHP form, your visitors might have filled the wrong ones. As per research, invalid data has directly impacted the bottom line of 88% of the companies, causing an average company to lose 12% of its revenue.

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If you don’t want to be in this 88% of companies, you must verify the emails’ validation. If you don’t know how to do this, you need not worry because we have mentioned all the essentials in this article.

In this article, we will explain:

  • How to validate an email in PHP using its native functionalities?
  • How to avoid complex coding for the advanced validation process?
  • Why should you not ignore email validation?

How to validate an email in PHP using its native functionalities?

Validating an email address in PHP forms is crucial to collect accurate data; otherwise, you may end up having the wrong email addresses entered by the users unintentionally or intentionally.

Hence, we have gathered three tips for you to follow for validating the email addresses using native functionalities of PHP:

1. Validating an email using filter_var() function’s ‘FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL’ filter

PHP’s filter_var() function allows to validate an email address’s format. For example, it determines whether an email address is in the format ‘[email protected]’ or not.

If yes, the function allows submission of the email address; otherwise, it returns an error.
We need to specify some function parameters to use the filter_var() function to validate email addresses.

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Firstly, we need to define the variable that contains the email to be validated. Then, we need to determine the type of filter applied to the variable in the first parameter.

Since the format of many things such as IP address, domain, email address, etc., can be validated using this function, we need to specify the email address filter ‘FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL’ in the second parameter.

To illustrate, let’s create a function validateEmail(). Then, create a variable ‘$email = [email protected]’ as the first parameter of the filter_var() function. In the second parameter, apply the ‘FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL’ filter ID on the $email variable using filter_var().

Afterward, specify an ‘if-then’ condition. For example, if the ‘FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL’ filter ID finds the $email variable valid, it should return ‘Valid Email Address’ and redirect the user to the next step. Else, it should return an error prompt ‘Invalid Email Address’ so that the user must rectify the mistake and input their correct email address.

Since the entered email ‘$email = [email protected]’ is in the correct format, the function will return ‘Valid Email Address’ and redirect the user to the next step. In this way, an email address can be validated easily using the filter_var() function’s ‘FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL’ filter ID.

email validation using php

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2. Validating an email using filter_var() function’s ‘FILTER_SANITIZE_EMAIL’ filter

Alike the ‘FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL’ filter, the ‘FILTER_SANITIZE_EMAIL’ filter also validates an email address’s format; in addition, it also looks for illegal characters in the email such as {}, ||, etc. Similar to the former filter, the ‘FILTER_SANITIZE_EMAIL’ filter is entered as a second parameter of the filter_var() function.

To illustrate, let’s make a subtle change to the variable in the first tip. Instead of ‘$email = [email protected]’, enter ‘$email = ab||[email protected]{y}z.com’. Then, apply the ‘FILTER_SANITIZE_EMAIL’ filter ID on the $email variable using filter_var().

At last, create an if-then condition for the function. For example, if the $email is valid, return ‘the email address contains no illegal characters’ and redirects the user to the next step. Else, return ‘the email address contains illegal characters, please enter a valid email address.’

In this example, since the email address contains illegal characters, the function will return a prompt mentioning ‘the email address contains illegal characters, please enter a valid email address.’ In this way, an email address can be validated easily using the filter_var() function’s ‘FILTER_SANITIZE_EMAIL’ filter ID.

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3. Validating an email using the preg_match() function

To validate an email address in PHP, we can also use the preg_match() function. The Preg_match() function lets us set the rule for validating an email. We may establish the rule for a valid email by creating regular expressions that we deem correct.

The function then compares it with the email address entered in the PHP form. If its format matches the one we set in the pre_match() function, it validates the email and redirects the user to the next step.

The preg_match() function requires two parameters: the regular expression and the email to be verified. Along with the function, we can use the ternary operator to validate the email’s validity.

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Let’s create two variables, $email_one and $email_two for example. The first variable stores an email we want to provide to the function as reference ‘$email_one = [email protected]’. In the second variable, let’s enter ‘$email_two = [email protected]//yz.com’.
Then, create an if-then condition.

For instance, if the preg_match() function finds the $email_two variable’s format same as the format in $email_one, return ‘Valid Email Address’ and redirect the user to the next step. Else, return an error prompt ‘Invalid Email Address’ so that the user must rectify the mistake and input their correct email address.

In this way, an email address can be validated using the preg_match() function.

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How to avoid complex coding for the advanced validation process?

avoid complex email validation

The three tips mentioned above are excellent unless you want to make your validation process stricter. All the options mentioned earlier can only check whether an email’s format is correct using different ways. However, none of them can check whether the email address exists.

For example, the email address ‘[email protected]’ used in all previous methods is hypothetical, but it will pass them because it is written in the correct format. Is the format the only thing to check when validating email addresses? No. We should also check whether the email address exists or not.

The process, however, is not as easy as it sounds. It requires complex coding and an expert web developer who may cost a considerable amount. Solution? Abstract, a service that helps automate routine developer work, provides a free API that allows validating an email in PHP.

Solution? Abstract, a service that helps automate routine developer work, provides a free API that helps validate an email in PHP. Abstract’s API validates an email address by verifying both the format and the email domain’s existence.

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Abstract’s API validates an email address by verifying both the format and the email domain’s existence. Since it saves from the hefty coding process, it is the most efficient way to validate an email than the ways mentioned earlier.

Not only that it saves a lot of time, but it also saves you the cost of an expert developer who would otherwise set up your email validation process.

Why should you not ignore email validation?

You may be one of the 73% of companies globally that acquire data from their websites. If yes, you must also know that companies lose about 20% of their revenues due to insufficient data quality or inaccurate data.

One of the ways that companies generate data is by having the website visitors fill a form or free subscription for the company’s newsletter. The thirsty companies of data are obligated to fill this form on something the visitor has come to their website for.

For instance, many websites would require filling a form or subscribing to their newsletter to enjoy the content on their website. If the visitor needs that content, they will fill the form in haste, usually inputting incorrect data.

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This data may help the companies in many ways, such as marketing, strategic business planning, knowing customer wants, etc., unless it’s inaccurate. Since many big decisions by the companies rely on this data, it must be accurate and legitimate.

The inaccurate data ruins both the online and on-site reputation of a company. The on-site reputation may get harmed if the company has, for example, launched a wrong product influenced by the inaccurate data.

The sender’s history is one of the determinants of IP reputation. If the receiver has not opened emails from the sender in the past, the latter’s IP reputation will decrease. A point will reach, after which the algorithm transfers the email to the receiver’s spam folder.

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The senders don’t open an email whose subject seems irrelevant to them. If the email’s subject is irrelevant to them, they are probably unrelated to you. It is like you are a mustache styling products maker, and you have sent a promotional email to a female.

You don’t want to send emails to irrelevant users, but how do you know they are the irrelevant ones? The answer is email validation.

To sum up, avoiding bad IP reputation and revenue loss are the main reasons you should not ignore the email validation process.

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Conclusion

To conclude, it is evident that having an email validation process is essential for your website. Hence, it would be best if you had it in place to avoid harming your business.

We have familiarized you with the best methods to validate an email in PHP. However, we recommend using Abstract’s API since it is inclusive of all solutions.

Refer to the linked guide to get the exact code of filter_var() function and Abstract’s API. We wish you a smooth implementation of the email validation process.