10 super useful PHP snippets

Having the right code snippet at the right time can definitely be a life saver for web developers. Today, I've compiled 10 really awesome PHP code snippets that will, I hope, be very helpful in your forthcomming developments.

Super simple page caching

When your project isn’t based on a CMS or framework, it can be a good idea to implement a simple caching system on your pages. The following code snippet is very simple, but works well for small websites.

    // define the path and name of cached file
    $cachefile = 'cached-files/'.date('M-d-Y').'.php';
    // define how long we want to keep the file in seconds. I set mine to 5 hours.
    $cachetime = 18000;
    // Check if the cached file is still fresh. If it is, serve it up and exit.
    if (file_exists($cachefile) && time() - $cachetime < filemtime($cachefile)) {
    // if there is either no file OR the file to too old, render the page and capture the HTML.
        output all your html here.
    // We're done! Save the cached content to a file
    $fp = fopen($cachefile, 'w');
    fwrite($fp, ob_get_contents());
    // finally send browser output

» Credit: Wes Bos

Calculate distances in PHP

Here is a very handy function, which calculate the distance from a point A to a point B, using latitudes and longitudes. The function can return the distance in miles, kilometers, or nautical miles.

function distance($lat1, $lon1, $lat2, $lon2, $unit) { 

  $theta = $lon1 - $lon2;
  $dist = sin(deg2rad($lat1)) * sin(deg2rad($lat2)) +  cos(deg2rad($lat1)) * cos(deg2rad($lat2)) * cos(deg2rad($theta));
  $dist = acos($dist);
  $dist = rad2deg($dist);
  $miles = $dist * 60 * 1.1515;
  $unit = strtoupper($unit);

  if ($unit == "K") {
    return ($miles * 1.609344);
  } else if ($unit == "N") {
      return ($miles * 0.8684);
    } else {
        return $miles;


echo distance(32.9697, -96.80322, 29.46786, -98.53506, "k")." kilometers";

» Credits: PHP Snippets.info

Convert seconds to time (years, months, days, hours…)

This useful function will convert a time in seconds to a time in years, months, weeks, days, and so on.

function Sec2Time($time){
    $value = array(
      "years" => 0, "days" => 0, "hours" => 0,
      "minutes" => 0, "seconds" => 0,
    if($time >= 31556926){
      $value["years"] = floor($time/31556926);
      $time = ($time%31556926);
    if($time >= 86400){
      $value["days"] = floor($time/86400);
      $time = ($time%86400);
    if($time >= 3600){
      $value["hours"] = floor($time/3600);
      $time = ($time%3600);
    if($time >= 60){
      $value["minutes"] = floor($time/60);
      $time = ($time%60);
    $value["seconds"] = floor($time);
    return (array) $value;
    return (bool) FALSE;

Force file download

Some files, such as mp3, are generally played throught the client browser. If you prefer forcing download of such files, this is not a problem: The following code snippet will do that job properly.

function downloadFile($file){
        $file_name = $file;
        $mime = 'application/force-download';
	header('Pragma: public'); 	// required
	header('Expires: 0');		// no cache
	header('Cache-Control: must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0');
	header('Cache-Control: private',false);
	header('Content-Type: '.$mime);
	header('Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="'.basename($file_name).'"');
	header('Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary');
	header('Connection: close');
	readfile($file_name);		// push it out

» Credit: Alessio Delmonti

Get current weather using Google API

Want to know today’s weather? This snippet will let you know, in only 3 lines of code. The only thing you have to do is to replace ADDRESS by the desired adress, on line 1.

$xml = simplexml_load_file('http://www.google.com/ig/api?weather=ADDRESS');
  $information = $xml->xpath("/xml_api_reply/weather/current_conditions/condition");
  echo $information[0]->attributes();

» Credit: Ortanotes

Basic PHP whois

Whois services are extremely useful to get basic information about a domain name: owner, creation date, registrar, etc. Using PHP and the whois unix command, it is extremely easy to create a basic whois PHP function. Please note that the whois unix command must be installed on your server for this code to work.

$domains = array('home.pl', 'w3c.org');

function creation_date($domain) {
    $lines = explode("\n", `whois $domain`);
    foreach($lines as $line) {
        if(strpos(strtolower($line), 'created') !== false) {
            return $line;

    return false;

foreach($domains as $d) {
    echo creation_date($d) . "\n";

» Credits: Snipplr

Get latitude and longitude from an adress

With the popularity of the Google Maps API, developers often needs to get the latitude and longitude of a particular place. This very useful function takes an adress as a parameter, and will return an array of data containing both latitude and longitude.

function getLatLong($address){
	if (!is_string($address))die("All Addresses must be passed as a string");
	$_url = sprintf('http://maps.google.com/maps?output=js&q=%s',rawurlencode($address));
	$_result = false;
	if($_result = file_get_contents($_url)) {
		if(strpos($_result,'errortips') > 1 || strpos($_result,'Did you mean:') !== false) return false;
		preg_match('!center:\s*{lat:\s*(-?\d+\.\d+),lng:\s*(-?\d+\.\d+)}!U', $_result, $_match);
		$_coords['lat'] = $_match[1];
		$_coords['long'] = $_match[2];
	return $_coords;

» Credits: Snipplr

Get domain favicon using PHP and Google

These days, many websites or webapps are using favicons from other websites. Displaying a favicon on your own site is pretty easy using Google and some PHP.

function get_favicon($url){
  $url = str_replace("http://",'',$url);
  return "http://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain=".$url;

» Credits: Snipplr

Calculate Paypal fees

Ah, Paypal fees. Every person who ever used the popular online payment service had to pay their fees. So what about a PHP function to easily calculate the fee for a specific amount?

function paypalFees($sub_total, $round_fee) {
	// Set Fee Rate Variables
	$fee_percent = '3.4'; // Paypal's percentage rate per transaction (3.4% in UK)
	$fee_cash    = '0.20'; // Paypal's set cash amount per transaction (£0.20 in UK)
	// Calculate Fees
	$paypal_fee = ((($sub_total / 100) * $fee_percent) + $fee_cash);
	if ($round_fee == true) {
		$paypal_fee = ceil($paypal_fee);
	// Calculate Grand Total
	$grand_total = ($sub_total + $paypal_fee);
	// Tidy Up Numbers
	$sub_total   = number_format($sub_total, 2, '.', ',');
	$paypal_fee  = number_format($paypal_fee, 2, '.', ',');
	$grand_total = number_format($grand_total, 2, '.', ',');
	// Return Array
	return array('grand_total'=>$grand_total, 'paypal_fee'=>$paypal_fee, 'sub_total'=>$sub_total);

» Credits: Snipplr

(Last snippet have been removed due to an error, sorry)