A sane interface for php's built in preg_* functions

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3.1.1 2021-11-30 21:13 UTC

This package is auto-updated.

Last update: 2024-05-05 17:44:00 UTC



Making regex great again

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Php's built in preg_* functions require some odd patterns like passing variables by reference and treating false or null values as errors. spatie/regex provides a cleaner interface for preg_match, preg_match_all, preg_replace and preg_replace_callback.

use Spatie\Regex\Regex;

// Using `match`
Regex::match('/a/', 'abc'); // `MatchResult` object
Regex::match('/a/', 'abc')->hasMatch(); // true
Regex::match('/a/', 'abc')->result(); // 'a'

// Capturing groups with `match`
Regex::match('/a(b)/', 'abc')->result(); // 'ab'
Regex::match('/a(b)/', 'abc')->group(1); // 'b'

// Setting defaults
Regex::match('/a(b)/', 'xyz')->resultOr('default'); // 'default'
Regex::match('/a(b)/', 'xyz')->groupOr(1, 'default'); // 'default'

// Using `matchAll`
Regex::matchAll('/a/', 'abcabc')->hasMatch(); // true
Regex::matchAll('/a/', 'abcabc')->results(); // Array of `MatchResult` objects

// Using replace
Regex::replace('/a/', 'b', 'abc')->result(); // 'bbc';
Regex::replace('/a/', function (MatchResult $result) {
    return $result->result() . 'Hello!';
}, 'abc')->result(); // 'aHello!bc';

Spatie is a webdesign agency based in Antwerp, Belgium. You'll find an overview of all our open source projects on our website.

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You can install the package via composer:

composer require spatie/regex


Matching a pattern once

Matches a pattern on a subject. Returns a MatchResult object for the first match.

 * @param string $pattern
 * @param string $subject
 * @return \Spatie\Regex\MatchResult
Regex::match(string $pattern, string $subject): MatchResult

MatchResult::hasMatch(): bool

Checks if the pattern matches the subject.

Regex::match('/abc/', 'abc')->hasMatch(); // true
Regex::match('/def/', 'abc')->hasMatch(); // false

MatchResult::result(): string

Return the full match that was made. Returns null if no match was made.

Regex::match('/abc/', 'abc')->result(); // 'abc'
Regex::match('/def/', 'abc')->result(); // null

MatchResult::group(int $id): string

Return the contents of a captured group (with a 1-based index). Throws a RegexFailed exception if the group doesn't exist.

Regex::match('/a(b)c/', 'abc')->group(1); // 'b'
Regex::match('/a(b)c/', 'abc')->group(2); // `RegexFailed` exception

Matching all occurences of a pattern

Matches a pattern on a subject. Returns a MatchAllResult object containing all matches.

 * @param string $pattern
 * @param string $subject
 * @return \Spatie\Regex\MatchAllResult
public static function matchAll(string $pattern, string $subject): MatchAllResult

MatchAllResult::hasMatch(): bool

Checks if the pattern matches the subject.

Regex::matchAll('/abc/', 'abc')->hasMatch(); // true
Regex::matchAll('/abc/', 'abcabc')->hasMatch(); // true
Regex::matchAll('/def/', 'abc')->hasMatch(); // false

MatchAllResult::results(): array

Returns an array of MatchResult objects.

$results = Regex::matchAll('/ab([a-z])/', 'abcabd')->results();

$results[0]->result(); // 'abc'
$results[0]->group(1); // 'c'
$results[1]->result(); // 'abd'
$results[1]->group(1); // 'd'

Replacing a pattern in a subject

Replaces a pattern in a subject. Returns a ReplaceResult object.

 * @param string|array $pattern
 * @param string|array|callable $replacement
 * @param string|array $subject
 * @param int $limit
 * @return \Spatie\Regex\ReplaceResult
public static function replace($pattern, $replacement, $subject, $limit = -1): ReplaceResult

ReplaceResult::result(): mixed

Regex::replace('/a/', 'b', 'abc')->result(); // 'bbc'

Regex::replace also works with callables. The callable will receive a MatchResult instance as it's argument.

Regex::replace('/a/', function (MatchResult $matchResult) {
    return str_repeat($matchResult->result(), 2);
}, 'abc')->result(); // 'aabc'

Patterns, replacements and subjects can also be arrays. Regex::replace behaves exactly like preg_replace in those instances.

Error handling

If anything goes wrong in a Regex method, a RegexFailed exception gets thrown. No need for checking preg_last_error().


$ composer test


Please see CHANGELOG for more information on what has changed recently.


Please see CONTRIBUTING for details.

Security Vulnerabilities

Please review our security policy on how to report security vulnerabilities.


You're free to use this package, but if it makes it to your production environment we highly appreciate you sending us a postcard from your hometown, mentioning which of our package(s) you are using.

Our address is: Spatie, Kruikstraat 22, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium.

We publish all received postcards on our company website.



The MIT License (MIT). Please see License File for more information.