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I have in the database words that include special character (in Spanish mostly, like tildes). In the database everything is saved and shown correctly with PHPmyAdmin, but when I get the data (using PHP) and display it in a browser, I get a weird character, like a "?" with a square... I need a general fix so I don't need to escape each character every time, and also I would be able to insert special Spanish characters from a PHP form into the database...

The HTML is correct:

<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

All tables and databas are set to utf8_spanish

The character I get: ?

Any suggestions???




Changed the HTML charset to ISO-8859-1 fixed the problem! Silly

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Did you try iconv_set_encoding ?

This should work :

 iconv_set_encoding("internal_encoding", "UTF-8");

$subject = "Testmail — Special Characters";
$msg = "Hi there,nnthis isn’t something easy.nnI haven’t thought that it’s that complicated!";

mail(utf8_decode($to), utf8_decode($subject), utf8_decode($msg), utf8_decode($from)."nContent-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8nContent-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitn");?>
Sunday, December 11, 2022

You need to have everything in utf-8:

  • The database field
  • The database connection (mysql_set_charset('utf8'); in classic mysql, something like $db->exec('SET CHARACTER SET utf8'); in PDO)
  • The content type (like you have already)
Thursday, September 22, 2022

Check the default encoding for your server, your meta-tag encoding declaration, and your collation on your database and tables are. You may want to make sure that everything is set to UTF8 if you're going to have lots of language characters.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

After much banging-head-on-table, I have a bit better understanding of the issue that I wanted to post for anyone else who may have had this issue.

While the UTF-8 character set will display special characters on the client, the server, on the other hand, may not be so accomodating and would print special characters such as à and è as ? and ?.

To make sure your server will print them correctly, use the ISO-8859-1 charset:

    /*Just for your server-side code*/
    header('Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1');
<!DOCTYPE html>
        <meta charset="utf-8"><!-- Your HTML file can still use UTF-8-->
        <title>Untitled Document</title>
        <?= "àè" ?>

This will print correctly: àè

Edit (4 years later):

I have a little better understanding now. The reason this works is that the client (browser) is being told, through the response header(), to expect an ISO-8859-1 text/html file. (As others have mentioned, you can also do this by updating your .ini or .htaccess files.) Then, once the browser begins to parse that given file into the DOM, the output will obey any <meta charset=""> rule but keep your ISO characters intact.

Friday, December 9, 2022
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