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How to fix Illegal string offset PHP

Here is how to fix Illegal string offset in PHP. In the course of programming, you will come to face errors that will make you want to pull a hair if you do not understand what these errors mean.

Why you’re having this error Illegal string offset PHP

In a nutshell, the error indicates that you’re confusing a string for an array.Probably you expected an array, but you have a string.

In PHP, strings can be treated as arrays of single characters. Keyword, an array of a single character. So therefore it doesn’t contain keys. In essence, you may be thinking the array has a key, but it’s just a string with standard numeric keys, for example:

$fruit_counts = array('apples'=>2, 'oranges'=>5, 'pears'=>0);
echo $fruit_counts['oranges']; // echoes 5
$fruit_counts = "an unexpected string assignment";
echo $fruit_counts['oranges']; // causes illegal string offset error

The above example was gotten from a StackOverflow answer.


The solution is to reformat the string into an array.

Solution One – Parse the array: Use json_decode() to convert the string into a valid array.

If you’re working API, it is very common to get responses in JSON format. JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. JSON is a lightweight format for storing and transporting data. since it’s a javascript Object, PHP finds it difficult to understand the data. In such a scenario, you need to parse the data so PHP can work with it.


Solution Two: Reformat the data. If you’ve defined this data yourself, then something is not right with the data. Go over it and reformat it properly.

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