Checking a RegEx Pattern Against an Array of Strings

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Checking multiple strings against the same pattern is a common task in development. Usually, we use multiple preg_match for checking values, however, PHP provides a nice function that allows us to provide an array to the checker.

The “Old” Way

Let’s say we need to check if the request’s URI contains a specific keyword. Now, to make sure we need to check two variables $_SERVER[‘HTTP_REFERER’] and $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’]. With the old way our check would look like this:

if (preg_match('/keyword|other/', $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER']) || preg_match('/keyword|other/', $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'])) {
    // Perform action

The “New” Way

Of course, this is not new, but it still surprising how many things we miss in daily development. We often find build-in PHP solutions when we face with a specific problem. So, let’s see how to match the same pattern with an array of strings.

if (preg_grep('/keyword|other/', [$_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'], $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']])) {
    //  Perform action

The big advantage is that we don’t need to “chain” preg_match functions, but we can keep the condition cleaner. There is not a big difference when you compare two strings only, but imagine when you need to check a bigger set of values where you need to perform this regex call.

You can find the documentation of preg_grep here.

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