Undefined index error in php request

What is an Undefined Index PHP Error? How to Fix It?

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PHP is a widely used scripting language that is mainly used for web development purposes. It is a scripting language and finds application in automating tasks that would otherwise be impossible to implement with just human intervention. Being a server-side language, it primarily takes care of things at the server’s end. Launched in 1995 for public use, it has remained a popular choice among web developers since then.

Programming is a tricky business. It is pretty normal to stumble upon errors and warnings while making a program. The same happens a lot to PHP developers, like when they face an Undefined index in PHP. However, such errors are not hard to deal with with a little bit of knowledge and guidance.

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What Is an Undefined Index PHP Error?

Websites often use forms to collect data from visitors. PHP uses $GET and $POST methods for such data collection. This data is collected and saved in variables that are used by the website to work and serve the visitor further. Many a time, some fields are left blank by the user. But the website tries to refer to these fields for proceeding further. That means the PHP code tries to get the value of the field that no one has defined and thus does not exist. Quite expectedly, it does not work and raises a notice calledВ Undefined IndexВ in PHP.



You can fix it using the isset() function, which we will discuss further in the upcoming sections.

Undefined Index is a notice in PHP, and it is a choice of the developer to either ignore it or fix it.

How to Ignore PHP Notice: Undefined Index?

Undefined Index in PHP is a Notice generated by the language. The simplest way to ignore such a notice is to ask PHP to stop generating such notices. You can either add a small line of code at the top of the PHP page or edit the fieldВ error_reportingВ in the php.ini file.

1. Adding Code at the Top of the Page

A simple way to ask PHP to disable reporting of notices is to put a line of code at the beginning of the PHP page.

Or you can add the following code which stops all the error reporting,

2. Changes in php.iniВ

Php.ini is a configuration file and is essential for all the programs running on PHP. Open this file and find the fieldВ error_reporting. The easiest way is to use the ctrl + F shortcut key. By default, error reporting is set to E_ALL. That means all errors are reported. Change this to E_ALL &

E_NOTICE. It means all errors except for the notices will now be reported.

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How to Fix the PHP Notice: Undefined Index?

We know the cause of the error. It occurs when we use $_GET and $_POST methods to get input, but we reference it even when it has not been set. The solution simply is to check if it has been set before referencing.

We can use the isset() function, which checks if the variable ‘is set’ or not before referencing to them. Isset() function returns True or False depending on it.

Undefined Index in PHP $_GET

When using the $_GET method, the following code might show the notice Undefined index in PHP:

As we have not set any of these variables, this code shows the Undefined Index notice.

Change it to the following code to fix this issue:


How to Solve PHP Notice: Undefined Index?

While working in PHP, you will come across two methods called $_POST and $_GET. These methods are used for obtaining values from the user through a form. When using them, you might encounter an error called “Notice: Undefined Index”.

This error means that within your code, there is a variable or constant that has no value assigned to it. But you may be trying to use the values obtained through the user form in your PHP code.

The error can be avoided by using the isset() function. This function will check whether the index variables are assigned a value or not, before using them.

Undefined Index PHP Error

An undefined index is a ‘notice’ such as the following:

“Notice: Undefined variable,”

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“Notice: Undefined index” and “Notice: Undefined offset.”

As you can see above are all notices, here are two ways to deal with such notices.

1) Ignore such notices
2) Resolve such notices.

How to Ignore PHP Notice: Undefined Index

You can ignore this notice by disabling reporting of notice with option error_reporting.

1. php.ini

Open php.ini file in your favourite editor and search for text “error_reporting” the default value is E_ALL. You can change it to E_ALL &

By default:

Change it to:

Now your PHP compiler will show all errors except ‘Notice.’

2. PHP Code

If you don’t have access to make changes in the php.ini file, In this case, you need to disable the notice by adding the following code on the top of your php page.

Now your PHP compiler will show all errors except ‘Notice.’

Solution or Fix for PHP Notice: Undefined Index

Cause of error:

This error occurs with $ _POST and $ _GET method when you use index or variables which have not set through $ _POST or $ _GET method, but you are already using their value in your PHP code.

Undefined index in PHP $_get

Example using $_GET

In the following example, we have used two variables ‘ names’ & ‘age,’ but we did set only the name variable through the $_GET method, that’s why it throws the notice.




To solve such error, you can use the isset() function, which will check whether the index or variable is set or not, If not then don’t use it.

if(isset($_GET[index error name]))

Code with Error resolved using isset() function:



Set Index as blank

We can also set the index as blank index:

Notice: Undefined Variable

This notice occurs when you use any variable in your PHP code, which is not set.



In the above example, we are displaying value stored in the ‘name’ and ‘age’ variable, but we didn’t set the ‘age’ variable.


To fix this type of error, you can define the variable as global and use the isset() function to check if this set or not.

Notice: Undefined Offset

This type of error occurs with arrays when we use the key of an array, which is not set.

In the following, given an example, we are displaying the value store in array key 1, but we did not set while declaring array “$colorarray.”




Check the value of offset array with function isset() & empty(), and use array_key_exists() function to check if key exist or not.


Undefined Index With PHP Post

This article teaches four solutions to undefined index in PHP $_POST . The solutions will use isset() , array_key_exists() , in_array() , and the Null coalescing operator.

First, we’ll reproduce the error before explaining the solutions. Meanwhile, in PHP 8 , undefined index is the same as undefined array key .

Reproduce the Undefined Index Error

To reproduce the error, download XAMPP or WAMP and create a working directory in htdocs . Save the following HTML form in your working directory as sample-html-form.html .

The form has two input fields that accept a user’s first and last names. You’ll also note that we’ve set the form’s action attribute to 0-reproduce-the-error.php .

Now, open the HTML form in your web browser. Then type empty strings into the input fields and hit the submit button.

In PHP 5 , you’ll get an output like the one shown in the following image. The image shows that undefined index is a Notice in PHP 5 .

If you use PHP 8 , undefined index becomes undefined array key . Also, unlike PHP 5 , undefined array key is a Warning in PHP 8 .

The next thing is to show you different ways that will solve it.

Use isset() to Check the Content of $_POST

With isset() , you can check $_POST before using any of its contents. First, set up an if. else statement that uses isset() in its conditional check.

The code in the if block should only execute if isset() returns true . By doing this, you’ll prevent the undefined index error.

In the code below, we are checking if the name attributes of the HTML form exist in $_POST . Also, we ensure the user has not entered empty strings.

If the check returns true , we print the user-supplied data. Save the PHP code as 1-fix-with-isset.php in your working directory and link it with the HTML form.

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Output (when the user supplies empty values):

Use array_key_exists() to Search the Keys in $_POST

The array_key_exists() as its name implies will search for a key in $_POST . In our case, these keys are the name attributes of the HTML form inputs.

We’ll only process the form if array_key_exists() find the name attributes in $_POST . To be safe, we use the empty() function to ensure the user entered some data.

You’ll find all these in the following code. To test the code, save it as 2-fix-with-array-key-exists.php in your working directory, and link it with your HTML form by updating the value of the action attribute.

Now, do the following steps.

  1. Open the HTML file in your code editor.
  2. Update the name attribute of First name input to first_nam (we deleted the last “e”).
  3. Switch to your Web browser and fill out the first and last names.

An error will occur when you fill the form with the correct data. That’s because there is a mismatch between first_nam and first_name .

The PHP script expected the latter, but it got the former. Without the error checking, you’ll get the undefined index or undefined array key .

Output (pay attention to the highlighted part in DevTools ):

Use in_array to Check if a Value Exists in $_POST

PHP in_array() function can search $_POST for a specific value. Knowing this, we can use it to confirm if the user filled the HTML form.

Together with the empty() function, we can ensure the user did not supply empty strings. Both the searching and emptiness check prevents undefined index or undefined array key .

In the example detailed below, we use in_array and empty() to prevent the undefined index error. Save the PHP code as 3-fix-with-in-array.php , then set the action attribute of the HTML with the name of the PHP file.

Open the HTML form, fill the Last name field, and leave the First name blank. Submit the form, and you’ll get the custom error message because in_array did not find the first name in $_POST .

Use Null Coalescing Operator ( ?? )

The null coalescing operator ( ?? ) will return the operand on its left side if it exists. Otherwise, it’ll return the operand on the right.

Armed with this knowledge, we can pass an input value to the Null coalescing operator. As a result, if the value exists, the operator will return it; otherwise, we’ll make it return another value.

In the code below, we’ll check if the Null coalescing operator returned this other value. If it does, that means one of the form inputs is not in $_POST .

With this, we can show a custom error message other than undefined index or undefined array key . Save the code as 4-fix-with-null-coalescing-operator.php and link it with your HTML form.

Then, open your web browser and fill out the form with the correct data. You’ll get no error messages when you submit the form.

Habdul Hazeez is a technical writer with amazing research skills. He can connect the dots, and make sense of data that are scattered across different media.


PHP Notice Undefined Index

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Introduction to PHP Notice Undefined Index

Notice Undefined Index in PHP is an error which occurs when we try to access the value or variable which does not even exist in reality. Undefined Index is the usual error that comes up when we try to access the variable which does not persist. For instance, an array we are trying to access the index does not really exist in that, so in this scenario, we will get an Undefined Index in PHP. Undefined here means we have not defined its value and trying to access it.

Syntax of PHP Notice Undefined Index

There is no such syntax defined for an undefined index in php because it a kind of error we get when we try to access the value or variable in our code that does not really exist or no value assign to them, and we are trying to access its value somewhere in the code.

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In the above lines of syntax, we are trying to access the array by passing a key which does not exist in the array. So this will throw us an Undefined index error in runtime.

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Let’s see one example of how we can do this while programming:


In this way, we can replicate this error in PHP, but this can be prevented by using isst() method in PHP to make our code working in such a situation.

How does Notice Undefined Index work in PHP?

As of now, we know that an undefined index is a kind of exception, or we can say error in PHP. This will occur if we want to access a variable that does not really exist in our program. This needs to be handled; otherwise, it will cause a serious issue to our application and termination of the program. We have some methods defined in PHP to handle this kind of error in a program.

Here we will see one sample piece of code and its working, how this occurs in the program and how it should be handle.



In the above code lines, we create one array named ‘$myarray’, and we have initialized its value with some string integers inside it. In the second line, we are trying to access the variable of the array by using the value assigned to it and also, we are using the index. So index ‘4’ is present in the array, so this line would work fine as expected, but immediately after this line, we have another line in which we are trying to access the array element by its key. So, in this case, we will get Notice: Undefined Index in PHP with line number mentioned in it. We will now see how we can prevent this from happening in our code; for this, we have two methods available in PHP that can be used before accessing the element or value from the array.

Given below are the methods:

1. array_key_exists()

This method is used to check whether the key is present inside the array or not before access its value. This method can be used where we are trying to access the array element, and we are not sure about this. So before using the variable’s value, we can check by using this method whether the element or key exists.

This method takes two parameters as the input parameter. The first line is the key and the second one is an array itself.

Let’s see its syntax of the method


Here we pass two parameters the key we pass it checks it into the whole array. Its return type is Boolean; it will return true if the key is present in the array, else it will return false if the keys does not exist.

2. isset()

This method also checks variable is set in the program or not before accessing its value. It also checks for a NULL variable. It performs two things it; first checks variable is defined, and the other is it should not be NULL.


Here we can pass our variable, which we want to check before accessing them in the program. The return type for this method is also Boolean; if it found the variable and it is not NULL, then it will return as true as the value. If the previous condition not specified, then it will return False.

Examples of PHP Notice Undefined Index

Given below are the examples of PHP Notice Undefined Index:

Example #1

In this example, we are trying to access the key that does not access the array, so while program execution, we will get Notice Undefined Index error in PHP.



Example #2

To prevent this error while occurring in program execution.




Notice Undefined Index is a kind of error we got in PHP when we try to access the non-existing element from the array or in our program. One more case is that it can occur when we try to access a NULL value in the program. So we can use two methods, isset() and array_key_exists() methods in PHP, to overcome this error in the application.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to PHP Notice Undefined Index. Here we discuss the introduction, syntax, and working of notice undefined index in PHP along with different examples. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –


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