All I want to do, is send a 404 status code from PHP - but in a generic fashion. Both Router::statusCode(404) and Router::statusCode(403) should work, as well as any other valid HTTP status code.

I do know, that you can specify a status code as third parameter to header. Sadly this only works if you specify a string. Thus calling header('', false, 404) does not work.

Furthermore I know, that one can send a status code via a header call with a status line: header('HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found')

But to do this I have to maintain an array of reason phrases (Not Found) for all status codes (404). I don't like the idea of this, as it somehow is a duplication of what PHP already does itself (for the third header parameter).

So, my question is: Is there any simple and clean way to send a status code in PHP?

Answer
    • The simple and clean way is to send the proper header. Any other way (including using the 3rd parameter to header() IMHO) is dirty. There are not that many status codes, and they are well documented. What's not clean about doing a simple map?

There is a new function for this in PHP >= 5.4.0 http_response_code

Simply do http_response_code(404).

If you have a lower PHP version try header(' ', true, 404); (note the whitespace in the string).

If you want to set the reason phrase as well try:

header('HTTP/ 433 Reason Phrase As You Wish');
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    • +1 for the whitespace at the beginning. The second parameter can be either true or false according to my experience.
    • It doesn't matter. The result is the same if the second parameter is set to true or false. In fact, it can be marginally faster with it set to false because php doesn't try to replace previous headers.

The actual text of the code is irrelevant. You could do

header('The goggles, they do nawtink!', true, 404);

and it'd still be seen as a 404 by the browser - it's the code that matters.

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    • +1 because it's true, and because a comment like that is certainly going to make that apparent to any future developers :) @ircmaxell - hey, it's php!
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    • Sure, not saying to put something totally different, like "Access denied" for a 404, but "Not found" is just a simple suggested default. You could put a 500 page poem that boils down to the same thing if you so chose.

Zend Framework has a packaged solution in Zend_Http_Response

Zend_Http_Response::$messages contains:

/**
 * List of all known HTTP response codes - used by responseCodeAsText() to
 * translate numeric codes to messages.
 *
 * @var array
 */
protected static $messages = array(
    // Informational 1xx
    100 => 'Continue',
    101 => 'Switching Protocols',

    // Success 2xx
    200 => 'OK',
    201 => 'Created',
    202 => 'Accepted',
    203 => 'Non-Authoritative Information',
    204 => 'No Content',
    205 => 'Reset Content',
    206 => 'Partial Content',

    // Redirection 3xx
    300 => 'Multiple Choices',
    301 => 'Moved Permanently',
    302 => 'Found',  // 1.1
    303 => 'See Other',
    304 => 'Not Modified',
    305 => 'Use Proxy',
    // 306 is deprecated but reserved
    307 => 'Temporary Redirect',

    // Client Error 4xx
    400 => 'Bad Request',
    401 => 'Unauthorized',
    402 => 'Payment Required',
    403 => 'Forbidden',
    404 => 'Not Found',
    405 => 'Method Not Allowed',
    406 => 'Not Acceptable',
    407 => 'Proxy Authentication Required',
    408 => 'Request Timeout',
    409 => 'Conflict',
    410 => 'Gone',
    411 => 'Length Required',
    412 => 'Precondition Failed',
    413 => 'Request Entity Too Large',
    414 => 'Request-URI Too Long',
    415 => 'Unsupported Media Type',
    416 => 'Requested Range Not Satisfiable',
    417 => 'Expectation Failed',

    // Server Error 5xx
    500 => 'Internal Server Error',
    501 => 'Not Implemented',
    502 => 'Bad Gateway',
    503 => 'Service Unavailable',
    504 => 'Gateway Timeout',
    505 => 'HTTP Version Not Supported',
    509 => 'Bandwidth Limit Exceeded'
);

Even if you're not using zend-framework you might be able to break this out for personal use.

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    • @ircmaxwell, As you said, there is no maintaining this list as it's already developed to spec.. and the spec isn't changing.
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    • I love that the Mike and Mark B brothers decided to help us all out here. Also, @eyelidlessness, thanks for making an awkward situation at my office. Uncontrollable laughter is a curse.

Yeah, just do this...

header('x', true, 404);

The first string parameter can be anything that doesn't contain a :. PHP will then replace and go with the standard phrase. The second parameter specifies "always replace", and the 3rd is the status code you want.

References:

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    • Can't this have any implications? Can one do this, because X denotes custom headers? Is this considered bad style?
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    • @nikic, I don't believe so, because you aren't specifying the full header. See my latest edit.

Warm tip !!!

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