In PHP, which is faster: preg_split or explode?

Which is faster when using it to extract keywords in a search query in php:

$keyword = preg_split('/[\s]+/', $_GET['search']);


$keyword = explode(' ', $_GET['search']);

Here is Solutions:

We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first solution because it is tested & true solution that will 100% work for you.

Solution 1

Explode is faster, per

Tip If you don’t need the power of regular expressions, you can choose faster (albeit simpler) alternatives like explode() or str_split().

Solution 2

In a simple usage explode() is than faster, see: (link from

But preg_split has the advantage of supporting tabs (\t) and spaces with \s.

the \s metacharacter is used to find a whitespace character.

A whitespace character can be (

  • space character (32 = 0x20)
  • tab character (9 = 0x09)
  • carriage return character (13 = 0x0D)
  • new line character (10 = 0x0A)
  • form feed character (12 = 0x0C)

In this case you should see the cost and benefit.

A tip, use array_filter for “delete” empty items in array:


$keyword = explode(' ', $_GET['search']); //or preg_split

$keyword = array_filter($arr, 'empty');

Note: RegExp Perfomance

Solution 3

General rule: if you can do something without regular expressions, do it without them!

if you want to split string by spaces, explode is way faster.

Note: Use and implement solution 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

Leave a Reply