PHP 5.3 automatically escapes $_GET/$_POST from form strings?

My server admin recently upgraded to PHP 5.3 and I’m getting a weird “bug” (or feature, as the PHP folks have it). I had mysql_real_escape_string around most of my string form data for obvious safety reasons, but now it seems this escaping is already done by PHP.


echo $_GET["escaped"];


<form method="get">
    <input type="text" name="escaped" />

This outputs, if I enter for instance escape 'this test', escape \'this test\'. Same goes if I use POST instead of GET.

Is it directly tied to the 5.3 upgrade or could my admin have triggered some automatic switch in the php.ini file?

Also, should I just leave it as is (in the event that it is indeed a good fail proof mechanism that correctly catches all get and post variables), or should I disable it (if that’s even possible!) and go back to mysql_real_escape_string? My guts tell me approach 2 would be best, but approach 1 would be somewhat automagical. 🙂

EDIT: Actually, I need to disable it. Sometimes I gather the form data and resend it to the client form in case something was wrong (i.e. missing field), so I don’t want him/her to have slashes appearing out of nowhere.

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

This “feature” is known as magic_quotes_gpc and does not protect you from all SQL injection attacks (addslashes is called on every element of the input superglobals such as $_POST and $_GET. This ignores the actual input/database encoding). It is therefore deprecated and should not be used.

The official php manual includes a neat way to undo it in php code, but you should just turn it off.

Solution 2

This is due to magic quotes, you should turn it off.

And here is how you turn it off:

You do it either via php.ini or by removing slashes from all variables in $_GET and $_POST, obviously the former is the recommended way to go.

As Will Martin suggests you can also change it via a .htaccess like this:

php_flag magic_quotes_gpc off

More info here:

Solution 3

check option in php.ini

Solution 4

It sounds like your server has magic quotes turned on – you can take a look at for a thorough discussion of ways to disable them.

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

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