validate email in PHP

Here’s a simple script to validate an email address. This only checks for structure, and doesn’t confirm the validity of the address (ie does it actually exist).

function validate($email) {
// First, we check that there's one @ symbol, and that the lengths are right
if (!ereg("^[^@]{1,64}@[^@]{1,255}$", $email)) {
// Email invalid because wrong number of characters in one section, or wrong number of @ symbols.
return false;
// Split it into sections to make life easier
$email_array = explode("@", $email);
$local_array = explode(".", $email_array[0]);
for ($i = 0; $i < sizeof($local_array); $i++) {
if (!ereg("^(([A-Za-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-][A-Za-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~\.-]{0,63})|(\"[^(\\|\")]{0,62}\"))$", $local_array[$i])) {
return false;
if (!ereg("^\[?[0-9\.]+\]?$", $email_array[1])) { // Check if domain is IP. If not, it should be valid domain name
$domain_array = explode(".", $email_array[1]);
if (sizeof($domain_array) < 2) {
return false; // Not enough parts to domain
for ($i = 0; $i < sizeof($domain_array); $i++) {
if (!ereg("^(([A-Za-z0-9][A-Za-z0-9-]{0,61}[A-Za-z0-9])|([A-Za-z0-9]+))$", $domain_array[$i])) {
return false;
return true;

[Edit – 24.07.09: I’ve updated this script as I found some more detail of email address definitions, ie RFC 2822]

I’m working on a “confirmation” script which will ping or otherwise check the submitted email address for validity as an actual existing address.

This post here also has an even better email validator script (Listing 9) which also tests the email domain against a DNS.


About Cameron
I'm a final year Computer Science/Information Systems major. Already finished my BA in Politics/Philosophy. I do web and software freelance on the side, while I finish studying. Hoping to be self-employed by the end of my degree, otherwise off into the real-world I go....

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: