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Is it necessary to close a PHP code block with the closing ?> tag?

Hi everyone,

I was wondering about the best practice for closing PHP code blocks with the closing `?>` tag. I've come across various scenarios where people have different opinions on whether it is necessary to include it or not. Some argue that since it is optional, it's better to omit it to prevent any accidental whitespace or new line characters after the closing tag, which could cause issues.

On the other hand, some developers argue that including the closing tag is good practice for consistency and readability. They believe that it clearly indicates the end of the PHP code block and helps in code organization.

I wanted to hear your thoughts and experiences on this matter. Do you always include the closing `?>` tag in your PHP code blocks, or do you prefer to leave it out? Are there any specific reasons or guidelines you follow when making this decision?

Any insights or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

All Replies


In my personal experience, I have found that including the closing `?>` tag in PHP code blocks can sometimes lead to unnecessary errors or inconsistencies. There have been occasions where accidental whitespace or new line characters after the closing tag caused issues, resulting in unexpected output or syntax errors.

To avoid such problems, I have adopted the practice of omitting the closing `?>` tag altogether. This has helped me ensure that there are no unintentional characters after the code block, eliminating any potential problems. It also follows the recommendation of some PHP coding standards, which suggest that the closing tag is not necessary in pure PHP files.

Additionally, leaving out the closing tag promotes code consistency because all code blocks end the same way, regardless of whether it's a PHP file or a file with mixed HTML and PHP code. It also reduces the chances of accidentally introducing bugs by adding unwanted content after the closing tag.

However, I understand that some developers prefer to include the closing tag for readability and to clearly indicate the code block's end. I believe it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the coding standards followed by your team or project.


From my personal experience, I prefer including the closing `?>` tag in PHP code blocks. While I understand the argument against it, I believe that explicitly marking the end of a PHP code block enhances code readability and maintainability.

In larger codebases or complex projects, having the closing tag helps me easily identify where the PHP code ends, especially when there are nested code blocks or mixed HTML and PHP sections. It provides a clear visual distinction and aids in code organization.

Furthermore, including the closing tag aligns with the principle of self-contained and independent code blocks. It ensures that each code block is encapsulated properly, reducing the likelihood of any unintended interactions with subsequent code.

Although accidental whitespace or new line characters after the closing tag can be problematic, I address this concern by following appropriate coding practices and being cautious when editing code. Using an integrated development environment (IDE) that highlights whitespace errors can also help mitigate this issue.

In summary, based on my experience, including the closing `?>` tag in PHP code blocks is a good practice that enhances code readability and organization. Though it depends on personal preference and project guidelines, I find that it promotes better code structure and reduces the chances of inadvertent errors.

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