PHP/MySQL search engine script

Here is a quick tutorial/script to show you how to create PHP/MySQL search engine with search keywords displayed in bold.

List of some PHP functions used:

  • trim() –  Strip whitespace (or other characters) from the beginning and end of a string
  • explode() –  Split a string by string
  • array_unique() –  Removes duplicate values from an array
  • preg_replace() –  Perform a regular expression search and replace

Save the file as search.php and upload it to your server.

See the commented sections for details.

$hostname_logon = "localhost" ;
$database_logon = "databaseName" ;
$username_logon = "databaseUser" ;
$password_logon = "databasePass" ;
//open database connection
$connections = mysql_connect($hostname_logon, $username_logon, $password_logon) or die ( "Unabale to connect to the database" );
//select database
mysql_select_db($database_logon) or die ( "Unable to select database!" );

//specify how many results to display per page
$limit = 10;

//get the search variable from URL
$var = mysql_real_escape_string(@$_REQUEST['q']);

//get pagination
$s = mysql_real_escape_string($_REQUEST['s']);

//set keyword character limit
if(strlen($var) < 3){
    $resultmsg =  "<p>Search Error</p><p>Keywords with less then three characters are omitted...</p>" ;
//trim whitespace from the stored variable
$trimmed = trim($var);
$trimmed1 = trim($var);
//separate key-phrases into keywords
$trimmed_array = explode(" ",$trimmed);
$trimmed_array1 = explode(" ",$trimmed1);

// check for an empty string and display a message.
if ($trimmed == "") {
    $resultmsg =  "<p>Search Error</p><p>Please enter a search...</p>" ;

// check for a search parameter
if (!isset($var)){
    $resultmsg =  "<p>Search Error</p><p>We don't seem to have a search parameter! </p>" ;

// Build SQL Query for each keyword entered
foreach ($trimmed_array as $trimm){
// EDIT HERE and specify your table and field names for the SQL query
// MySQL "MATCH" is used for full-text searching. Please visit mysql for details.
$query = "SELECT * , MATCH (field1, field2) AGAINST ('".$trimm."') AS score FROM table_name WHERE MATCH (field1, field2) AGAINST ('+".$trimm."') ORDER BY score DESC";
 // Execute the query to  get number of rows that contain search kewords
 $numresults=mysql_query ($query);
 $row_num_links_main =mysql_num_rows ($numresults);

 //If MATCH query doesn't return any results due to how it works do a search using LIKE
 if($row_num_links_main < 1){
    $query = "SELECT * FROM table_name WHERE field1 LIKE '%$trimm%' OR field2 LIKE '%$trimm%'  ORDER BY field3 DESC";
    $numresults=mysql_query ($query);
    $row_num_links_main1 =mysql_num_rows ($numresults);

 // next determine if 's' has been passed to script, if not use 0.
 // 's' is a variable that gets set as we navigate the search result pages.
 if (empty($s)) {

  // now let's get results.
  $query .= " LIMIT $s,$limit" ;
  $numresults = mysql_query ($query) or die ( "Couldn't execute query" );
  $row= mysql_fetch_array ($numresults);

  //store record id of every item that contains the keyword in the array we need to do this to avoid display of duplicate search result.
      $adid_array[] = $row[ 'field_id' ];
  }while( $row= mysql_fetch_array($numresults));
} //end foreach

//Display a message if no results found
if($row_num_links_main == 0 && $row_num_links_main1 == 0){
    $resultmsg = "<p>Search results for: ". $trimmed."</p><p>Sorry, your search returned zero results</p>" ;

//delete duplicate record id's from the array. To do this we will use array_unique function
$tmparr = array_unique($adid_array);
foreach ($tmparr as $v) {
   $newarr[$i] = $v;

//total result
$row_num_links_main = $row_num_links_main + $row_num_links_main1;

// now you can display the results returned. But first we will display the search form on the top of the page
echo '<form action="search.php" method="get">
        <input name="q" type="text" value="'.$q.'">
        <input name="search" type="submit" value="Search">

// display an error or, what the person searched
if( isset ($resultmsg)){
    echo $resultmsg;
    echo "<p>Search results for: <strong>" . $var."</strong></p>";

    foreach($newarr as $value){

    // EDIT HERE and specify your table and field unique ID for the SQL query
    $query_value = "SELECT * FROM newsight_articles WHERE field_id = '".$value."'";
    $num_value=mysql_query ($query_value);
    $row_linkcat= mysql_fetch_array ($num_value);
    $row_num_links= mysql_num_rows ($num_value);

    //create summary of the long text. For example if the field2 is your full text grab only first 130 characters of it for the result
    $introcontent = strip_tags($row_linkcat[ 'field2']);
    $introcontent = substr($introcontent, 0, 130)."...";

    //now let's make the keywods bold. To do that we will use preg_replace function.
    //Replace field
      $title = preg_replace ( "'($var)'si" , "<strong>\\1</strong>" , $row_linkcat[ 'field1' ] );
      $desc = preg_replace ( "'($var)'si" , "<strong>\\1</strong>" , $introcontent);
      $link = preg_replace ( "'($var)'si" , "<strong>\\1</strong>" ,  $row_linkcat[ 'field3' ]  );

        foreach($trimmed_array as $trimm){
            if($trimm != 'b' ){
                $title = preg_replace( "'($trimm)'si" ,  "<strong>\\1</strong>" , $title);
                $desc = preg_replace( "'($trimm)'si" , "<strong>\\1</strong>" , $desc);
                $link = preg_replace( "'($trimm)'si" ,  "<strong>\\1</strong>" , $link);
             }//end highlight
        }//end foreach $trimmed_array 

		//format and display search results
            echo '<div class="search-result">';
                echo '<div class="search-title">'.$title.'</div>';
                echo '<div class="search-text">';
                    echo $desc;
                echo '</div>';
                echo '<div class="search-link">';
                echo $link;
                echo '</div>';
            echo '</div>';

    }  //end foreach $newarr

    if($row_num_links_main > $limit){
    // next we need to do the links to other search result pages
        if ($s >=1) { // do not display previous link if 's' is '0'
            echo '<div class="search_previous"><a href="'.$PHP_SELF.'?s='.$prevs.'&q='.$var.'">Previous</a>
    // check to see if last page
        $slimit =$s+$limit;
        if (!($slimit >= $row_num_links_main) && $row_num_links_main!=1) {
            // not last page so display next link
            echo '<div  class="search_next"><a href="'.$PHP_SELF.'?s='.$n.'&q='.$var.'">Next</a>
    }//end if $row_num_links_main > $limit
}//end if search result

Here are some helpfull resources:


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