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Using PHP Error Handling Page 2

By Mattias Nilsson
on July 30, 2000

Throwing errors from PHP pages

Throwing errors from a PHP page is quite the same as emulating Apache’s behaviour for ErrorDocument
directives, you simply redirect the user using a query-string that specifies variables that
Apache usually sets as environment variables. This makes it possible to use the same error page
for all kinds of errors. An example:


function throw_error($message) {

$error_page "/err/error.php";

  $error_url $error_page;

$error_url .= "?REDIRECT_ERROR_NOTES=$message";

$error_url .= "&REDIRECT_URL=" $GLOBALS["PHP_SELF"];


$error_url .= "&REDIRECT_STATUS=501";

Header("Status: 501");

Header("Location: $error_url");



ob_start();  // Use output buffering to be able to throw errors anywhere on this page.

if(!condition) {

throw_error("the condition failed");


ob_end_flush(); // Page rendered, flush the output buffer.


Using the PHP4 feature called output buffering also helps creating generic error reporting
functionality. By not flushing the output buffer until you are sure the whole page has rendered
error-free, you are able to make Header calls anywhere in your code to redirect the user.
I’ll leave up to the reader to design and implement his/her own error.php page to suit his/her site.
Don’t forget that you can include a form with email submission possibilities for the users to send
you comments.