PHP: How to Enable/Disable Warnings and Notices

Updated: January 10, 2024 By: Guest Contributor One comment


Handling warnings and notices effectively in PHP is vital for developing robust applications. Whether you need to debug your code during development or ensure production stability, controlling PHP error reporting is an essential skill for developers. This tutorial will guide you through the steps to enable or disable warnings and notices in PHP.

Understanding PHP Error Levels

Before diving into modifying error reporting behavior, it’s important to understand the different error levels in PHP:

  • Notices: These are minor, non-critical issues in your code that PHP picks up. They don’t stop the script execution. Examples include accessing undefined variables or indexes.
  • Warnings: More significant issues but like notices, they do not halt script execution. An example is including a file that does not exist.
  • Errors: Critical problems that halt script execution. For instance, calling undefined functions or syntax errors.
  • Exceptions: These are errors that occur at runtime, and PHP allows you to catch and handle them through try/catch blocks.

Configuring Error Reporting

There are multiple methods to configure PHP error reporting:

Using php.ini

The ‘php.ini’ is the main configuration file for PHP. To set error reporting levels for all scripts, find the ‘error_reporting’ directive and modify it accordingly:

error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_WARNING

This configuration will report all errors except for warnings and notices.

At Runtime

You can also modify error reporting levels at runtime using the error_reporting() function:

error_reporting(E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_WARNING);

Place this line at the beginning of your script to affect error reporting for that script only.

Using .htaccess

If you’re using Apache, you can use .htaccess to control error reporting:

php_value error_reporting 30711

The number 30711 is the equivalent of E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_WARNING, calculate the appropriate value for the levels you wish to report.

Displaying Errors

In addition to setting the level of error reporting, you may also want to control whether errors are displayed on screen or logged:

Using php.ini

display_errors = On
log_errors = On
error_log = /path/to/your/error_log.log

Set display_errors to ‘Off’ in a production environment to avoid exposing sensitive information.

At Runtime

ini_set('display_errors', '1');
ini_set('log_errors', '1');
ini_set('error_log', '/path/to/your/error_log.log');

Use these functions at the start of your script to control error display and logging during runtime.

Managing Notices and Warnings

When to enable or disable notices and warnings?

  • Development: It’s a good practice to have all error reporting enabled to catch potential issues early.
  • Production: You typically want to disable error reporting to the screen and ensure all errors are logged instead for security reasons.

Error Handling Best Practices

  • Avoid using the ‘@’ suppression operator as it can make debugging difficult by hiding potential issues.
  • Use custom error handlers to manage errors more gracefully and provide better context for issues.
  • Regularly monitor your logs to catch and fix errors early.


Controlling the display and logging of warnings and notices in PHP gives you a powerful tool for managing your application’s behavior and stability. Remember to use different configurations for development and production to maximize efficiency and security. With this knowledge in hand, you’re well-prepared to manage error reporting in your PHP applications.

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