Mastering the PHP Developer Interview: 100+ Technical Questions Answered. 16-30.

Mastering the PHP Developer Interview: 100+ Technical Questions Answered. 16-30.


17 min read

Dive into advanced PHP knowledge to elevate your interview performance. Explore traits, error handling, namespaces, variable comparisons, and more in questions 16 to 30, refining your expertise for technical success.

16. What does the yield operator do?

The yield operator is used within generator functions in PHP. This operator serves two main purposes:

  1. Pausing Execution: When the yield operator is encountered inside a generator function, the function's execution is paused, and the current value is returned to the calling code. This allows the function to retain its state and resume execution from where it was paused when called again.

  2. Returning a Value: The yield operator returns the specified value to the calling code while preserving the execution context of the function. This means that the function retains its variables and state even after execution is paused.

17. What are traits? Is there an alternative solution? Provide an example.

Traits in PHP are a mechanism that allows you to reuse code in classes without inheritance. They provide a way to include methods and properties in classes without breaking the single inheritance model. Traits enable you to create modular, independent components and add them to various classes.

An alternative solution for code reuse that could be used instead of traits is inheritance. However, inheritance has a limitation: a class can inherit from only one other class. Using traits allows you to bypass this limitation and incorporate code from multiple sources.

Example usage of a trait:

trait Loggable {
    public function log($message) {
        echo "Logging: $message\n";

class User {
    use Loggable;

    public function register() {
        // Register the user
        $this->log("User registered.");

$user = new User();
$user->register(); // Output: Logging: User registered.

In this example, Loggable is a trait that contains the log method. The User class uses this trait using the use keyword. Now, the log method is available in the User class, and we can use it within the register method.

Another example:

trait Magic
    // Accessible only within the trait
    private $properties;

    public function __get($key)
        return $this->properties[$key] ?? null;

    public function __set($key, $value)
        $this->properties[$key] = $value;

class Config
    // Using the trait in the class
    use Magic;

$config = new Config();
$config->key = 'value';
echo $config->key;

In this code, a trait named Magic is defined. It includes two magic methods: __get and __set. The __get method allows accessing the values of properties using a dynamic property name. The __set method enables setting values to properties using a dynamic property name as well.

The Config class uses the Magic trait, which means it inherits the __get and __set methods from the trait. When an instance of Config is created, properties can be accessed and set as if they were defined directly in the class.

18. Describe the behavior when using traits with identical field and/or method names.

When using traits with identical field and/or method names in a class, PHP employs a certain method resolution order to determine which trait's implementation takes precedence. This method resolution order is called the "trait precedence order".

Let's explore how this works with identical methods and field names:

  1. Methods:

    • When a class uses multiple traits that each have a method with the same name, the method from the trait used last in the class declaration will take precedence. This is known as the "last-in wins" rule.

    • If the class itself defines the same method name, it will override the methods from the traits.

    • To call a specific trait's method, you can use the TraitName::methodName() syntax.


trait TraitA {
    public function greet() {
        echo "Hello from Trait A\n";

trait TraitB {
    public function greet() {
        echo "Hello from Trait B\n";

class MyClass {
    use TraitA, TraitB {
        TraitA::greet insteadof TraitB; // Using TraitA's greet method
        TraitB::greet as greetB; // Renaming TraitB's greet method

    public function greet() {
        echo "Hello from MyClass\n";

$obj = new MyClass();
$obj->greet(); // Output: Hello from Trait A
$obj->greetB(); // Output: Hello from Trait B
  1. Fields:

    • If multiple traits define properties with the same name, a fatal error will occur. PHP does not provide automatic conflict resolution for properties as it does for methods.

    • To resolve this, you need to explicitly define a property in the class, specifying which trait's property should be used.


trait TraitA {
    public $property = "Property from Trait A";

trait TraitB {
    public $property = "Property from Trait B";

class MyClass {
    use TraitA, TraitB {
        TraitA::property insteadof TraitB; // Using TraitA's property

    public $property = "Property from MyClass";

$obj = new MyClass();
echo $obj->property; // Output: Property from MyClass

In summary, when using traits with identical field and/or method names, you need to explicitly specify how conflicts should be resolved using insteadof, as, and other methods provided by PHP's trait system.

19. Will private methods from a trait be accessible in a class?

No, private methods declared in a trait will not be directly accessible in the class that uses the trait. Private methods are inherently limited to the class that defines them and are not inherited by classes that use the trait. Therefore, private methods in traits cannot be accessed, overridden, or called from the class using the trait.

f you want to provide methods that are accessible within the class that uses the trait, consider using protected or public methods in the trait instead of private methods.

20. Can traits be used within another trait?

Yes, in PHP, you can use traits within another trait just like you would use them within a class. This allows for a more modular and flexible code structure, enabling you to divide functionality into independent components and reuse them in various contexts.

Example of using traits within another trait:

trait TraitA {
    public function methodA() {
        echo "Method A\n";

trait TraitB {
    public function methodB() {
        echo "Method B\n";

trait TraitC {
    use TraitA, TraitB;

    public function methodC() {
        echo "Method C\n";

class MyClass {
    use TraitC;

$obj = new MyClass();
$obj->methodA(); // Output: Method A
$obj->methodB(); // Output: Method B
$obj->methodC(); // Output: Method C

21. Explain error and exception handling (try-catch, finally, and throw).

Error and exception handling in PHP involves managing situations where unexpected issues or exceptional conditions might occur during the execution of code. The primary mechanisms for handling errors and exceptions are the try-catch blocks, finally blocks, and the throw statement.

  1. Try-Catch Blocks:

    • The try block contains the code that might generate an exception.

    • The catch block catches exceptions thrown within the corresponding try block.

    • Multiple catch blocks can be used to handle different types of exceptions.

    • The code within the catch block is executed if an exception matching the specified type is thrown.


try {
    // Code that might throw an exception
    $result = 10 / 0; // Division by zero
} catch (Exception $e) {
    // Handle the exception
    echo "Caught exception: " . $e->getMessage();
  1. Finally Blocks:

    • The finally block is optional and follows the try-catch blocks.

    • Code within the finally block is executed regardless of whether an exception was caught.

    • It's used for cleanup operations, such as releasing resources.


try {
    // Code that might throw an exception
} catch (Exception $e) {
    // Handle the exception
} finally {
    // This code is always executed
    echo "Finally block executed.";
  1. Throw Statement:

    • The throw statement is used to explicitly throw an exception.

    • You can throw built-in exception classes or custom exception classes.

    • Custom exceptions should extend the Exception class or its subclasses.


function divide($a, $b) {
    if ($b === 0) {
        throw new Exception("Division by zero");
    return $a / $b;

try {
    $result = divide(10, 0);
} catch (Exception $e) {
    echo "Caught exception: " . $e->getMessage();

22. What is the difference between Error and Exception?

In PHP, both Error and Exception are types of throwable objects used to handle exceptional situations in code. However, there are some key differences between them:

  1. Origin:

    • Error instances represent internal PHP errors, usually caused by incorrect usage of language features or runtime issues.

    • Exception instances represent user-defined exceptions and are typically thrown explicitly by the developer to handle exceptional application-specific scenarios.

  2. Handling:

    • Error instances should generally not be caught or handled, as they often indicate serious issues that require fixing in the code.

    • Exception instances are meant to be caught and handled using try-catch blocks.

  3. Hierarchy:

    • Both Error and Exception are descendants of the Throwable interface.

    • Exception class extends the Throwable interface directly, whereas Error classes extend the Error class, which implements Throwable.

  4. Customization:

    • Developers can create custom exception classes by extending the Exception class or its subclasses, allowing for fine-grained control over exception handling.

    • Custom Error classes are not common, and it's generally recommended to work with built-in Error subclasses for standard PHP errors.


// Throwing an exception
class MyException extends Exception {}

try {
    throw new MyException("Custom exception");
} catch (Exception $e) {
    echo "Caught exception: " . $e->getMessage();

// Triggering an error
$result = 10 / 0; // Division by zero (Error)

In summary, Error instances represent internal PHP errors and should not typically be caught, while Exception instances are used to handle user-defined exceptional scenarios and are meant to be caught and handled.

23. What is type hinting, how does it work, and why is it needed?

Type hinting is a feature in PHP that allows you to specify the data type that a function's parameter or method argument must be when calling that function or method. It helps ensure that the correct type of data is passed, making code more predictable and reducing the likelihood of errors caused by unexpected data types.

When you apply type hinting to a function or method parameter, PHP checks the data type of the provided argument against the specified type hint. If the argument does not match the expected data type, PHP may raise a TypeError during runtime.

class Calculator {
    public function add(int $a, int $b): int {
        return $a + $b;

$calculator = new Calculator();
$result = $calculator->add(5, 10); // Works fine

// This will result in a TypeError
$result = $calculator->add("5", "10");

Benefits of Type Hinting:

  1. Code Clarity: Type hinting makes it clear what types of values a function or method expects, enhancing code readability.

  2. Early Detection of Errors: Type hinting helps catch data type mismatches early in development, reducing runtime errors.

  3. Documentation: Type hints serve as a form of documentation, helping developers understand how to use functions and methods correctly.

  4. Intuitive Interfaces: When working with libraries or frameworks, type hints provide insight into how to interact with APIs effectively.

  5. Better Refactoring: Type hinting facilitates safer code changes and refactoring, as type violations are caught during development.

24. What are namespaces, and why are they needed?

Namespaces in PHP are a way to organize and group classes, functions, and constants into a logical hierarchy, preventing naming conflicts and improving code organization. They allow you to encapsulate code within a specific namespace, making it easier to manage and work with codebases that include a large number of classes and components.

Why Are Namespaces Needed?

  1. Avoiding Naming Conflicts: In large projects or when integrating external libraries, naming conflicts can arise when two classes or functions have the same name. Namespaces help prevent these conflicts by providing a way to uniquely identify and distinguish between classes with similar names.

  2. Code Organization: Namespaces provide a structured way to organize your code. By categorizing related classes and functions under appropriate namespaces, you improve code maintainability and readability.

  3. Clarity and Readability: Namespaces give meaningful context to your code. When you see a class or function with a namespace, you instantly know which part of the codebase it belongs to.

Benefits of Using Namespaces:

  1. Modular Code: Namespaces help create modular and reusable code, reducing code duplication and improving code organization.

  2. Collaboration: When working in teams, namespaces make it easier to work on different parts of the codebase without accidentally conflicting with each other's names.

  3. External Libraries: When using third-party libraries, namespaces ensure that their classes and functions don't clash with your own code.

  4. Autoloading: Namespaces work well with autoloading mechanisms, which automatically load the required class files when they're needed.

25. Comparing variable values in PHP and pitfalls. Type casting. What has changed in PHP 8 in this context?

Comparing Variable Values and Type Casting:

When comparing variable values in PHP, it's important to understand how different types are handled. PHP performs type juggling, which means it converts variables to a common type before making comparisons. This can lead to unexpected results if you're not careful. Here are some important points to consider:

  1. Loose Comparison: PHP allows loose comparisons using the == operator, where different types are converted to a common type for comparison. For example, 0 == "0" evaluates to true.

  2. Strict Comparison: The === operator performs strict comparisons, checking both value and type. For example, 0 === "0" evaluates to false.

  3. Type Casting: You can explicitly convert values to a specific type using type casting, like (int) or (string). This can be useful to ensure consistent comparisons.


  1. Type Juggling: Loose comparisons can lead to unexpected results. Always use strict comparisons when type consistency is crucial.

  2. Implicit Type Casting: Be cautious with implicit type casting. For instance, adding a string to a number will result in the number being treated as a string.

  3. Comparing Different Types: When comparing different types, like arrays and strings, ensure you're comparing them in a meaningful way.

Changes in PHP 8:

PHP 8 introduced the match expression, which provides better control over strict comparisons and reduces the potential for unexpected type juggling. The match expression is similar to a switch statement, but it performs strict comparisons without type coercion.

Example of using the match expression:

$value = "0";

$result = match($value) {
    0 => "Zero",
    "0" => "String zero",
    default => "Other",

echo $result; // Output: String zero

26. Explain the purpose and impact of declare(strict_types=1);.

The declare(strict_types=1); directive is used in PHP to enforce strict type checking for scalar type declarations in function and method parameters and return types. When this directive is used at the beginning of a script or a file, PHP will enforce strict type checks for all subsequent function and method calls within that scope.

Purpose and Impact:

  1. Type Safety: By declaring strict types, you ensure that the expected data types for function parameters and return values are adhered to strictly. This helps catch type-related errors during development rather than at runtime.

  2. Predictability: Strict type checking prevents unexpected type coercion, improving the predictability of your code's behavior.

  3. Compatibility: Enforcing strict types reduces the likelihood of subtle bugs that can occur due to implicit type casting.


Without strict_types:

function add($a, $b) {
    return $a + $b;

$result = add(5, "10"); // Produces 15 due to type juggling

With strict_types:


function add(int $a, int $b): int {
    return $a + $b;

$result = add(5, "10"); // Throws a TypeError due to strict type checking

It's important to note that strict_types only affects scalar types (int, float, string, bool). It does not enforce strict typing for non-scalar types like arrays or objects.

27. How does the session work in PHP? Where is it stored, and how is it initialized?

Session Handling in PHP:

A session in PHP is a way to store data that is accessible across multiple requests and pages for a single user. It allows you to maintain user-specific information, such as login credentials or shopping cart contents, throughout their interaction with your web application.

Session Storage:

  1. Server-Side Storage: By default, session data is stored on the server. The server generates a unique session ID for each user, which is usually stored in a cookie on the user's browser.

  2. File-Based Storage: The session data is typically stored in files on the server's file system. Each session ID corresponds to a separate file containing the session data.

  3. Other Storage Methods: Besides file-based storage, you can configure PHP to use other storage mechanisms, such as databases or external caching systems.

Session Initialization:

  1. Starting a Session: To start a session, you use the session_start() function at the beginning of your script. This function initializes or resumes an existing session based on the session ID provided in the request or a newly generated one if none is provided.

  2. Session ID: The session ID is usually stored in a cookie named PHPSESSID. When a user visits your website, their browser sends this cookie back to the server with each subsequent request, allowing PHP to associate the request with the correct session data.

  3. Session Data: You can store data in the session using the $_SESSION superglobal array. This data will be available throughout the user's session.


// Start or resume the session

// Store data in the session
$_SESSION['username'] = 'john_doe';
$_SESSION['cart'] = ['item1', 'item2'];

// Retrieve data from the session
$username = $_SESSION['username'];
$cart = $_SESSION['cart'];

// End the session

In this example, the session_start() function is used to start or resume a session. Data is stored in the $_SESSION array and can be accessed across different pages during the user's session. Finally, session_destroy() is used to end the session and clear the stored session data.

28. Super global arrays in PHP. Which ones do you know? How have you used them?

Super Global Arrays in PHP:

Super global arrays are arrays that are predefined in PHP and are accessible from any part of your script, regardless of scope. They store various types of data related to the web server, user input, and other global variables. Some commonly used super global arrays in PHP include:

  1. $_GET: Contains data sent to the script via HTTP GET method (query string parameters).

  2. $_POST: Contains data sent to the script via HTTP POST method (form data).

  3. $_REQUEST: Combines data from $_GET, $_POST, and $_COOKIE.

  4. $_SESSION: Holds session data that is available across different pages for a single user.

  5. $_COOKIE: Stores data sent from the client's browser as cookies.

  6. $_SERVER: Provides server and execution environment information.

  7. $_ENV: Contains environment variables.

  8. $_FILES: Contains information about uploaded files via HTTP POST.

  9. $_GLOBALS: Provides access to all global variables.

Usage of Super Global Arrays:

  1. Form Data Handling: When a form is submitted, you can use $_POST to retrieve the submitted data. For example, processing user input from a login form.

  2. URL Parameters: You can access query string parameters using $_GET, which is useful for creating dynamic URLs and passing data between pages.

  3. Session Management: $_SESSION allows you to manage session-specific data, like user authentication status or shopping cart contents.

  4. Cookie Handling: $_COOKIE helps you retrieve and manage cookies sent by the client's browser.

  5. Server Information: $_SERVER provides server-related information, such as the requested URL, server name, and user agent.

  6. File Uploads: $_FILES is used to handle uploaded files, allowing you to validate, save, or process them.


// Handling form data
    $username = $_POST['username'];
    $password = $_POST['password'];

    // Process user credentials

// Accessing session data
$_SESSION['cart'] = ['item1', 'item2'];

// Retrieving query string parameter
$productID = $_GET['id'];

// Handling uploaded file
$uploadedFile = $_FILES['file']['tmp_name'];
move_uploaded_file($uploadedFile, 'uploads/myfile.txt');

29. Compare include vs require, include_once vs require_once.

Include vs Require:

  1. include: Includes a specified file and continues script execution even if the file is not found or fails to include. If the file is not found, a warning is issued.

  2. require: Includes a specified file and stops script execution if the file is not found or fails to include. A fatal error is issued.

Include_once vs Require_once:

  1. include_once: Similar to include, but ensures that the file is included only once, even if it's called multiple times.

  2. require_once: Similar to require, but ensures that the file is included only once, even if it's called multiple times.

Use require or require_once when the included file is essential for the script's operation, and failure to include it should result in script termination. Use include or include_once when the included file is optional and the script can continue running even if the file is missing.


// Using require
require 'config.php'; // Fatal error if config.php is missing

// Using include
include 'utils.php'; // Continues execution even if utils.php is missing

// Using require_once
require_once 'header.php'; // Include header only once, even if called multiple times

// Using include_once
include_once 'footer.php'; // Include footer only once, even if called multiple times

30. What does algorithm complexity mean?

Algorithm Complexity:

Algorithm complexity refers to how the performance of an algorithm scales as the size of the input data increases. It provides an estimation of the resources (usually time and memory) required by an algorithm to solve a problem. Understanding algorithm complexity helps developers choose the most efficient algorithm for a given task, especially when dealing with large data sets.

Types of Algorithm Complexity:

  1. Time Complexity: Measures the number of basic operations (usually comparisons or assignments) performed by an algorithm as a function of the input size.

  2. Space Complexity: Measures the amount of memory used by an algorithm as a function of the input size.

Big O Notation:

Algorithm complexity is often expressed using Big O notation, which describes the upper bound of how the runtime or memory usage of an algorithm grows in relation to the input size. For example:

  • O(1): Constant time complexity (e.g., accessing an element in an array).

  • O(log n): Logarithmic time complexity (e.g., binary search).

  • O(n): Linear time complexity (e.g., iterating through an array).

  • O(n log n): Linearithmic time complexity (e.g., quicksort, mergesort).

  • O(n^2), O(n^3), ...: Polynomial time complexity (e.g., nested loops).

  • O(2^n), O(n!): Exponential and factorial time complexity (e.g., exhaustive search).


Consider searching for an element in an array:

function linearSearch($arr, $target) {
    foreach ($arr as $element) {
        if ($element === $target) {
            return true;
    return false;

In this case, the time complexity is O(n) because the number of iterations increases linearly with the size of the array.

Previous articles of the series:

Mastering the PHP Developer Interview: 100+ Technical Questions Answered. 1-15.