How to Include a PHP Variable Inside a MySQL Statement

When working with PHP and MySQL, it is common to need to insert values into the database using variables. However, including a PHP variable inside a MySQL statement can be a bit tricky and may lead to errors if not done properly. In this article, we will explore the correct way to include a PHP variable inside a MySQL statement, along with examples and code snippets to demonstrate the process.

Understanding the Issue

The problem you are facing is that when you include the variable $type inside the VALUES section of your MySQL statement, it causes the query to fail. This is because the value of the variable is not properly formatted within the query string.

The Solution

The solution to this problem lies in appropriately formatting the PHP variable inside the MySQL statement. There are two approaches to achieve this:

  1. Concatenating the PHP variable with the MySQL statement
  2. Using prepared statements

1. Concatenating the PHP Variable

In this approach, we concatenate the PHP variable with the MySQL statement using the concatenation operator (.):

$type = 'testing';
$query = "INSERT INTO contents (type, reporter, description) 
          VALUES ('" . $type . "', 'john', 'whatever')";

In this example, we wrap the value of the $type variable with single quotes to ensure it is treated as a string in the query.

2. Using Prepared Statements

Prepared statements offer a more secure and efficient way to include variables in SQL queries. Here is an example of using prepared statements in PHP:

$type = 'testing';
$reporter = 'john';
$description = 'whatever';

// Create a prepared statement
$stmt = $mysqli->prepare("INSERT INTO contents (type, reporter, description) 
                          VALUES (?, ?, ?)");

// Bind parameters to the statement
$stmt->bind_param("sss", $type, $reporter, $description);

// Execute the statement

In this example, we use the prepare() method to create a prepared statement, bind_param() to bind the variables to the statement, and execute() to execute the statement.

Benefits of Using Prepared Statements

Using prepared statements offers several benefits:

  • Automatic escaping: Prepared statements automatically escape special characters, preventing SQL injection attacks.
  • Improved performance: Prepared statements are compiled once and can be executed multiple times with different parameters, reducing database overhead.
  • Readable code: Prepared statements make the code more readable and maintainable by separating the query logic from the data.


Including a PHP variable inside a MySQL statement requires proper formatting and consideration of security implications. By following the recommended approaches mentioned in this article, you can safely and efficiently insert variables into your MySQL queries. Remember to choose the method that best suits your needs, taking into account security and performance requirements.