Replace URLs in text with HTML links


Here is a design though: For example is I put a link such as

in textarea. How do I get PHP to detect it’s a http:// link and then print it as

print "<a href=''></a>";

I remember doing something like this before however, it was not fool proof it kept breaking for complex links.

Another good idea would be if you have a link such as

fix it so it does

print "<a href=''>";
print "";
print "</a>";

This one is just an after thought.. stackoverflow could also probably use this as well :D

Any Ideas

11/9/2014 11:16:50 PM

Accepted Answer

Let's look at the requirements. You have some user-supplied plain text, which you want to display with hyperlinked URLs.

  1. The "http://" protocol prefix should be optional.
  2. Both domains and IP addresses should be accepted.
  3. Any valid top-level domain should be accepted, e.g. .aero and .xn--jxalpdlp.
  4. Port numbers should be allowed.
  5. URLs must be allowed in normal sentence contexts. For instance, in "Visit", the final period is not part of the URL.
  6. You probably want to allow "https://" URLs as well, and perhaps others as well.
  7. As always when displaying user supplied text in HTML, you want to prevent cross-site scripting (XSS). Also, you'll want ampersands in URLs to be correctly escaped as &amp;.
  8. You probably don't need support for IPv6 addresses.
  9. Edit: As noted in the comments, support for email-adresses is definitely a plus.
  10. Edit: Only plain text input is to be supported – HTML tags in the input should not be honoured. (The Bitbucket version supports HTML input.)

Edit: Check out Bitbucket for the latest version, with support for email addresses, authenticated URLs, URLs in quotes and parentheses, HTML input, as well as an updated TLD list.

Please report bugs and enhancement requests using the Bitbucket issue tracker. They're easier to keep track of that way (and don't clutter the comment area).

Here's my take:

$text = <<<EOD
Here are some URLs:
Here's the answer: What was the question?
A quick look at is helpful.
There is no place like! Except maybe
Beware of Greeks bringing internationalized top-level domains: xn--hxajbheg2az3al.xn--jxalpdlp.
And remember.Nobody is perfect.

<script>alert('Remember kids: Say no to XSS-attacks! Always HTML escape untrusted input!');</script>

$rexProtocol = '(https?://)?';
$rexDomain   = '((?:[-a-zA-Z0-9]{1,63}\.)+[-a-zA-Z0-9]{2,63}|(?:[0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3})';
$rexPort     = '(:[0-9]{1,5})?';
$rexPath     = '(/[!$-/0-9:;=@_\':;!a-zA-Z\x7f-\xff]*?)?';
$rexQuery    = '(\?[!$-/0-9:;=@_\':;!a-zA-Z\x7f-\xff]+?)?';
$rexFragment = '(#[!$-/0-9:;=@_\':;!a-zA-Z\x7f-\xff]+?)?';

// Solution 1:

function callback($match)
    // Prepend http:// if no protocol specified
    $completeUrl = $match[1] ? $match[0] : "http://{$match[0]}";

    return '<a href="' . $completeUrl . '">'
        . $match[2] . $match[3] . $match[4] . '</a>';

print "<pre>";
print preg_replace_callback("&\\b$rexProtocol$rexDomain$rexPort$rexPath$rexQuery$rexFragment(?=[?.!,;:\"]?(\s|$))&",
    'callback', htmlspecialchars($text));
print "</pre>";
  • To properly escape < and & characters, I throw the whole text through htmlspecialchars before processing. This is not ideal, as the html escaping can cause misdetection of URL boundaries.
  • As demonstrated by the "And remember.Nobody is perfect." line (in which remember.Nobody is treated as an URL, because of the missing space), further checking on valid top-level domains might be in order.

Edit: The following code fixes the above two problems, but is quite a bit more verbose since I'm more or less re-implementing preg_replace_callback using preg_match.

// Solution 2:

$validTlds = array_fill_keys(explode(" ", ".aero .asia .biz .cat .com .coop .edu .gov .info .int .jobs .mil .mobi .museum .name .net .org .pro .tel .travel .ac .ad .ae .af .ag .ai .al .am .an .ao .aq .ar .as .at .au .aw .ax .az .ba .bb .bd .be .bf .bg .bh .bi .bj .bm .bn .bo .br .bs .bt .bv .bw .by .bz .ca .cc .cd .cf .cg .ch .ci .ck .cl .cm .cn .co .cr .cu .cv .cx .cy .cz .de .dj .dk .dm .do .dz .ec .ee .eg .er .es .et .eu .fi .fj .fk .fm .fo .fr .ga .gb .gd .ge .gf .gg .gh .gi .gl .gm .gn .gp .gq .gr .gs .gt .gu .gw .gy .hk .hm .hn .hr .ht .hu .id .ie .il .im .in .io .iq .ir .is .it .je .jm .jo .jp .ke .kg .kh .ki .km .kn .kp .kr .kw .ky .kz .la .lb .lc .li .lk .lr .ls .lt .lu .lv .ly .ma .mc .md .me .mg .mh .mk .ml .mm .mn .mo .mp .mq .mr .ms .mt .mu .mv .mw .mx .my .mz .na .nc .ne .nf .ng .ni .nl .no .np .nr .nu .nz .om .pa .pe .pf .pg .ph .pk .pl .pm .pn .pr .ps .pt .pw .py .qa .re .ro .rs .ru .rw .sa .sb .sc .sd .se .sg .sh .si .sj .sk .sl .sm .sn .so .sr .st .su .sv .sy .sz .tc .td .tf .tg .th .tj .tk .tl .tm .tn .to .tp .tr .tt .tv .tw .tz .ua .ug .uk .us .uy .uz .va .vc .ve .vg .vi .vn .vu .wf .ws .ye .yt .yu .za .zm .zw .xn--0zwm56d .xn--11b5bs3a9aj6g .xn--80akhbyknj4f .xn--9t4b11yi5a .xn--deba0ad .xn--g6w251d .xn--hgbk6aj7f53bba .xn--hlcj6aya9esc7a .xn--jxalpdlp .xn--kgbechtv .xn--zckzah .arpa"), true);

$position = 0;
while (preg_match("{\\b$rexProtocol$rexDomain$rexPort$rexPath$rexQuery$rexFragment(?=[?.!,;:\"]?(\s|$))}", $text, &$match, PREG_OFFSET_CAPTURE, $position))
    list($url, $urlPosition) = $match[0];

    // Print the text leading up to the URL.
    print(htmlspecialchars(substr($text, $position, $urlPosition - $position)));

    $domain = $match[2][0];
    $port   = $match[3][0];
    $path   = $match[4][0];

    // Check if the TLD is valid - or that $domain is an IP address.
    $tld = strtolower(strrchr($domain, '.'));
    if (preg_match('{\.[0-9]{1,3}}', $tld) || isset($validTlds[$tld]))
        // Prepend http:// if no protocol specified
        $completeUrl = $match[1][0] ? $url : "http://$url";

        // Print the hyperlink.
        printf('<a href="%s">%s</a>', htmlspecialchars($completeUrl), htmlspecialchars("$domain$port$path"));
        // Not a valid URL.

    // Continue text parsing from after the URL.
    $position = $urlPosition + strlen($url);

// Print the remainder of the text.
print(htmlspecialchars(substr($text, $position)));
12/11/2013 6:21:51 PM

Here is something i found that is tried and tested

function make_links_blank($text)
  return  preg_replace(
             ([^="\']?)((?:https?|ftp|bf2|):\/\/[^<> \n\r]+)
       '/(^|\s)(www.[^<> \n\r]+)/iex',
       "stripslashes((strlen('\\2')>0?'\\1<a href=\"\\2\">\\2</a>\\3':'\\0'))",
       '<a\\1 target="_blank">',
       "stripslashes((strlen('\\2')>0?'\\1<a href=\"http://\\2\">\\2</a>\\3':'\\0'))",
       "stripslashes((strlen('\\2')>0?'<a href=\"mailto:\\0\">\\0</a>':'\\0'))"

It works for me. And it works for emails and URL's, Sorry to answer my own question. :(

But this one is the only that works

Here is the link where i found it :

Sry in advance for it being a experts-exchange.

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