Understanding PHP: Echo vs Print – Key Differences and Usage

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In PHP, both echo and print are used to output text to the screen, but there are some differences between them:

  1. Type:
    • echo is a language construct, not a function, so it doesn’t require parentheses.
    • print is technically a function, although it can be used without parentheses like a language construct.
  2. Return Value:
    • echo does not return any value.
    • print always returns 1, making it useful in expressions.
  3. Speed:
    • echo is marginally faster than print because it doesn’t return any value.
  4. Syntax:
    • echo can take multiple parameters (although not commonly used) like echo $var1, $var2;
    • print can only take one argument.
  5. Usage in Expressions:
    • Since print returns a value, it can be used in expressions, such as if (print $var) {...}
    • echo cannot be used in this way.


  • When to Use echo:
    • It’s a bit faster, though the speed difference is negligible in most cases.
    • When you need to output multiple strings, echo is slightly more convenient because you can separate them with commas.
  • When to Use print:
    • When you need a return value, for instance in an expression.
    • In situations where you are adhering to a coding standard that prefers functions over language constructs.

In practice, the choice between echo and print is often based on personal or team preference, as the performance difference is minimal for most applications.

Author: user