[Solved] ‘Malformed UTF-8 characters, possibly incorrectly encoded’ in Laravel

I’m using Laravel (a PHP framework) to write a service for mobile and have the data returned in JSON format. In the data result there are some fields encoded in UTF-8.

The following statement

return JsonResponse::create($data); 

returns the error below

Malformed UTF-8 characters, possibly incorrectly encoded

Open: /var/www/html/vendor/symfony/http-foundation/Symfony/Component/HttpFoundation/JsonResponse.php
        } catch (Exception $exception) {

            throw $exception;

        if (JSON_ERROR_NONE !== json_last_error()) {
            throw new InvalidArgumentException($this->transformJsonError());

I’ve changed:

return JsonResponse::create($data);


return JsonResponse::create($data, 200, array('Content-Type'=>'application/json; charset=utf-8' ));

but it still isn’t working.

How can I fix it?

Solution #1:

I wrote this method to handle UTF8 arrays and JSON problems. It works fine with array (simple and multidimensional).

 * Encode array from latin1 to utf8 recursively
 * @param $dat
 * @return array|string
   public static function convert_from_latin1_to_utf8_recursively($dat)
      if (is_string($dat)) {
         return utf8_encode($dat);
      } elseif (is_array($dat)) {
         $ret = [];
         foreach ($dat as $i => $d) $ret[ $i ] = self::convert_from_latin1_to_utf8_recursively($d);

         return $ret;
      } elseif (is_object($dat)) {
         foreach ($dat as $i => $d) $dat->$i = self::convert_from_latin1_to_utf8_recursively($d);

         return $dat;
      } else {
         return $dat;
// Sample use
// Just pass your array or string and the UTF8 encode will be fixed
$data = convert_from_latin1_to_utf8_recursively($data);
Respondent: Tiago Gouvêa

Solution #2:

I found the answer to this problem here

Just do

mb_convert_encoding($data['name'], 'UTF-8', 'UTF-8');
Respondent: Leo Leoncio

Solution #3:

In my case I had a ucfirst on the asian letters string. This was not possible and produced a non utf8 string.

Respondent: alex

Solution #4:

I’ve experienced the same problem. The thing is that I forgot to start the apache and mysql in xampp… :S

Respondent: Wal Heredia

Solution #5:

In my case, this causes error:

return response->json(["message" => "Model status successfully updated!", "data" => $model], 200);

but this not:

return response->json(["message" => "Model status successfully updated!", "data" => $model->toJson()], 200);
Respondent: ?.?.

Solution #6:

For more solution i have completed the solution of (the great) Tiago Gouvêa exposed before only for strings and arrays

i used md_convert_encoding() function instead of utf8_encode(), it works for me : (12 hours loosed …)

// this object return me a big array who have multiple arrays imbricated

$get_days = program::get_days($ARR, $client);

// and i use this function for well parsing what the server return *

                function convert_to_utf8_recursively($dat){
                      if( is_string($dat) ){
                         return mb_convert_encoding($dat, 'UTF-8', 'UTF-8');
                      elseif( is_array($dat) ){
                         $ret = [];
                         foreach($dat as $i => $d){
                           $ret[$i] = convert_to_utf8_recursively($d);
                         return $ret;
                         return $dat;

                // use 
                $data = convert_to_utf8_recursively($get_days);
  • what the server return *
    i talk to that because i test the same code in two different servers
    the first return me a well formatted json , without any function, as we usually do BUT the second server does not send me back anything if I do not apply this function …

Solution #7:

I know it’s already an old question, but i had the same error today. For me setting the connection variable on model did the work.

 * Table properties
protected $connection = 'mysql-utf8';
protected $table = 'notification';
protected $primaryKey = 'id';

I don’t know if the issue was with the database (probably), but the texts fields with special chars (like ~, ´ e etc) were all messed up.

—- Editing

That $connection var is used to select wich db connection your model will use. Sometimes it happens that in database.php (under /config folder) you have multiples connections and the default one is not using UTF-8 charset.

In any case, be sure to properly use charset and collation into your connection.

'connections' => [

    'mysql' => [
        'driver' => 'mysql',
        'host' => env('DB_HOST', ''),
        'port' => env('DB_PORT', '3306'),
        'database' => env('DB_DATABASE', 'your_database'),
        'username' => env('DB_USERNAME', 'root'),
        'password' => env('DB_PASSWORD', 'database_password'),
        'unix_socket' => env('DB_SOCKET', ''),
        'prefix' => '',
        'strict' => false,
        'engine' => null

    'mysql-utf8' => [
        'driver' => 'mysql',
        'host' => env('DB_HOST', ''),
        'port' => env('DB_PORT', '3306'),
        'database' => env('DB_DATABASE', 'your_database'),
        'username' => env('DB_USERNAME', 'root'),
        'password' => env('DB_PASSWORD', 'database_password'),
        'unix_socket' => env('DB_SOCKET', ''),
        'charset' => 'utf8',
        'collation' => 'utf8_unicode_ci',
        'prefix' => '',
        'strict' => false,
        'engine' => null
Respondent: ThiagoYou

Solution #8:

I got this error and i fixed the issue with iconv function like following:

iconv('latin5', 'utf-8', $data['index']);
Respondent: Bora

Solution #9:

First thing Correctly specify all settings in the .ENV file for Mail.



[email protected]
MAIL_PASSWORD=password //Create password for Apps in settings. NOT PASTE YOUR REAL MAIL PASSWORD
[email protected]
Respondent: Biblbroks42

Solution #10:

Set the charset at after you made the connection to db like

// Create connection
$conn = new mysqli($servername, $username, $password, $dbname);
// Check connection
if ($conn->connect_error) {
    die("Connection failed: " . $conn->connect_error);

if (!$conn->set_charset("utf8")) {
    printf("Error loading character set utf8: %sn", $conn->error);
} else {
    printf("Current character set: %sn", $conn->character_set_name());
Respondent: Tikam Chand

The answers/resolutions are collected from stackoverflow, are licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0 .

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