[Solved] PHP json encode – Malformed UTF-8 characters, possibly incorrectly encoded

I’m using json_encode($data) to an data array and there’s a field contains Russian characters.

I used this mb_detect_encoding() to display what encoding it is for that field and it displays UTF-8.

I think the json encode failed due to some bad characters in it like “???”. I tried alot of things utf8_encode on the data and it will by pass that error but then the data doesn’t look correct anymore.

What can be done with this issue?

Enquirer: sparkmix


Solution #1:

The issue happens if there are some non-utf8 characters inside even though most of them are utf8 chars. This will remove any non-utf8 characters and now it works.

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

Solution #2:

If you have a multidimensional array to encode in JSON format then you can use below function:

If JSON_ERROR_UTF8 occurred :

$encoded = json_encode( utf8ize( $responseForJS ) );

Below function is used to encode Array data recursively

/* Use it for json_encode some corrupt UTF-8 chars
 * useful for = malformed utf-8 characters possibly incorrectly encoded by json_encode
function utf8ize( $mixed ) {
    if (is_array($mixed)) {
        foreach ($mixed as $key => $value) {
            $mixed[$key] = utf8ize($value);
    } elseif (is_string($mixed)) {
        return mb_convert_encoding($mixed, "UTF-8", "UTF-8");
    return $mixed;
Respondent: Irshad Khan

Solution #3:

Please, make sure to initiate your Pdo object with the charset iso as utf8.
This should fix this problem avoiding any re-utf8izing dance.

$pdo = new PDO("mysql:host=localhost;dbname=mybase;charset=utf8", 'user', 'password');
Respondent: Tom Ah

Solution #4:

you just add in your pdo connection charset=utf8
like below line of pdo connection:

$pdo = new PDO("mysql:host=localhost;dbname=mybase;charset=utf8", 'user', 'password');

hope this will help you

Respondent: M.Bilal Murtaza

Solution #5:

Remove HTML entities before JSON encoding. I used html_entity_decode() in PHP and the problem was solved

$json = html_entity_decode($source);
$data = json_decode($json,true);
Respondent: jayashan perera

Solution #6:

With php 7.2, two options allow to manage invalid UTF-8 direcly in json_encode :

json_encode($text, JSON_INVALID_UTF8_IGNORE);


json_encode($text, JSON_INVALID_UTF8_SUBSTITUTE);
Respondent: hugsbrugs

Solution #7:

I know this is kind of an old topic, but for me it was what I needed. I just needed to modify the answer ‘jayashan perera’.

        $result = $stmt->fetchAll(PDO::FETCH_ASSOC);

        for ($i=0; $i < sizeof($result) ; $i++) { 
            $tempCnpj = $result[$i]['CNPJ'];
            $tempFornecedor = json_encode(html_entity_decode($result[$i]['Nome_fornecedor']),true) ;
            $tempData = $result[$i]['efetivado_data'];
            $tempNota = $result[$i]['valor_nota'];
            $arrResposta[$i] = ["Status"=>"true", "Cnpj"=>"$tempCnpj", "Fornecedor"=>$tempFornecedor, "Data"=>"$tempData", "Nota"=>"$tempNota" ];

        echo json_encode($arrResposta);

And no .js i have use

obj = JSON.parse(msg); 
Respondent: Fernando Coelho

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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