1. Accidental whitespace, often at the beginning or end of files, like this:
the space before “php opening tag”
To avoid this, simply leave out the closing ?> – it’s not required anyways.
2. “Byte order marks” at the beginning of a php file. Examine your php files with a hex editor to find out whether that’s the case. They should start with the bytes 3F 3C. You can safely remove the BOM EF BB BF from the start of files.
3. Explicit output, such as calls to echo, printf, readfile, passthru, code before php opening tag etc.
4. A warning outputted by php, if the display_errors php.ini property is set. Instead of crashing on a programmer mistake, php silently fixes the error and emits a warning. While you can modify the display_errors or error_reporting configurations, you should rather fix the problem. Common reasons are accesses to undefined elements of an array (such as $_POST[‘input’] without using empty or isset to test whether the input is set), or using an undefined constant instead of a string literal (as in $_POST[input], note the missing quotes).
Turning on output buffering should make the problem go away; all output after the call to ob_start is buffered in memory until you release the buffer, e.g. with ob_end_flush.
However, while output buffering avoids the issues, you should really determine why your application outputs an HTTP body before the HTTP header. That’d be like taking a phone call and discussing your day and the weather before telling the caller that he’s got the wrong number.
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