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How to install HTML Purifier
HTML Purifier is designed to run out of the box, so actually using the
library is extremely easy. (Although... if you were looking for a
step-by-step installation GUI, you've downloaded the wrong software!)
While the impatient can get going immediately with some of the sample
code at the bottom of this library, it's well worth reading this entire
document--most of the other documentation assumes that you are familiar
with these contents.
1. Compatibility
HTML Purifier is PHP 5 only, and is actively tested from PHP 5.0.5 and
up. It has no core dependencies with other libraries. PHP
4 support was deprecated on December 31, 2007 with HTML Purifier 3.0.0.
HTML Purifier is not compatible with zend.ze1_compatibility_mode.
These optional extensions can enhance the capabilities of HTML Purifier:
* iconv : Converts text to and from non-UTF-8 encodings
* bcmath : Used for unit conversion and imagecrash protection
* tidy : Used for pretty-printing HTML
These optional libraries can enhance the capabilities of HTML Purifier:
* CSSTidy : Clean CSS stylesheets using %Core.ExtractStyleBlocks
* Net_IDNA2 (PEAR) : IRI support using %Core.EnableIDNA
2. Reconnaissance
A big plus of HTML Purifier is its inerrant support of standards, so
your web-pages should be standards-compliant. (They should also use
semantic markup, but that's another issue altogether, one HTML Purifier
cannot fix without reading your mind.)
HTML Purifier can process these doctypes:
* XHTML 1.0 Transitional (default)
* XHTML 1.0 Strict
* HTML 4.01 Transitional
* HTML 4.01 Strict
* XHTML 1.1
...and these character encodings:
* UTF-8 (default)
* Any encoding iconv supports (with crippled internationalization support)
These defaults reflect what my choices would be if I were authoring an
HTML document, however, what you choose depends on the nature of your
codebase. If you don't know what doctype you are using, you can determine
the doctype from this identifier at the top of your source code:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
...and the character encoding from this code:
<meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html;charset=ENCODING">
If the character encoding declaration is missing, STOP NOW, and
read 'docs/enduser-utf8.html' (web accessible at In fact, even if it is
present, read this document anyway, as many websites specify their
document's character encoding incorrectly.
3. Including the library
The procedure is quite simple:
require_once '/path/to/library/';
This will setup an autoloader, so the library's files are only included
when you use them.
Only the contents in the library/ folder are necessary, so you can remove
everything else when using HTML Purifier in a production environment.
If you installed HTML Purifier via PEAR, all you need to do is:
require_once '';
Please note that the usual PEAR practice of including just the classes you
want will not work with HTML Purifier's autoloading scheme.
Advanced users, read on; other users can skip to section 4.
Autoload compatibility
HTML Purifier attempts to be as smart as possible when registering an
autoloader, but there are some cases where you will need to change
your own code to accomodate HTML Purifier. These are those cases:
Because spl_autoload_register() doesn't exist in early versions
of PHP 5, HTML Purifier has no way of adding itself to the autoload
stack. Modify your __autoload function to test
For example, suppose your autoload function looks like this:
function __autoload($class) {
require str_replace('_', '/', $class) . '.php';
return true;
A modified version with HTML Purifier would look like this:
function __autoload($class) {
if (HTMLPurifier_Bootstrap::autoload($class)) return true;
require str_replace('_', '/', $class) . '.php';
return true;
Note that there *is* some custom behavior in our autoloader; the
original autoloader in our example would work for 99% of the time,
but would fail when including language files.
spl_autoload_register() has the curious behavior of disabling
the existing __autoload() handler. Users need to explicitly
spl_autoload_register('__autoload'). Because we use SPL when it
is available, __autoload() will ALWAYS be disabled. If __autoload()
is declared before HTML Purifier is loaded, this is not a problem:
HTML Purifier will register the function for you. But if it is
declared afterwards, it will mysteriously not work. This
snippet of code (after your autoloader is defined) will fix it:
Users should also be on guard if they use a version of PHP previous
to 5.1.2 without an autoloader--HTML Purifier will define __autoload()
for you, which can collide with an autoloader that was added by *you*
For better performance
Opcode caches, which greatly speed up PHP initialization for scripts
with large amounts of code (HTML Purifier included), don't like
autoloaders. We offer an include file that includes all of HTML Purifier's
files in one go in an opcode cache friendly manner:
// If /path/to/library isn't already in your include path, uncomment
// the below line:
// require '/path/to/library/HTMLPurifier.path.php';
require 'HTMLPurifier.includes.php';
Optional components still need to be included--you'll know if you try to
use a feature and you get a class doesn't exists error! The autoloader
can be used in conjunction with this approach to catch classes that are
missing. Simply add this afterwards:
require 'HTMLPurifier.autoload.php';
Standalone version
HTML Purifier has a standalone distribution; you can also generate
a standalone file from the full version by running the script
maintenance/generate-standalone.php . The standalone version has the
benefit of having most of its code in one file, so parsing is much
faster and the library is easier to manage.
If HTMLPurifier.standalone.php exists in the library directory, you
can use it like this:
require '/path/to/HTMLPurifier.standalone.php';
This is equivalent to including HTMLPurifier.includes.php, except that
the contents of standalone/ will be added to your path. To override this
behavior, specify a new HTMLPURIFIER_PREFIX where standalone files can
be found (usually, this will be one directory up, the "true" library
directory in full distributions). Don't forget to set your path too!
The autoloader can be added to the end to ensure the classes are
loaded when necessary; otherwise you can manually include them.
To use the autoloader, use this:
require 'HTMLPurifier.autoload.php';
For advanced users
------------------ performs a number of operations that can be done
individually. These are:
Puts /path/to/library in the include path. For high performance,
this should be done in php.ini.
Registers our autoload handler HTMLPurifier_Bootstrap::autoload($class).
You can do these operations by yourself--in fact, you must modify your own
autoload handler if you are using a version of PHP earlier than PHP 5.1.2
(See "Autoload compatibility" above).
4. Configuration
HTML Purifier is designed to run out-of-the-box, but occasionally HTML
Purifier needs to be told what to do. If you answer no to any of these
questions, read on; otherwise, you can skip to the next section (or, if you're
into configuring things just for the heck of it, skip to 4.3).
* Am I using UTF-8?
* Am I using XHTML 1.0 Transitional?
If you answered no to any of these questions, instantiate a configuration
object and read on:
$config = HTMLPurifier_Config::createDefault();
4.1. Setting a different character encoding
You really shouldn't use any other encoding except UTF-8, especially if you
plan to support multilingual websites (read section three for more details).
However, switching to UTF-8 is not always immediately feasible, so we can
HTML Purifier uses iconv to support other character encodings, as such,
any encoding that iconv supports <>
HTML Purifier supports with this code:
$config->set('Core.Encoding', /* put your encoding here */);
An example usage for Latin-1 websites (the most common encoding for English
$config->set('Core.Encoding', 'ISO-8859-1');
Note that HTML Purifier's support for non-Unicode encodings is crippled by the
fact that any character not supported by that encoding will be silently
dropped, EVEN if it is ampersand escaped. If you want to work around
this, you are welcome to read docs/enduser-utf8.html for a fix,
but please be cognizant of the issues the "solution" creates (for this
reason, I do not include the solution in this document).
4.2. Setting a different doctype
For those of you using HTML 4.01 Transitional, you can disable
XHTML output like this:
$config->set('HTML.Doctype', 'HTML 4.01 Transitional');
Other supported doctypes include:
* HTML 4.01 Strict
* HTML 4.01 Transitional
* XHTML 1.0 Strict
* XHTML 1.0 Transitional
* XHTML 1.1
4.3. Other settings
There are more configuration directives which can be read about
here: <> They're a bit boring,
but they can help out for those of you who like to exert maximum control over
your code. Some of the more interesting ones are configurable at the
demo <> and are well worth looking into
for your own system.
For example, you can fine tune allowed elements and attributes, convert
relative URLs to absolute ones, and even autoparagraph input text! These
are, respectively, %HTML.Allowed, %URI.MakeAbsolute and %URI.Base, and
%AutoFormat.AutoParagraph. The %Namespace.Directive naming convention
translates to:
$config->set('Namespace.Directive', $value);
$config->set('HTML.Allowed', 'p,b,a[href],i');
$config->set('URI.Base', '');
$config->set('URI.MakeAbsolute', true);
$config->set('AutoFormat.AutoParagraph', true);
5. Caching
HTML Purifier generates some cache files (generally one or two) to speed up
its execution. For maximum performance, make sure that
library/HTMLPurifier/DefinitionCache/Serializer is writeable by the webserver.
If you are in the library/ folder of HTML Purifier, you can set the
appropriate permissions using:
chmod -R 0755 HTMLPurifier/DefinitionCache/Serializer
If the above command doesn't work, you may need to assign write permissions
to all. This may be necessary if your webserver runs as nobody, but is
not recommended since it means any other user can write files in the
directory. Use:
chmod -R 0777 HTMLPurifier/DefinitionCache/Serializer
You can also chmod files via your FTP client; this option
is usually accessible by right clicking the corresponding directory and
then selecting "chmod" or "file permissions".
Starting with 2.0.1, HTML Purifier will generate friendly error messages
that will tell you exactly what you have to chmod the directory to, if in doubt,
follow its advice.
If you are unable or unwilling to give write permissions to the cache
directory, you can either disable the cache (and suffer a performance
$config->set('Core.DefinitionCache', null);
Or move the cache directory somewhere else (no trailing slash):
$config->set('Cache.SerializerPath', '/home/user/absolute/path');
6. Using the code
The interface is mind-numbingly simple:
$purifier = new HTMLPurifier($config);
$clean_html = $purifier->purify( $dirty_html );
That's it! For more examples, check out docs/examples/ (they aren't very
different though). Also, docs/enduser-slow.html gives advice on what to
do if HTML Purifier is slowing down your application.
7. Quick install
First, make sure library/HTMLPurifier/DefinitionCache/Serializer is
writable by the webserver (see Section 5: Caching above for details).
If your website is in UTF-8 and XHTML Transitional, use this code:
require_once '/path/to/htmlpurifier/library/';
$config = HTMLPurifier_Config::createDefault();
$purifier = new HTMLPurifier($config);
$clean_html = $purifier->purify($dirty_html);
If your website is in a different encoding or doctype, use this code:
require_once '/path/to/htmlpurifier/library/';
$config = HTMLPurifier_Config::createDefault();
$config->set('Core.Encoding', 'ISO-8859-1'); // replace with your encoding
$config->set('HTML.Doctype', 'HTML 4.01 Transitional'); // replace with your doctype
$purifier = new HTMLPurifier($config);
$clean_html = $purifier->purify($dirty_html);
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