Array Functions

PHP count() Function

Topic: PHP Array ReferencePrev|Next


The count() function count all elements in an array, or something in an object.

The following table summarizes the technical details of this function.

Return Value: Returns the number of elements in an array.
Changelog: Since PHP 7.2.0 this function yield a warning on invalid countable types.
Version: PHP 4+


The basic syntax of the count() function is given with:

count(array, mode);

The following example shows the count() function in action.

// Sample array
$cars = array("Audi", "BMW", "Volvo", "Toyota");
// Display array elements count
echo count($cars);


The count() function accepts two parameters.

Parameter Description
array Required. Specifies an array or countable object.
mode Optional. If it is set to COUNT_RECURSIVE (or 1), count() will recursively count the array. This is particularly useful for counting all the elements of a multidimensional array.

Note: The count() function may return 0 for a variable that isn't set, or has been initialized with an empty array. Use isset() function to test if a variable is set.

More Examples

Here're some more examples showing how count() function basically works:

The following example demonstrates how to count all the elements in a multidimensional array recursively using the count() function. Let's try it out and see how it works:

// Sample array
$cars = array(
    "Audi" => array("RS7", "A8"), 
    "BMW" => array("Z4", "X7", "M8"), 
    "Mercedes" => array("GLA", "GLS"),
    "Volvo" => array("XC90")

// Getting normal count
echo sizeof($cars); // Prints: 4   

// Getting recursive count
echo sizeof($cars, 1); // Prints: 12

If you want to use count($object) and get the expected results your class has to implement the Countable interface, as demonstrates in the following example:

class MyClass implements Countable
    protected $number = 4;

    public function count(){
        return $this->number;


// Creating object
$countable = new MyClass();
echo count($countable); // Prints: 4
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