SQLite is a serverless, configuration-free and reliable database engine used on everything from iPods to Mobile apps. It can also be used for small web applications as well. With SQLite, you can get an application up and running without worrying about a full blown MySQL or PostgreSQL server install...and best of all it can be easily backed up or put into version control.

Here we are going to use SQLite with PHP using PHP's built in PDO function.

Start off by moving to your project directory and then create a new SQLite database in terminal:

$ sqlite3 db.sqlite

SQLite will now open. Create a new database:

year INT(4) NOT NULL,

Now type .schema to verify you table is created. You should see the database schema. Let's insert some values into the database:

INSERT INTO garage(year, make, model) VALUES
(1991, 'Ferrari', 'Testarossa'),
(1994, 'Acura', 'NSX'),
(1992, 'Toyota', 'Corolla');

Finally, query the database to make sure all the values were inserted:

SELECT * FROM garage;

Exit SQLite using the .exit command. You should now see the db.sqlite file created in your current working directory.

Selecting data from SQLite in PHP

Now we are going to select some data from the SQLite database using PHP's built in PDO function. Create a new PHP file and use this function to connect using PDO:

// General database query
function dbQuery($sql, $params)
// set PDO for SQLite
$db = new PDO("sqlite:db.sqlite");

// query the database using the sql from the parameter
foreach($db->query($sql) as $row)
// loop through the parameters given in the function
// to only get those with the right key
foreach($params as $param)
$objectParams[$param] = $row[$param];
// store the object params in an objects array
$objects[] = $objectParams;
// clear out the params array for next loop
$objectParams = null;
$db = null;

return $objects;

You can read through the comments of the function to see how it all works, but basically what happens here is the function queries the database and loops through looking for the specified parameters.

Next, lets create a function that will get all the cars in the database. Just below the dbQuery function, add this:

function getAllCars()
$sql = "SELECT * FROM garage";

// set the params to query
$params = ['year', 'make', 'model'];

$cars = dbQuery($sql, $params);
return $cars;

Here we are calling our dbQuery function using the select all statement as our function parameter. Now if we add this just below our getAllCars function and run the PHP file, the output should show all the cars in the database:

$cars = getAllCars();

We'll add one more function in order to narrow down our search, a query by param function:

function getCarsByParam($param, $search=NULL)
$sql = "SELECT * FROM garage WHERE " . $param . " LIKE '%" . $search . "%'";
$sql = "SELECT * FROM garage WHERE " . $param";
$cars = dbQuery($sql);
return $cars;

Here we will be searching the database for a term like the $search term and a param like the $param. Add this below the getCarsByParam function to test it out:

$cars = getCarsByParam('year', '1991');

That about wraps it up for a nice intro to using PHP with SQLite.

← Home

Edit this page on GitHub