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Runtime Configuration

The behaviour of these functions is affected by settings in php.ini.

Output Control configuration options
Name Default Changeable Changelog
output_buffering "0" PHP_INI_PERDIR  
output_handler NULL PHP_INI_PERDIR Available since PHP 4.0.4.
implicit_flush "0" PHP_INI_ALL PHP_INI_PERDIR in PHP <= 4.2.3.
For further details and definitions of the PHP_INI_* modes, see the Where a configuration setting may be set.

Here's a short explanation of the configuration directives.

output_buffering boolean/integer

You can enable output buffering for all files by setting this directive to 'On'. If you wish to limit the size of the buffer to a certain size - you can use a maximum number of bytes instead of 'On', as a value for this directive (e.g., output_buffering=4096). As of PHP 4.3.5, this directive is always Off in PHP-CLI.

output_handler string

You can redirect all of the output of your scripts to a function. For example, if you set output_handler to mb_output_handler(), character encoding will be transparently converted to the specified encoding. Setting any output handler automatically turns on output buffering.

Note:

You cannot use both mb_output_handler() with ob_iconv_handler() and you cannot use both ob_gzhandler() and zlib.output_compression.

Note:

Only built-in functions can be used with this directive. For user defined functions, use ob_start().

implicit_flush boolean

FALSE by default. Changing this to TRUE tells PHP to tell the output layer to flush itself automatically after every output block. This is equivalent to calling the PHP function flush() after each and every call to print() or echo() and each and every HTML block.

When using PHP within an web environment, turning this option on has serious performance implications and is generally recommended for debugging purposes only. This value defaults to TRUE when operating under the CLI SAPI.

See also ob_implicit_flush().

PHP Manual