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Runtime Configuration

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

PCRE Configuration Options
Name Default Changeable Changelog
pcre.backtrack_limit "1000000" PHP_INI_ALL Available since PHP 5.2.0.
pcre.recursion_limit "100000" PHP_INI_ALL Available since PHP 5.2.0.
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.

pcre.backtrack_limit integer

PCRE's backtracking limit. Defaults to 100000 for PHP < 5.3.7.

pcre.recursion_limit integer

PCRE's recursion limit. Please note that if you set this value to a high number you may consume all the available process stack and eventually crash PHP (due to reaching the stack size limit imposed by the Operating System).

PHP Manual