html – PHP Contact Form Validation Not Working Properly-ThrowExceptions

Exception or error:

I’m developing a contact form using PHP. I currently have the PHP script functioning to send an E-Mail. My questions are regarding PHP form validation. Required fields are name, email, subject, and message. When I submit the required form fields as blank, error messages are prompted correctly. However, when I fill in some of the required fields like name, subject, and message but leave the E-Mail field blank it still executes PHP mail function. I’ve added an if statement that checks all required fields are not empty and another to check email validity.
I appreciate any help to fix e-mail validation and improve efficiency. Thanks!

/* contact.php */
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <title>Contact Us</title>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <meta name="author" content="">
    <meta name="description" content="">
    <meta name="keywords" content="">
    <meta name="theme-color" content="#000000">
    <!-- Bootstrap 4 CSS -->
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="" integrity="sha384-Vkoo8x4CGsO3+Hhxv8T/Q5PaXtkKtu6ug5TOeNV6gBiFeWPGFN9MuhOf23Q9Ifjh" crossorigin="anonymous">
    <!-- FontAwesome Icons and CSS-->   
    <script src="" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>
    <!-- FontAwesome Social Media Icons -->
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="">
    <!-- Google Fonts - Karma -->    
    <link href="" rel="stylesheet">
    <!-- styles CSS file -->
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/styles.css">
    <!-- Favicon -->
    <link rel="shortcut icon" href="images/icons/green-leave.ico">
    <!-- apple-touch Icon--> 
   <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="images/apple-touch-icon-iphone-60x60.png">

<main id="mainContent" tabindex="-1">
<div class="container-fluid">
<div class="row"> 
<div class="col-md-12">
   <h1 class="font-weight-bold text-center">Contact Us</h1>
    <img src="images/logo.png" alt="" class="logo-contact mx-auto d-block">
    <?php require 'handleEmail.php'; ?>
    <p class="text-center">Do you have any questions? Please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Our team will come back to you within
        a matter of hours to help you.</p>
    <p class="text-center"><span class="error">* Required field</span></p> 
    <div class="card mb-4 bg-Green rounded">  
    <form action="<?php echo htmlspecialchars($_SERVER["PHP_SELF"]);?>" method="POST" id="contact-form" name="contact-form" enctype="multipart/form-data" class="mt-4 ml-3 mr-3 p-3">
              <legend class="undrline">Personal Information:</legend>
            <div class="form-group">
            <span class="error">*</span>
            <label for="name" class="font-weight-bolder">Name:</label> <span class="error"> <?php echo $nameErr;?></span> 
            <input type="text" id="name" name="name" class="form-control input-name mb-4" placeholder="Enter your Name">

            <div class="form-group">
            <span class="error">*</span>  
            <label for="email" class="font-weight-bolder">E-Mail:</label> <span class="error"> <?php echo $emailErr;?></span>       
            <input type="text" id="email" name="email" class="form-control input-email mb-4" placeholder="Enter your E-Mail">

            <div class="form-group">
            <span class="error">*</span>             
            <label for="subject" class="font-weight-bolder">Subject:</label>  <span class="error"> <?php echo $subjectErr;?></span>   
            <input type="text" id="subject" name="subject" class="form-control input-subjct mb-4" placeholder="Enter your Subject line">

            <div class="form-group">
            <span class="error">* <?php echo $cityErr;?></span>             
            <label for="city" class="font-weight-bolder">City:</label>  <span class="error"> <?php echo $cityErr;?></span>   
            <input type="text" id="city" name="city" class="form-control input-city mb-4" placeholder="Enter your City">

<div class="form-group">
<span class="error">* <?php echo $stateErr;?></span> 
<label for="state" class="font-weight-bolder">State:</label>  <span class="error"> <?php echo $stateErr;?></span>         
<select class="form-control" name="state" id="state">
    <option value="" selected>Select</option>
    <option value="AL">Alabama</option>
    <option value="AK">Alaska</option>
    <option value="AZ">Arizona</option>
    <option value="AR">Arkansas</option>
    <option value="CA">California</option>
    <option value="CO">Colorado</option>
    <option value="CT">Connecticut</option>
    <option value="DE">Delaware</option>
    <option value="DC">District Of Columbia</option>
    <option value="FL">Florida</option>
    <option value="GA">Georgia</option>
    <option value="HI">Hawaii</option>
    <option value="ID">Idaho</option>
    <option value="IL">Illinois</option>
    <option value="IN">Indiana</option>
    <option value="IA">Iowa</option>
    <option value="KS">Kansas</option>
    <option value="KY">Kentucky</option>
    <option value="LA">Louisiana</option>
    <option value="ME">Maine</option>
    <option value="MD">Maryland</option>
    <option value="MA">Massachusetts</option>
    <option value="MI">Michigan</option>
    <option value="MN">Minnesota</option>
    <option value="MS">Mississippi</option>
    <option value="MO">Missouri</option>
    <option value="MT">Montana</option>
    <option value="NE">Nebraska</option>
    <option value="NV">Nevada</option>
    <option value="NH">New Hampshire</option>
    <option value="NJ">New Jersey</option>
    <option value="NM">New Mexico</option>
    <option value="NY">New York</option>
    <option value="NC">North Carolina</option>
    <option value="ND">North Dakota</option>
    <option value="OH">Ohio</option>
    <option value="OK">Oklahoma</option>
    <option value="OR">Oregon</option>
    <option value="PA">Pennsylvania</option>
    <option value="RI">Rhode Island</option>
    <option value="SC">South Carolina</option>
    <option value="SD">South Dakota</option>
    <option value="TN">Tennessee</option>
    <option value="TX">Texas</option>
    <option value="UT">Utah</option>
    <option value="VT">Vermont</option>
    <option value="VA">Virginia</option>
    <option value="WA">Washington</option>
    <option value="WV">West Virginia</option>
    <option value="WI">Wisconsin</option>
    <option value="WY">Wyoming</option>

            <div class="form-group">
            <span class="error">* <?php echo $eduErr;?></span>   
            <label for="edulevel" class="font-weight-bolder">Education Level (only GED required):</label>
            <span class="error"> <?php echo $eduErr;?></span>
            <select class="form-control" name="edulevel" id="edulevel">
               <option value="" selected>Select</option>
                <option value="GED">GED</option>
                <option value="Some College">Some College</option>
                <option value="Associate's Degree">Associate's</option>
                <option value="Bachellor's Degree">Bachellor's</option>
                <option value="Master's Degree">Master's</option>
                <option value="PhD Degree">PhD</option>

            <div class="form-group">
            <span class="error">*</span>             
            <label for="fieldstudy" class="font-weight-bolder">Field of Study:</label>  <span class="error"> <?php echo $fdstudyErr;?></span>   
            <input type="text" id="fieldstudy" name="fieldstudy" class="form-control input-field_study mb-4" placeholder="Enter your Field of Study">
<p class="lead"> <span class="error mr-2">*</span>Are you currently employed?</p>                        
<div class="form-check-inline">    
  <label class="form-check-label">
    <input type="radio" class="form-check-input mb-4" name="employd" value="Employed">Yes
<div class="form-check-inline">
  <label class="form-check-label">
    <input type="radio" class="form-check-input mb-4" name="employd" value="Not employed">No

            <div class="form-group">
            <span class="error">*</span>            
            <label for="message" class="font-weight-bolder">Message:</label> <span class="error"> <?php echo $messageErr;?></span>        
            <textarea type="text" id="message" name="message" rows="10" cols="30" class="form-control mb-4" placeholder="Your message goes here..."></textarea>

            <!-- Upload file(s) form input field-->

          <!--  <label for="uploadFile" class="font-weight-bolder">Attachments:</label>
            <input id="uploadFile" placeholder="Choose File" name="file" class="input-file">
        <div class="fileUpload btn btn-primary btn-rounded">
          <input id="uploadBtn" type="file" class="upload float-left" name="file[]" aria-label="Upload file" multiple>
        </div> -->

            <div class="text-center">
                <button type="submit" class="btn btn-submit float-left mb-4" name="btnSubmit">Send</button>


        <div class="col-md-12 text-center">
            <ul class="list-unstyled mb-0">
                <li><i class="fas fa-map-marker-alt fa-2x"></i>
                    <p class="lead">76 Henderson Street, Pontiac, MI 48341</p>

                <li><i class="fas fa-phone mt-4 fa-2x"></i>
                    <p class="lead">+ (248)-703-0288</p>

                <li><i class="fas fa-envelope mt-4 fa-2x"></i>
                    <p class="lead"></p>


<!-- jQuery -->   
<script src=""></script>

<!-- Popper.JS-->
<script src="js/Popper.js"></script>

<!-- Bootstrap minified JS -->
<script src="" integrity="sha384-wfSDF2E50Y2D1uUdj0O3uMBJnjuUD4Ih7YwaYd1iqfktj0Uod8GCExl3Og8ifwB6" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>

<!-- Website's JS -->    
<script src="js/Site.js"></script>                                 


/* handleEmail.php */

// Define variables    

$name = $email = $subject = $city = $state = $edulevel = $fieldstudy = $employd = $message = "";
$nameErr = $emailErr = $subjectErr = $cityErr = $stateErr = $eduErr = $fdstudyErr = $employErr = $messageErr = "";
$success_message = "<strong>E-Mail sent successfully!</strong>";
$error_message = "Error occurred - E-Mail Failure";

if (isset($_POST["btnSubmit"])) {

  $name = $_POST["name"];
  $email = $_POST["email"];
  $subject = $_POST["subject"];
  $city = $_POST["city"];
  $state = $_POST["state"];
  $edulevel = $_POST["edulevel"];
  $fieldstudy = $_POST["fieldstudy"];  
  $employd = $_POST["employd"];
  $message = $_POST["message"];

  $name = test_input($_POST["name"]);
  $email = test_input($_POST["email"]);
  $subject = test_input($_POST["subject"]);
  $city = test_input($_POST["city"]);
  $state = test_input($_POST["state"]);
  $edulevel = test_input($_POST["edulevel"]);
  $employd = test_input($_POST["employd"]);     
  $message = test_input($_POST["message"]);

  if (empty($_POST["name"])) {
    $nameErr = "Name is Required!";
  } else {
    $name = test_input($_POST["name"]);
    // check if name only contains letters and whitespace
    if (!preg_match("/^[a-zA-Z ]*$/",$name)) {
      $nameErr = "Only letters and white space allowed"; 

  if (empty($_POST["email"])) {
    $emailErr = "E-Mail is Required!";
  } else {
    $email = test_input($_POST["email"]);
      if (!filter_var($email, FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL)) {
       $emailErr = "Invalid email format"; 

       if (!preg_match("/^[_a-z0-9-]+(\.[_a-z0-9-]+)*@[a-z0-9-]+(\.[a-z0-9-]+)*(\.[a-z]{2,3})$/i",$email)) {
      $emailErr = "Enter a valid E-Mail!"; 

 if (empty($_POST["subject"])) {
    $subjectErr = "A Subject is Required!";
  } else {
    $subject = test_input($_POST["subject"]);

 if (empty($_POST["city"])) {
    $cityErr = "";
  } else {
    $city = test_input($_POST["city"]);

 if (empty($_POST["state"])) {
    $stateErr = "";
  } else {
    $state = test_input($_POST["state"]);

 if (empty($_POST["edulevel"])) {
    $eduErr = "";
  } else {
    $edulevel = test_input($_POST["edulevel"]);

 if (empty($_POST["fieldstudy"])) {
    $fdstudyErr = "";
  } else {
    $fieldstudy = test_input($_POST["fieldstudy"]);

 if (empty($_POST["employd"])) {
    $employErr = "";
  } else {
    $employd = test_input($_POST["employd"]);

 if (empty($_POST["message"])) {
    $messageErr = "Message is Required!";
  } else {
    $message = test_input($_POST["message"]);

if ( !($name='') && !($email='') && !($subject=='') && !($message=='') ) {
        // check if e-mail address is well-formed
        if (!preg_match("/^[_a-z0-9-]+(\.[_a-z0-9-]+)*@[a-z0-9-]+(\.[a-z0-9-]+)*(\.[a-z]{2,3})$/i",$email)) {
      $emailErr = "Invalid email format";  

    $body = '<!DOCTYPE html> <html>
         <h2>My Company</h2>
          <p>Name: <br>'.$name.' </p>
          <p>Subject: <br>'.$subject.' </p>
          <p>E-Mail: <br>'.$email.' </p>
          <p>City: <br>'.$city.' </p>
          <p>State: <br>'.$state.' </p>
           <p>Education Level: <br>'.$edulevel.' </p>
           <p>Field of Study: <br>'.$fieldstudy.' </p>
           p>Employment status: <br>'.$employd.' </p>
         <p> Message: <br>'.$message.' </p>
    $toEmail = "your email here";
    $mailHeaders = "MIME-Version: 1.0" . "\r\n";
    $mailHeaders .= "Content-type:text/html;charset=UTF-8" . "\r\n"; 
    $mailHeaders .= "From: " . $name . "<". $email .">\r\n";
    if(mail($toEmail, $subject, $body, $mailHeaders)) {
        echo "<div class='alert alert-success alert-dismissible fade show mt-3' role='alert' id='success'><button type='button' class='close' aria-label='Close' title='Close'> <span aria-hidden='true'>&times;</span> </button> $success_message</div>";
    else {
        echo "<div class='alert alert-danger alert-dismissible fade show mt-3' role='alert' id='fail'><button type='button' class='close' aria-label='Close' title='Close'> <span aria-hidden='true'>&times;</span> </button> $error_message</div>";

function test_input($data) {
  $data = trim($data);
  $data = stripslashes($data);
  $data = htmlspecialchars($data);
  return $data;

//echo "<h2>Your Input:</h2>";
//echo $name;  
//echo "<br>";
//echo $email;
//echo "<br>";
//echo $subject;
//echo "<br>";
//echo $city;
//echo "<br>";
//echo $state;
//echo "<br>";
//echo $edulevel;
//echo "<br>";
//echo $fieldstudy;    
//echo "<br>";
//echo $employd;
//echo "<br>";
//echo $message;
//echo "<br>";


How to solve:

Various problems are here.

if ( !($name='') && !($email='') && !($subject=='') && !($message=='') )
  • First, you used = instead of ==.

  • Second, $name or $email can be a empty string, null, or even worse, PHP notice will show if name or email param is missed in request body. To get around this issue, use the following approach. If you’re using legacy version of PHP(v5.6 or lower):

$name = empty($_POST['name']) ? "" : $_POST['name'];

For PHP v7.0 or higher:

$name = $_POST['name'] ?? "";

It could be more safe if you escape user inputs using htmlspecialchars or like that.

  • Third, !($name == '') is pretty much like a joke. Instead, use $name != ''.

I suggest change if statement like the following:

if ( $name && $email && $subject && $message )

The better approach is to return earlier if one of these variables are empty.

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