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A PHP email parser

About - Sponsors - Basics - Usage Guide - API Documentation - Upgrading to 3.0 - Contributors


A stable, standards-compliant, easy-to-use, on-demand, email message parsing library for PHP.

To include it for use in your project, install via composer:

composer require zbateson/mail-mime-parser



A huge thank you to all my sponsors. <3

If this project’s helped you, please consider sponsoring me.

Php 7 Support Dropped

As of mail-mime-parser 3.0, support for php 7 has been dropped.

New in 3.0

Most changes in 3.0 are ‘backend’ changes, for example switching to PHP-DI for dependency injection, and basic usage should not be affected.

The header class method ‘getAllParts’ includes comment parts in 3.0.

Error, validation, and logging support has been added.

For a more complete list of changes, please visit the 3.0 Upgrade Guide.


MailMimeParser has minimal external dependencies. It requires mbstring to be installed and configured, and works better with iconv being available as well.

It also makes use of the pimple/pimple library for dependency injection and guzzlehttp/psr7 for streams. There are two additional sister libraries that are used as well: zbateson/stream-decorators which provides wrappers for psr7 streams, and zbateson/mb-wrapper for charset conversion and some string manipulation routines.

use ZBateson\MailMimeParser\Message;

$message = Message::from($handleOrStreamOrString, true);
$subject = $message->getSubject();
$text = $message->getTextContent();
$html = $message->getHtmlContent();
$from = $message->getHeader('From');
$fromName = $from->getPersonName();
$fromEmail = $from->getEmail();

$to = $message->getHeader('To');
// first email address can be accessed directly
$firstToName = $to->getPersonName();
$firstToEmail = $to->getEmail();

foreach ($to->getAllAddresses() as $addr) {
    $toName = $addr->getName();
    $toEmail = $addr->getEmail();

$attachment = $message->getAttachmentPart(0);
$fname = $attachment->getFilename();
$stream = $attachment->getContentStream();

There’s no need to worry about the Content-Transfer-Encoding, or how the name in an email address is encoded, or what charset was used.

And, unlike most other available email parsing libraries, MailMimeParser is its own “parser”. It does not use PHP’s imap* functions or the pecl mailparse extension.

There are numerous advantages over other libraries:

Previous Versions

For the 0.4 usage guide, click here For the 1.0 usage guide, click here For the 2.0 usage guide, click here

Parsing an email

To parse an email using zbateson/mail-mime-parser, pass a ZBateson\MailMimeParser\MailMimeParser object as a dependency to your class, and call parse(). The parse() method accepts a string, resource handle, or Psr7 StreamInterface stream.

Alternatively for procedural/non dependency injected usage, calling Message::from() may be easier. It accepts the same arguments as parse().

use ZBateson\MailMimeParser\MailMimeParser;
use ZBateson\MailMimeParser\Message;

// $resource = fopen('my-file.mime', 'r');
// ...
$parser = new MailMimeParser();

// parse() returns an IMessage
$message = $parser->parse($resource, true);

// alternatively:
// $string = 'an email message to load';
$message = Message::from($string, false);

Message headers

Headers are represented by ZBateson\MailMimeParser\Header\IHeader and sub-classes, depending on the type of header being parsed. In general terms:

To retrieve an IHeader object, call IMessage::getHeader() from a ZBateson\MailMimeParser\IMessage object.

// $message = $parser->parse($resource, true);
// ...

// getHeader('To') returns a ZBateson\MailMimeParser\Header\AddressHeader
$to = $message->getHeader('To');
if ($to->hasAddress('')) {
    // ...
// or to loop over AddressPart objects:
foreach ($to->getAddresses() as $address) {
    echo $address->getPersonName() . ' ' . $address->getEmail();

For convenience, IMessage::getHeaderValue() can be used to retrieve the value of a header (for multi-part headers like email addresses, the first part’s value is returned. The value of an address is its email address, not a person’s name if present).

$contentType = $message->getHeaderValue('Content-Type');

In addition, IMessage::getHeaderParameter() can be used as a convenience method to retrieve the value of a parameter part of a ParameterHeader, for example:

// 3rd argument optionally defines a default return value
$charset = $message->getHeaderParameter(
// as opposed to
$parameterHeader = $message->getHeader('Content-Type');

// 2nd argument to getValueFor also optional, defining a default return value
$charset = $parameterHeader->getValueFor('charset', 'us-ascii');

Message parts (text, html and other attachments)

Essentially, the \ZBateson\MailMimeParser\IMessage object returned is itself a sub-class of \ZBateson\MailMimeParser\Message\Part\IMimePart. An IMessage can contain IMimePart children (which in turn could contain their own children).

Internally, IMessage maintains the structure of its parsed parts. Most users will only be interested in text parts (plain or html) and attachments. The following methods help you do just that:

IMessagePart (the base class of all parts of a message) defines useful stream and content functions, e.g.:


// $message = $parser->parse($resource, true);
// ...
$att = $message->getAttachmentPart(0);
echo $att->getContentType();
echo $att->getContent();

Example writing files to disk:

$atts = $message->getAllAttachmentParts();
foreach ($atts as $ind => $part) {
    $filename = $part->getHeaderParameter(
             '__unknown_file_name_' . $ind

    $out = fopen('/path/to/dir/' . $filename, 'w');
    $str = $part->getBinaryContentResourceHandle();
    stream_copy_to_stream($str, $out);

Reading text and html parts

As a convenient way of reading the text and HTML parts of an IMessage, use IMessage::getTextStream() and IMessage::getHtmlStream() or the shortcuts returning strings if you want strings directly IMessage::getTextContent() and IMessage::getHtmlContent()

// $message = $parser->parse($resource, true);
// ...
$txtStream = $message->getTextStream();
echo $txtStream->getContents();
// or if you know you want a string:
echo $message->getTextContent();

$htmlStream = $message->getHtmlStream();
echo $htmlStream->getContents();
// or if you know you want a string:
echo $message->getHtmlContent();

Error reporting and logging

Some basic logging has been added, and a logger can be provided either globally or to an instance of MailMimeParser.

use ZBateson\MailMimeParser\MailMimeParser;
use ZBateson\MailMimeParser\IMessage;
use Monolog\Logger;
use Monolog\Handler\StreamHandler;

$logger = new Logger('mail-parser');
$logger->pushHandler(new StreamHandler(__DIR__ . '/mmp.log', 'debug'));

// set it globally, calling new Message() would use the 'globally-provided'
// LoggerInterface

// or set it on an instance, any instances created through this via parsing,
// etc... would use the provided logger, but calling 'new Message()' yourself
// would require passing it manually
$parser = new MailMimeParser($logger);

$message = Message::from($string, false);

IMessagePart (and therefore all interfaces that inherit from it, IMimePart IMessage), IHeader, and IHeaderPart all inherit from IErrorBag. Errors that occur on any child can be inspected at the top-level IMessage with a call to IErrorBag::getAllErrors() which will return all Error objects that have occurred. Optionally passing ‘true’ to validate getAllErrors may perform additional validation on objects, and a PSR level can be provided to retrieve objects logged at different levels. The Error class has a ‘getObject()’ method to retrieve the object the error occurred on (helpful if calling getAllErrors at a top-level, and you want to know which object it actually occurred on).

API Documentation


Special thanks to our contributors.