I am writing a plugin where I need to split a URL submitted to a form into all the component parts of the URL including subdomain, extension etc. In addition, I need to construct the relative address for the URL submitted.

I know about the Wordpress function


but as per the example in the developer documentation, if I submit the URL https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_parse_url/ I only get some of the information that I need namely:

array (
  'scheme' => 'https',
  'host' => 'developer.wordpress.org',
  'path' => '/reference/functions/wp_parse_url/',

The built-in PHP function:


doesn't offer anything more. Does anyone know of some other function or algorithm that will allow me to extract everything out of the URL including the sub-domain, extension etc. all at once?

  • Why you don't use explode('.', $_result_parse_url['host']) to extract the host?
    – bueltge
    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:26
  • Thanks for the suggestion @bueltge - I guess that would work but there would be a number of cases to consider because there may not be a sub-domain or the user may use 'www' or not.
    – WPDavid
    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


I encountered a similar requirement, and could not find a ready-made solution for this, so I created a function that is based on the standard PHP function parse_url() and added to this over time to extract everything that I could think of.

Below is my code and two examples of the output. This will extract the sub-domain, root domain, tld, extension, path, absolute address and more:

 * Parse and check the URL Sets the following array parameters
 * scheme, host, port, user, pass, path, query, fragment, dirname, basename, filename, extension, domain, 
 * domainX, absolute address
 * @param string $url of the site
 * @param string $retdata if true then return the parsed URL data otherwise set the $urldata class variable
 * @return array|mixed|boolean
function parseURL($url,$retdata=true){
    $url = substr($url,0,4)=='http'? $url: 'http://'.$url; //assume http if not supplied
    if ($urldata = parse_url(str_replace('&','&',$url))){
        $path_parts = pathinfo($urldata['host']);
        $tmp = explode('.',$urldata['host']); $n = count($tmp);
        if ($n>=2){
            if ($n==4 || ($n==3 && strlen($tmp[($n-2)])<=3)){
                $urldata['domain'] = $tmp[($n-3)].".".$tmp[($n-2)].".".$tmp[($n-1)];
                $urldata['tld'] = $tmp[($n-2)].".".$tmp[($n-1)]; //top-level domain
                $urldata['root'] = $tmp[($n-3)]; //second-level domain
                $urldata['subdomain'] = $n==4? $tmp[0]: ($n==3 && strlen($tmp[($n-2)])<=3)? $tmp[0]: '';
            } else {
                $urldata['domain'] = $tmp[($n-2)].".".$tmp[($n-1)];
                $urldata['tld'] = $tmp[($n-1)];
                $urldata['root'] = $tmp[($n-2)];
                $urldata['subdomain'] = $n==3? $tmp[0]: '';
        //$urldata['dirname'] = $path_parts['dirname'];
        $urldata['basename'] = $path_parts['basename'];
        $urldata['filename'] = $path_parts['filename'];
        $urldata['extension'] = $path_parts['extension'];
        $urldata['base'] = $urldata['scheme']."://".$urldata['host'];
        $urldata['abs'] = (isset($urldata['path']) && strlen($urldata['path']))? $urldata['path']: '/';
        $urldata['abs'] .= (isset($urldata['query']) && strlen($urldata['query']))? '?'.$urldata['query']: '';
        //Set data
        if ($retdata){
            return $urldata;
        } else {
            $this->urldata = $urldata;
            return true;
    } else {
        //invalid URL
        return false;

Example 1: if you submit your example url (https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_parse_url/) the output will be as follows:

  array (
    'scheme' => 'https',
    'host' => 'developer.wordpress.org',
    'path' => '/reference/functions/wp_parse_url/',
    'domain' => 'wordpress.org',
    'tld' => 'org',
    'root' => 'wordpress',
    'subdomain' => 'developer',
    'basename' => 'developer.wordpress.org',
    'filename' => 'developer.wordpress',
    'extension' => 'org',
    'base' => 'https://developer.wordpress.org',
    'abs' => '/reference/functions/wp_parse_url/',

Example 2: Some other fictitious url with more in it http://dev.yoursite.com/some/other/directory/index.php?pg=7 - the output now will be:

  array (
    'scheme' => 'http',
    'host' => 'dev.yoursite.com',
    'path' => '/some/other/directory/index.php',
    'query' => 'pg=7',
    'domain' => 'yoursite.com',
    'tld' => 'com',
    'root' => 'yoursite',
    'subdomain' => 'dev',
    'basename' => 'dev.yoursite.com',
    'filename' => 'dev.yoursite',
    'extension' => 'com',
    'base' => 'http://dev.yoursite.com',
    'abs' => '/some/other/directory/index.php?pg=7',

Probably more information than you want and some of the information is redundant but you can modify the function slightly to get exactly what you need or you can use it as-is and use the parts of the array that you need.

Note: if you submit https://developer.wordpress.org to the wordpress or PHP built in url parse functions, 'path' will not be defined in the output. The parseURL() function will set path to '/'.

  • The key to this is using explode on the host result as suggested by @bueltge
    – Clinton
    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:00
  • Does this work if the domain ending has a dot in it, like .co.uk ? I don't see any logic about that in the code, so I would assume maybe it doesn't.
    – Joel M
    Aug 12, 2022 at 17:17
  • 1
    It works fine with any top level domain extension, because the domain extension is isolated in the first step using standard PHP functionality ref. pathinfo
    – Clinton
    Aug 13, 2022 at 17:01
  • Good to know, maybe I will try it out.
    – Joel M
    Aug 13, 2022 at 17:29

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