PHP 7.1.0 Release Candidate 4 Released


(PHP 5 >= 5.3.0, PHP 7)

openssl_encryptEncrypts data


string openssl_encrypt ( string $data , string $method , string $password [, int $options = 0 [, string $iv = "" ]] )

Encrypts given data with given method and key, returns a raw or base64 encoded string



The data.


The cipher method. For a list of available cipher methods, use openssl_get_cipher_methods().


The password.


options is a bitwise disjunction of the flags OPENSSL_RAW_DATA and OPENSSL_ZERO_PADDING.


A non-NULL Initialization Vector.

Return Values

Returns the encrypted string on success or FALSE on failure.


Emits an E_WARNING level error if an unknown cipher algorithm is passed in via the method parameter.

Emits an E_WARNING level error if an empty value is passed in via the iv parameter.


Version Description
5.3.3 The iv parameter was added.
5.4.0 The raw_output was changed to options.

See Also

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User Contributed Notes 12 notes

1 year ago
Beware of the padding this method adds !

= openssl_random_pseudo_bytes(32);
$iv = openssl_random_pseudo_bytes(16);
$data = openssl_random_pseudo_bytes(32);

for (
$i = 0; $i < 5; $i++) {
$data = openssl_encrypt($data, 'aes-256-cbc', $encryption_key, OPENSSL_RAW_DATA, $iv);
strlen($data) . "\n";

With this sample the output will be:

This is because our $data is already taking all the block size, so the method is adding a new block which will contain only padded bytes.

The only solution that come to my mind to avoid this situation is to add the option OPENSSL_ZERO_PADDING along with the first one:
= openssl_encrypt($data, 'aes-256-cbc', $encryption_key, OPENSSL_RAW_DATA|OPENSSL_ZERO_PADDING, $iv);

/!\ Be careful when using this option, be sure that you provide data that have already been padded or that takes already all the block size.
biohazard dot ge at gmail dot com
5 years ago
Many users give up with handilng problem when openssl command line tool cant decrypt php openssl encrypted file which is encrypted with openssl_encrypt function.

For example how beginner is encrypting data:


= 'It works ? Or not it works ?';
$pass = '1234';
$method = 'aes128';

file_put_contents ('./file.encrypted', openssl_encrypt ($string, $method, $pass));


And then how beginner is trying to decrypt data from command line:

# openssl enc -aes-128-cbc -d -in file.encrypted -pass pass:123

Or even if he/she determinates that openssl_encrypt output was base64 and tries:

# openssl enc -aes-128-cbc -d -in file.encrypted -base64 -pass pass:123

Or even if he determinates that base64 encoded file is represented in one line and tries:

# openssl enc -aes-128-cbc -d -in file.encrypted -base64 -A -pass pass:123

Or even if he determinates that IV is needed and adds some string iv as encryption function`s fourth parameter and than adds hex representation of iv as parameter in openssl command line :

# openssl enc -aes-128-cbc -d -in file.encrypted -base64 -pass pass:123 -iv -iv 31323334353637383132333435363738

Or even if he determinates that aes-128 password must be 128 bits there fore 16 bytes and sets $pass = '1234567812345678' and tries:

# openssl enc -aes-128-cbc -d -in file.encrypted -base64 -pass pass:1234567812345678 -iv -iv 31323334353637383132333435363738

All these troubles will have no result in any case.


It means that the password parameter of the function is not the same string used as [-pass pass:] parameter with openssl cmd tool for file encryption decryption.


And now how to correctly encrypt data with php openssl_encrypt and how to correctly decrypt it from openssl command line tool.


function strtohex($x)
        foreach (
str_split($x) as $c) $s.=sprintf("%02X",ord($c));
$source = 'It works !';

$iv = "1234567812345678";
$pass = '1234567812345678';
$method = 'aes-128-cbc';

"\niv in hex to use: ".strtohex ($iv);
"\nkey in hex to use: ".strtohex ($pass);

file_put_contents ('./file.encrypted',openssl_encrypt ($source, $method, $pass, true, $iv));

$exec = "openssl enc -".$method." -d -in file.encrypted -nosalt -nopad -K ".strtohex($pass)." -iv ".strtohex($iv);

'executing: '.$exec."\n\n";
exec ($exec);


IV and Key parameteres passed to openssl command line must be in hex representation of string.

The correct command for decrypting is:

# openssl enc -aes-128-cbc -d -in file.encrypted -nosalt -nopad -K 31323334353637383132333435363738 -iv 31323334353637383132333435363738

As it has no salt has no padding and by setting functions third parameter we have no more base64 encoded file to decode. The command will echo that it works...

: /
5 months ago
There's a lot of confusion plus some false guidance here on the openssl library.

The basic tips are:

aes-256-ctr is arguably the best choice for cipher algorithm as of 2016. This avoids potential security issues (so-called padding oracle attacks) and bloat from algorithms that pad data to a certain block size. aes-256-gcm is preferable, but not usable until the openssl library is enhanced, which is due in PHP 7.1

Use different random data for the initialisation vector each time encryption is made with the same key. mcrypt_create_iv() is one choice for random data. AES uses 16 byte blocks, so you need 16 bytes for the iv.

Join the iv data to the encrypted result and extract the iv data again when decrypting.

Pass OPENSSL_RAW_DATA for the flags and encode the result if necessary after adding in the iv data.

Hash the chosen encryption key (the password parameter) using openssl_digest() with a hash function such as sha256, and use the hashed value for the password parameter.

There's a simple Cryptor class on GitHub called php-openssl-cryptor that demonstrates encryption/decryption and hashing with openssl, along with how to produce and consume the data in base64 and hex as well as binary. It should lay the foundations for better understanding and making effective use of openssl with PHP.

Hopefully it will help anyone looking to get started with this powerful library.
1 year ago
Just a couple of notes about the parameters:

data - It is interpreted as a binary string
method - Regular string, make sure you check openssl_get_cipher_methods() for a list of the ciphers available in your server*
password - As biohazard mentioned before, this is actually THE KEY! It should be in hex format.
options - As explained in the Parameters section
iv - Initialization Vector. Different than biohazard mentioned before, this should be a BINARY string. You should check for your particular implementation.

To verify the length/format of your IV, you can provide strings of different lengths and check the error log. For example, in PHP 5.5.9 (Ubuntu 14.04 LTS), providing a 32 byte hex string (which would represent a 16 byte binary IV) throws an error.
"IV passed is 32 bytes long which is longer than the 16 expected by the selected cipher" (cipher chosen was 'aes-256-cbc' which uses an IV of 128 bits, its block size).
Alternatively, you can use openssl_cipher_iv_length().

From the security standpoint, make sure you understand whether your IV needs to be random, secret or encrypted. Many times the IV can be non-secret but it has to be a cryptographically secure random number. Make sure you generate it with an appropriate function like openssl_random_pseudo_bytes(), not mt_rand().

*Note that the available cipher methods can differ between your dev server and your production server! They will depend on the installation and compilation options used for OpenSSL in your machine(s).
openssl at mailismagic dot com
1 year ago
Since the $options are not documented, I'm going to clarify what they mean here in the comments.  Behind the scenes, in the source code for /ext/openssl/openssl.c:

    EVP_EncryptInit_ex(&cipher_ctx, NULL, NULL, key, (unsigned char *)iv);
    if (options & OPENSSL_ZERO_PADDING) {
        EVP_CIPHER_CTX_set_padding(&cipher_ctx, 0);

And later:

        if (options & OPENSSL_RAW_DATA) {
            outbuf[outlen] = '\0';
            RETVAL_STRINGL((char *)outbuf, outlen, 0);
        } else {
            int base64_str_len;
            char *base64_str;

            base64_str = (char*)php_base64_encode(outbuf, outlen, &base64_str_len);
            RETVAL_STRINGL(base64_str, base64_str_len, 0);

So as we can see here, OPENSSL_ZERO_PADDING has a direct impact on the OpenSSL context.  EVP_CIPHER_CTX_set_padding() enables or disables padding (enabled by default).  So, OPENSSL_ZERO_PADDING disables padding for the context, which means that you will have to manually apply your own padding out to the block size.  Without using OPENSSL_ZERO_PADDING, you will automatically get PKCS#7 padding.

OPENSSL_RAW_DATA does not affect the OpenSSL context but has an impact on the format of the data returned to the caller.  When OPENSSL_RAW_DATA is specified, the returned data is returned as-is.  When it is not specified, Base64 encoded data is returned to the caller.

Hope this saves someone a trip to the PHP source code to figure out what the $options do.  Pro developer tip:  Download and have a copy of the PHP source code locally so that, when the PHP documentation fails to live up to quality expectations, you can see what is actually happening behind the scenes.
4 years ago
PHP OpenSSL functions openssl_encrypt() and openssl_decrypt() seem to use PKCS5/7 style padding for all symmetric ciphers. Upon this, you can't use them to encrypt using null byte padding or to decrypt null byte padded data.

The developers of the wrapper forgot the padding scheme flags... :(
public at grik dot net
6 years ago
The list of methods for this function can be obtained with openssl_get_cipher_methods();
The password can be encrypted with the openssl_private/public_encrypt()
16 days ago
There still seems to be some confusion about the "password" argument to this function.  It accepts a binary string for the key (ie. NOT encoded), at least for the cipher methods I tried (AES-128-CTR and AES-256-CTR).  One of the posts says you should hex encode the key (which is wrong), and some say you should hash the key but don't make it clear how to properly pass the hashed key.

Instead of the post made by anonymous, this should be more accurate info about the parameters:

data - BINARY string
method - regular string, from openssl_get_cipher_methods()
password - BINARY string (ie. the encryption key in binary)
options - integer (use the constants provided)
iv - BINARY string

This is not only from my testing, but backed up by the usage of this function by
8 months ago
Contrary to some of the other comments here, I'm not certain that Password is indeed being improperly treated as the direct key.  I say this because I've been passing random text values into this parameter which would be invalid as hex input.  It seems to be hashing the password I provide, using what algorithm I do not know, because otherwise I'd expect it to throw an exception instead of working as expected.

That said, I'm using openssl_decrypt() to decrypt data that was only encrypted with openssl_encrypt().  I've not had to try to decrypt data where I do know for certain what the direct key is to know if I have an issue with bad pad blocks or any other exceptions which would indicate a key mismatch.
4 years ago
Might be useful to people trying to use 'aes-256-cbc' cipher (and probably other cbc ciphers) in collaboration with other implementations of AES (C libs for example) that the openssl extension has a strict implementation regarding padding bytes. I found the solution only by manually going through the openssl source.

In C, you would want to pad plaintexts the following way (assuming all mem allocations are proper):

nPadding = ( 16 - ( bufferSize % 16 ) ) ? ( 16 - ( bufferSize % 16 ) ) : 16;
for( index = bufferSize; index < bufferSize + nPadding; index++ )
    plaintext[ index ] = (char)nPadding;

while decryptions are validated like:

isSuccess = TRUE;
for( index = bufferSize - 1; index > ( bufferSize - nPadding ); index-- )
    if( plaintext[ index ] != nPadding )
        isSuccess = FALSE;
decryptedSize = bufferSize - nPadding;

In plain english, the buffer must be padded up to blockSize. If the buffer is already a multiple of blockSize, you add an entire new blockSize bytes as padding.

The value of the padding bytes MUST be the number of padding bytes as a byte...

So 5 bytes of padding will result in the following bytes added at the end of the ciphertext:
[ 0x05 ][ 0x05 ][ 0x05 ][ 0x05 ][ 0x05 ]

Hope this saves someone else a few hours of their life.
11 months ago
Note, that if you don't specify the ...RAW_DATA  option, then you get a base64 encoded result.  I lost a few hours because my PHP didn't have the OPENSSL_RAW_DATA constant, and after I'd carefully base64 encoded the result, it just wasn't decoding...
kazaaknet at yahoo dot com
4 years ago
Be advised there was a memory leak in this function:  I believe this got fixed in 5.3.6, but on production webservers running 5.3.5 with modest traffic, this became  a memory hemorrhage that brought my site down.  Look at mcrypt_encrypt instead.
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