The json_encode function takes an optional second argument, which lets you specify arguments to the encoder. The arguments are flags, so you combine them with the binary or | operator. You can pass a combination of the following flags: JSON_FORCE_OBJECT: This flag forces the encoder to encode the JSON as an object. JSON_NUMERIC_CHECK: This flag checks the contents of each string in the incoming structure and if it contains a number, converts the string to a number before encoding it. JSON_PRETTY_PRINT: This flag formats the JSON for easier reading by humans (don't do this in production, as it makes the JSON bigger) JSON_UNESCAPED_SLASHES: This flag instructs the encoder to not escape slash characters.