Getting website title and description

Getting the a website title and description is easy. Using the PHP’s builtin file_get_contents command together with a regex pattern allows us to capture and get any website title and description without any complex methods that is if the site has a title or a description. In case a site has no description a simple excerpt function is also provided.

Getting the site title:

function getMetaTitle($content){
$pattern = "|<[\s]*title[\s]*>([^<]+)<[\s]*/[\s]*title[\s]*>|Ui";
if(preg_match($pattern, $content, $match))
return $match[1];
return false;

The code above returns the title of the site enclosed by the tags <title> and </title>. The function would return a boolean false in case there was none.

Getting the meta description:

function getMetaDescription($content) {
$metaDescription = false;
$metaDescriptionPatterns = array("/]*>/Ui", "/]*>/Ui");
foreach ($metaDescriptionPatterns as $pattern) {
if (preg_match($pattern, $content, $match))
$metaDescription = $match[1];
return $metaDescription;

The code above returns the meta description of the site enclosed with single quotes or double quotes. It will return a boolean false it there wasn’t any. If this would happen we could get an excerpt of maybe the first website sentence to serve as our website description instead, however getting an excerpt would not be very efficient and i had some trouble with my code. Please fell free to make a comment to optimize it.

Getting the first website sentence:

function getExcerpt($content) {
$text = html_entity_decode($content);
$excerpt = array();
//match all tags
preg_match_all("|<[^>]+>(.*)]+>|", $text, $p, PREG_PATTERN_ORDER);
for ($x = 0; $x < sizeof($p[0]); $x++) {
if (preg_match('< p >i', $p[0][$x])) {
$strip = strip_tags($p[0][$x]);
if (preg_match("/\./", $strip))
$excerpt[] = $strip;
if (isset($excerpt[0])){
preg_match("/([^.]+.)/", $strip,$matches);
return $matches[1];
return false;

The code above reads the entire page and looks for the <p> tag, then returns the first phrase that ends with a period and stripping all the html code inside.

Here’s a sample code to test our script:

$url = '';
$content = file_get_contents($url);
$title = getMetaTitle($content);
$description = getMetaDescription($content);
$excerpt = getExcerpt($content);
print "title: $title ";
print "< br />";
print "description: $description ";
print "< br />";
print "excerpt: $excerpt";


You may download a working copy of the title and description scraper script.

Thank you for the comment:
Yes, indeed. We could use the builtin get_meta_tags function to get the website description without any knowledge on regular expressions. here’s how:

<?php $meta_data= get_meta_tags(''); echo $meta_data['description']; ?>

Aside from getting the description, you could also get Author, Keyword and GeoPosition meta data using the function get_meta_data().

You can get keywords using the php function: