Database: Query Builder


Laravel's database query builder provides a convenient, fluent interface to creating and running database queries. It can be used to perform most database operations in your application and works on all supported database systems.

The Laravel query builder uses PDO parameter binding to protect your application against SQL injection attacks. There is no need to clean strings being passed as bindings.

Retrieving Results

Retrieving All Rows From A Table

You may use the table method on the DB facade to begin a query. The table method returns a fluent query builder instance for the given table, allowing you to chain more constraints onto the query and then finally get the results using the get method:


namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\DB;
use App\Http\Controllers\Controller;

class UserController extends Controller
     * Show a list of all of the application's users.
     * @return Response
    public function index()
        $users = DB::table('users')->get();

        return view('user.index', ['users' => $users]);

The get method returns an Illuminate\Support\Collection containing the results where each result is an instance of the PHP StdClass object. You may access each column's value by accessing the column as a property of the object:

foreach ($users as $user) {
    echo $user->name;

Retrieving A Single Row / Column From A Table

If you just need to retrieve a single row from the database table, you may use the first method. This method will return a single StdClass object:

$user = DB::table('users')->where('name', 'John')->first();

echo $user->name;

If you don't even need an entire row, you may extract a single value from a record using the value method. This method will return the value of the column directly:

$email = DB::table('users')->where('name', 'John')->value('email');

Retrieving A List Of Column Values

If you would like to retrieve an array containing the values of a single column, you may use the pluck method. In this example, we'll retrieve an array of role titles:

$titles = DB::table('roles')->pluck('title');

foreach ($titles as $title) {
    echo $title;

You may also specify a custom key column for the returned array:

$roles = DB::table('roles')->pluck('title', 'name');

foreach ($roles as $name => $title) {
    echo $title;

Chunking Results

If you need to work with thousands of database records, consider using the chunk method. This method retrieves a small chunk of the results at a time and feeds each chunk into a Closure for processing. This method is very useful for writing Artisan commands that process thousands of records. For example, let's work with the entire users table in chunks of 100 records at a time:

DB::table('users')->orderBy('id')->chunk(100, function($users) {
    foreach ($users as $user) {

You may stop further chunks from being processed by returning false from the Closure:

DB::table('users')->orderBy('id')->chunk(100, function($users) {
    // Process the records...

    return false;


The query builder also provides a variety of aggregate methods such as count, max, min, avg, and sum. You may call any of these methods after constructing your query:

$users = DB::table('users')->count();

$price = DB::table('orders')->max('price');

Of course, you may combine these methods with other clauses:

$price = DB::table('orders')
                ->where('finalized', 1)


Specifying A Select Clause

Of course, you may not always want to select all columns from a database table. Using the select method, you can specify a custom select clause for the query:

$users = DB::table('users')->select('name', 'email as user_email')->get();

The distinct method allows you to force the query to return distinct results:

$users = DB::table('users')->distinct()->get();

If you already have a query builder instance and you wish to add a column to its existing select clause, you may use the addSelect method:

$query = DB::table('users')->select('name');

$users = $query->addSelect('age')->get();

Raw Expressions

Sometimes you may need to use a raw expression in a query. These expressions will be injected into the query as strings, so be careful not to create any SQL injection points! To create a raw expression, you may use the DB::raw method:

$users = DB::table('users')
                     ->select(DB::raw('count(*) as user_count, status'))
                     ->where('status', '<>', 1)


Inner Join Clause

The query builder may also be used to write join statements. To perform a basic "inner join", you may use the join method on a query builder instance. The first argument passed to the join method is the name of the table you need to join to, while the remaining arguments specify the column constraints for the join. Of course, as you can see, you can join to multiple tables in a single query:

$users = DB::table('users')
            ->join('contacts', '', '=', 'contacts.user_id')
            ->join('orders', '', '=', 'orders.user_id')
            ->select('users.*', '', 'orders.price')

Left Join Clause

If you would like to perform a "left join" instead of an "inner join", use the leftJoin method. The leftJoin method has the same signature as the join method:

$users = DB::table('users')
            ->leftJoin('posts', '', '=', 'posts.user_id')

Cross Join Clause

To perform a "cross join" use the crossJoin method with the name of the table you wish to cross join to. Cross joins generate a cartesian product between the first table and the joined table:

$users = DB::table('sizes')

Advanced Join Clauses

You may also specify more advanced join clauses. To get started, pass a Closure as the second argument into the join method. The Closure will receive a JoinClause object which allows you to specify constraints on the join clause:

        ->join('contacts', function ($join) {
            $join->on('', '=', 'contacts.user_id')->orOn(...);

If you would like to use a "where" style clause on your joins, you may use the where and orWhere methods on a join. Instead of comparing two columns, these methods will compare the column against a value:

        ->join('contacts', function ($join) {
            $join->on('', '=', 'contacts.user_id')
                 ->where('contacts.user_id', '>', 5);


The query builder also provides a quick way to "union" two queries together. For example, you may create an initial query and use the union method to union it with a second query:

$first = DB::table('users')

$users = DB::table('users')

{tip} The unionAll method is also available and has the same method signature as union.

Where Clauses

Simple Where Clauses

You may use the where method on a query builder instance to add where clauses to the query. The most basic call to where requires three arguments. The first argument is the name of the column. The second argument is an operator, which can be any of the database's supported operators. Finally, the third argument is the value to evaluate against the column.

For example, here is a query that verifies the value of the "votes" column is equal to 100:

$users = DB::table('users')->where('votes', '=', 100)->get();

For convenience, if you simply want to verify that a column is equal to a given value, you may pass the value directly as the second argument to the where method:

$users = DB::table('users')->where('votes', 100)->get();

Of course, you may use a variety of other operators when writing a where clause:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->where('votes', '>=', 100)

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->where('votes', '<>', 100)

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->where('name', 'like', 'T%')

You may also pass an array of conditions to the where function:

$users = DB::table('users')->where([
    ['status', '=', '1'],
    ['subscribed', '<>', '1'],

Or Statements

You may chain where constraints together as well as add or clauses to the query. The orWhere method accepts the same arguments as the where method:

$users = DB::table('users')
                    ->where('votes', '>', 100)
                    ->orWhere('name', 'John')

Additional Where Clauses


The whereBetween method verifies that a column's value is between two values:

$users = DB::table('users')
                    ->whereBetween('votes', [1, 100])->get();


The whereNotBetween method verifies that a column's value lies outside of two values:

$users = DB::table('users')
                    ->whereNotBetween('votes', [1, 100])

whereIn / whereNotIn

The whereIn method verifies that a given column's value is contained within the given array:

$users = DB::table('users')
                    ->whereIn('id', [1, 2, 3])

The whereNotIn method verifies that the given column's value is not contained in the given array:

$users = DB::table('users')
                    ->whereNotIn('id', [1, 2, 3])

whereNull / whereNotNull

The whereNull method verifies that the value of the given column is NULL:

$users = DB::table('users')

The whereNotNull method verifies that the column's value is not NULL:

$users = DB::table('users')

whereDate / whereMonth / whereDay / whereYear

The whereDate method may be used compare a column's value against a date:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->whereDate('created_at', '2016-12-31')

The whereMonth method may be used compare a column's value against a specific month of an year:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->whereMonth('created_at', '12')

The whereDay method may be used compare a column's value against a specific day of a month:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->whereDay('created_at', '31')

The whereYear method may be used compare a column's value against a specific year:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->whereYear('created_at', '2016')


The whereColumn method may be used to verify that two columns are equal:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->whereColumn('first_name', 'last_name')

You may also pass a comparison operator to the method:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->whereColumn('updated_at', '>', 'created_at')

The whereColumn method can also be passed an array of multiple conditions. These conditions will be joined using the and operator:

$users = DB::table('users')
                    ['first_name', '=', 'last_name'],
                    ['updated_at', '>', 'created_at']

Parameter Grouping

Sometimes you may need to create more advanced where clauses such as "where exists" clauses or nested parameter groupings. The Laravel query builder can handle these as well. To get started, let's look at an example of grouping constraints within parenthesis:

            ->where('name', '=', 'John')
            ->orWhere(function ($query) {
                $query->where('votes', '>', 100)
                      ->where('title', '<>', 'Admin');

As you can see, passing a Closure into the orWhere method instructs the query builder to begin a constraint group. The Closure will receive a query builder instance which you can use to set the constraints that should be contained within the parenthesis group. The example above will produce the following SQL:

select * from users where name = 'John' or (votes > 100 and title <> 'Admin')

Where Exists Clauses

The whereExists method allows you to write where exists SQL clauses. The whereExists method accepts a Closure argument, which will receive a query builder instance allowing you to define the query that should be placed inside of the "exists" clause:

            ->whereExists(function ($query) {
                      ->whereRaw('orders.user_id =');

The query above will produce the following SQL:

select * from users
where exists (
    select 1 from orders where orders.user_id =

JSON Where Clauses

Laravel also supports querying JSON column types on databases that provide support for JSON column types. Currently, this includes MySQL 5.7 and Postgres. To query a JSON column, use the -> operator:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->where('options->language', 'en')

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->where('preferences->dining->meal', 'salad')

Ordering, Grouping, Limit, & Offset


The orderBy method allows you to sort the result of the query by a given column. The first argument to the orderBy method should be the column you wish to sort by, while the second argument controls the direction of the sort and may be either asc or desc:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->orderBy('name', 'desc')


The inRandomOrder method may be used to sort the query results randomly. For example, you may use this method to fetch a random user:

$randomUser = DB::table('users')

groupBy / having / havingRaw

The groupBy and having methods may be used to group the query results. The having method's signature is similar to that of the where method:

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->having('account_id', '>', 100)

The havingRaw method may be used to set a raw string as the value of the having clause. For example, we can find all of the departments with sales greater than $2,500:

$users = DB::table('orders')
                ->select('department', DB::raw('SUM(price) as total_sales'))
                ->havingRaw('SUM(price) > 2500')

skip / take

To limit the number of results returned from the query, or to skip a given number of results in the query, you may use the skip and take methods:

$users = DB::table('users')->skip(10)->take(5)->get();

Alternatively, you may use the limit and offset methods:

$users = DB::table('users')

Conditional Clauses

Sometimes you may want clauses to apply to a query only when something else is true. For instance you may only want to apply a where statement if a given input value is present on the incoming request. You may accomplish this using the when method:

$role = $request->input('role');

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->when($role, function ($query) use ($role) {
                    return $query->where('role_id', $role);

The when method only executes the given Closure when the first parameter is true. If the first parameter is false, the Closure will not be executed.

You may pass another Closure as the third parameter to the when method. This Closure will execute if the first parameter evaluates as false. To illustrate how this feature may be used, we will use it to configure the default sorting of a query:

$sortBy = null;

$users = DB::table('users')
                ->when($sortBy, function ($query) use ($sortBy) {
                    return $query->orderBy($sortBy);
                }, function ($query) {
                    return $query->orderBy('name');


The query builder also provides an insert method for inserting records into the database table. The insert method accepts an array of column names and values:

    ['email' => [email protected]', 'votes' => 0]

You may even insert several records into the table with a single call to insert by passing an array of arrays. Each array represents a row to be inserted into the table:

    ['email' => [email protected]', 'votes' => 0],
    ['email' => [email protected]', 'votes' => 0]

Auto-Incrementing IDs

If the table has an auto-incrementing id, use the insertGetId method to insert a record and then retrieve the ID:

$id = DB::table('users')->insertGetId(
    ['email' => [email protected]', 'votes' => 0]

{note} When using PostgreSQL the insertGetId method expects the auto-incrementing column to be named id. If you would like to retrieve the ID from a different "sequence", you may pass the sequence name as the second parameter to the insertGetId method.


Of course, in addition to inserting records into the database, the query builder can also update existing records using the update method. The update method, like the insert method, accepts an array of column and value pairs containing the columns to be updated. You may constrain the update query using where clauses:

            ->where('id', 1)
            ->update(['votes' => 1]);

Updating JSON Columns

When updating a JSON column, you should use -> syntax to access the appropriate key in the JSON object. This operation is only supported on databases that support JSON columns:

            ->where('id', 1)
            ->update(['options->enabled' => true]);

Increment & Decrement

The query builder also provides convenient methods for incrementing or decrementing the value of a given column. This is simply a short-cut, providing a more expressive and terse interface compared to manually writing the update statement.

Both of these methods accept at least one argument: the column to modify. A second argument may optionally be passed to control the amount by which the column should be incremented or decremented:


DB::table('users')->increment('votes', 5);


DB::table('users')->decrement('votes', 5);

You may also specify additional columns to update during the operation:

DB::table('users')->increment('votes', 1, ['name' => 'John']);


The query builder may also be used to delete records from the table via the delete method. You may constrain delete statements by adding where clauses before calling the delete method:


DB::table('users')->where('votes', '>', 100)->delete();

If you wish to truncate the entire table, which will remove all rows and reset the auto-incrementing ID to zero, you may use the truncate method:


Pessimistic Locking

The query builder also includes a few functions to help you do "pessimistic locking" on your select statements. To run the statement with a "shared lock", you may use the sharedLock method on a query. A shared lock prevents the selected rows from being modified until your transaction commits:

DB::table('users')->where('votes', '>', 100)->sharedLock()->get();

Alternatively, you may use the lockForUpdate method. A "for update" lock prevents the rows from being modified or from being selected with another shared lock:

DB::table('users')->where('votes', '>', 100)->lockForUpdate()->get();