Database: Queries


The 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.

NOTE: The 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

To begin a fluent query, use the table method on the Db facade. 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. In this example, let's just get all records from a table:

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

Like raw queries, the get method returns an array of 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 lists method. In this example, we'll retrieve an array of role titles:

$titles = Db::table('roles')->lists('title');

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

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

$roles = Db::table('roles')->lists('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 console 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')->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')->chunk(100, function($users) {
    // Process the records...

    return false;

If you are updating database records while chunking results, your chunk results could change in unexpected ways. So, when updating records while chunking, it is always best to use the chunkById method instead. This method will automatically paginate the results based on the record's primary key:

Db::table('users')->where('active', false)
    ->chunkById(100, function ($users) {
        foreach ($users as $user) {
                ->where('id', $user->id)
                ->update(['active' => true]);

NOTE: When updating or deleting records inside the chunk callback, any changes to the primary key or foreign keys could affect the chunk query. This could potentially result in records not being included in the chunked results.


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 to build your query:

$price = Db::table('orders')
    ->where('is_finalized', 1)

Determining if records exist

Instead of using the count method to determine if any records exist that match your query's constraints, you may use the exists and doesntExist methods:

return Db::table('orders')->where('finalized', 1)->exists();

return Db::table('orders')->where('finalized', 1)->doesntExist();


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();

If you wish to concatenate columns and/or strings together, you may use the selectConcat method to specify a list of concatenated values and the resulting alias. If you wish to use strings in the concatenation, you must provide a quoted string:

$query = Db::table('users')->selectConcat(['"Name: "', 'first_name', 'last_name'], 'name_string');

$nameString = $query->first()->name_string;   // Name: John Smith

Raw expressions

Sometimes you may need to use a raw expression in a query. 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)

NOTE: Raw statements will be injected into the query as strings, so you should be extremely careful to not create SQL injection vulnerabilities.

Raw methods

Instead of using Db::raw, you may also use the following methods to insert a raw expression into various parts of your query.


The selectRaw method can be used in place of addSelect(Db::raw(...)). This method accepts an optional array of bindings as its second argument:

$orders = Db::table('orders')
            ->selectRaw('price * ? as price_with_tax', [1.0825])

whereRaw / orWhereRaw

The whereRaw and orWhereRaw methods can be used to inject a raw where clause into your query. These methods accept an optional array of bindings as their second argument:

$orders = Db::table('orders')
            ->whereRaw('price > IF(state = "TX", ?, 100)', [200])

havingRaw / orHavingRaw

The havingRaw and orHavingRaw methods may be used to set a raw string as the value of the having clause. These methods accept an optional array of bindings as their second argument:

$orders = Db::table('orders')
                ->select('department', Db::raw('SUM(price) as total_sales'))
                ->havingRaw('SUM(price) > ?', [2500])


The orderByRaw method may be used to set a raw string as the value of the order by clause:

$orders = Db::table('orders')
                ->orderByRaw('updated_at - created_at DESC')


The groupByRaw method may be used to set a raw string as the value of the group by clause:

$orders = Db::table('orders')
                ->select('city', 'state')
                ->groupByRaw('city, state')


Inner join statement

The query builder may also be used to write join statements. To perform a basic SQL "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 / right join statement

If you would like to perform a "left join" or "right join" instead of an "inner join", use the leftJoin or rightJoin method. The leftJoin and rightJoin methods have the same signature as the join method:

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

$users = Db::table('users')
    ->rightJoin('posts', '', '=', 'posts.user_id')

Cross join statement

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 statements

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);

Subquery joins

You may use the joinSub, leftJoinSub, and rightJoinSub methods to join a query to a subquery. Each of these methods receive three arguments: the subquery, its table alias, and a Closure that defines the related columns:

$latestPosts = Db::table('posts')
    ->select('user_id', Db::raw('MAX(created_at) as last_post_created_at'))
    ->where('is_published', true)

$users = Db::table('users')
    ->joinSub($latestPosts, 'latest_posts', function ($join) {
        $join->on('', '=', 'latest_posts.user_id');


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

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

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

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

Where clauses

Simple where clauses

To add where clauses to the query, use the where method on a query builder instance. 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. 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%')

"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')

Tip: You can also prefix or to any of the where statements methods below, to make the condition an "OR" condition - for example, orWhereBetween, orWhereIn, etc.

"Where between" statements

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])

"Where in" statements

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])

"Where null" statements

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')

Advanced where clauses

Parameter grouping

Sometimes you may need to create more advanced where clauses such as "where exists" 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 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')

Exists statements

The whereExists method allows you to write where exist 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" statements

Winter CMS also supports querying JSON column types on databases that provide support for JSON column types. 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')

You may use whereJsonContains to query JSON arrays (not supported on SQLite):

$users = Db::table('users')
    ->whereJsonContains('options->languages', 'en')

MySQL and PostgreSQL support whereJsonContains with multiple values:

$users = Db::table('users')
    ->whereJsonContains('options->languages', ['en', 'de'])

You may use whereJsonLength to query JSON arrays by their length:

$users = Db::table('users')
    ->whereJsonLength('options->languages', 0)

$users = Db::table('users')
    ->whereJsonLength('options->languages', '>', 1)

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, $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, $sortBy) {
        return $query->orderBy($sortBy);
    }, function ($query) {
        return $query->orderBy('name');

Ordering, grouping, limit, & offset

Sort order

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')

Latest / oldest

The latest and oldest methods allow you to easily order results by date. By default, result will be ordered by the created_at column. Or, you may pass the column name that you wish to sort by:

$user = Db::table('users')

Random order

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')


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)

You may pass multiple arguments to the groupBy method to group by multiple columns:

$users = Db::table('users')
    ->groupBy('first_name', 'status')
    ->having('account_id', '>', 100)

For more advanced having statements, you may wish to use the havingRaw method.

Limit and offset

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

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


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 to insert:

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

NOTE: When using the PostgreSQL database driver, 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.


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]);

Update or Insert (One query per row)

Sometimes you may want to update an existing record in the database or create it if no matching record exists. In this scenario, the updateOrInsert method may be used. The updateOrInsert method accepts two arguments: an array of conditions by which to find the record, and an array of column and value pairs containing the columns to be updated.

The updateOrInsert method will first attempt to locate a matching database record using the first argument's column and value pairs. If the record exists, it will be updated with the values in the second argument. If the record can not be found, a new record will be inserted with the merged attributes of both arguments:

        ['email' => '', 'name' => 'John'],
        ['votes' => '2']

Update or Insert / upsert()

The upsert method will insert rows that do not exist and update the rows that already exist with the new values. The method's first argument consists of the values to insert or update, while the second argument lists the column(s) that uniquely identify records within the associated table. The method's third and final argument is an array of columns that should be updated if a matching record already exists in the database:

    ['departure' => 'Oakland', 'destination' => 'San Diego', 'price' => 99],
    ['departure' => 'Chicago', 'destination' => 'New York', 'price' => 150]
], ['departure', 'destination'], ['price']);

NOTE: All databases except SQL Server require the columns in the second argument of the upsert method to have a "primary" or "unique" index.

Updating JSON columns

When updating a JSON column, you should use -> syntax to access the appropriate key in the JSON object. This operation is supported on MySQL 5.7+ and PostgreSQL 9.5+:

$affected = Db::table('users')
    ->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 / 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();

Caching queries

Persistent caching

You may easily cache the results of a query using the Cache service. Simply chain the remember or rememberForever method when preparing the query.

$users = Db::table('users')->remember(10)->get();

In this example, the results of the query will be cached for ten minutes. While the results are cached, the query will not be run against the database, and the results will be loaded from the default cache driver specified for your application.

In-memory caching

Duplicate queries across the same request can be prevented by using in-memory caching. This feature is enabled by default for queries prepared by a model but not those generated directly using the Db facade.

Db::table('users')->get(); // Result from database
Db::table('users')->get(); // Result from database

Model::all(); // Result from database
Model::all(); // Result from in-memory cache

You may enable or disable the duplicate cache with either the enableDuplicateCache or disableDuplicateCache method.


If a query is stored in the cache, it will automatically be cleared when an insert, update, delete, upsert, or truncate statement is used. However you may clear the cache manually using the flushDuplicateCache method.


NOTE: In-memory caching is disabled entirely when running via the command-line interface (CLI).


You may use the dd or dump methods while building a query to dump the query bindings and SQL. The dd method will display the debug information and then stop executing the request. The dump method will display the debug information but allow the request to keep executing:

Db::table('users')->where('votes', '>', 100)->dd();

Db::table('users')->where('votes', '>', 100)->dump();
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