PCRE - Perl Compatible Regular Expressions

The PCRE library is a set of functions that implement regular expression pattern matching using the same syntax and semantics as Perl 5. PCRE has its own native API, as well as a set of wrapper functions that correspond to the POSIX regular expression API. The PCRE library is free, even for building commercial software.

PCRE was originally written for the Exim MTA, but is now used by many projects, including Python, Apache, Postfix, KDE, Analog, PHP, and Ferite.


The latest release of the PCRE library is 4.3. You can download it from its official home via anonymous FTP, or via HTTP or FTP from SourceForge.

Contributed source code, including C++ wrappers and sample Makefiles, is also available from the FTP site.

Finally, a precompiled Windows port of PCRE is available, courtesy the GnuWin32 project.


You can read the text version of the PCRE man pages. For Perl 5 regular expression syntax, read the Perl regular expressions man page.

The distribution itself also contains a README and a simple LICENSE. If you are upgrading, read the NEWS and ChangeLog files.


The PCRE library was written by Philip Hazel <ph10@cam.ac.uk>.

Last modified May 28, 2003 - webmaster@pcre.org