CodeIgniter 4 Query Builder set() function with update()

CodeIgniter 4 Query Builder class has an update() function used to process UPDATE Data Manipulation Language (DML) commands. Using update() as a standalone function call is perfectly valid. However, there is also a set() function used for setting column values as you would with the SET keyword in an SQL UPDATE statement. Used in conjunction with the Query Builder where() function, you can easily UPDATE column values for an individual row or multiple rows. Continue reading for more information…

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I’m using a simple ‘employees‘ table (MySQL) having this fictitious data for the examples:

All employee information.

I have this basic EmployeeModel with an all_emps() method which provides all the data from the ’employees’ table as shown in the screenshot above:

Query Builder set(), update, and where() functions

I’ve created this updateEmpLastName() method in the Model and use the Query Builder set(), update() and where() functions to edit an employee’s last name:

Then we can call the model updateEmpLastName() method in a Controller method I have created named, updateLastName():

You can see in the screenshot below, after calling the Controller updateLastName() method, employee ‘Jessica Rabbit’ now has the last name of ‘Jones’:

Updated the last_name column using Query Builder set(), where(), and update() functions.

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Query Builder set() function – multiple calls through chaining

Multiple calls to the Query Builder set() function are possible by chaining them one after the other, allowing you to set values on multiple columns at one time. In this next Model method, updateEmpFirstAndLastName(), I chain 2 Query Builder set() functions together; one for the ‘first_name’ column value and one for the ‘last_name’ column:

Again, focussing on fictional employee 3, ‘Jessica Jones’, I update both ‘first_name’ and ‘last_name’ columns with new data. Results are shown in the follow-up screenshot:

Updated the first_name and last_name columns using Query Builder set(), update(), and where() functions.

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CodeIgniter 4 Query Builder informational resources

Visit the official CodeIgniter 4 documentation on any of the functions covered in the post:

As always, if you have any questions or see any mistakes in the code, please let me know via the comments. Constructive comments help me provide accurate blog posts and are much appreciated. Thank you for reading.


The Query Builder set() function can be used with insert() function calls as well and I plan to cover that use in a future blog post. Be sure to subscribe to my free newsletter,, the newsletter for PHP/MySQL developers, and stay up to date on PHP and SQL-related content.

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Josh Otwell has a passion to study and grow as a SQL Developer and blogger. Other favorite activities find him with his nose buried in a good book, article, or the Linux command line. Among those, he shares a love of tabletop RPG games, reading fantasy novels, and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Disclaimer: The examples presented in this post are hypothetical ideas of how to achieve similar types of results. They are not the utmost best solution(s). The majority, if not all, of the examples provided, are performed on a personal development/learning workstation environment and should not be considered production quality or ready. Your particular goals and needs may vary. Use those practices that best benefit your needs and goals. Opinions are my own.

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