DataTables AJAX Pagination with Search and Sort in CodeIgniter 3

CodeIgniter already has a library for pagination. Which is easier to implement on the page. But you need to customize it to add extra functionality like – search, sorting, rows per page.

Datatables is a jQuery library that comes with all basic functionality that requires pagination.

Need to handle the request and return the response in the specified format.

In this tutorial, I show how you can implement Datatables AJAX pagination in CodeIgniter 3.

DataTables AJAX Pagination with Search and Sort in CodeIgniter 3


  1. Table structure
  2. Database Configuration
  3. Model
  4. Controller
  5. View
  6. Demo
  7. Conclusion

1. Table structure

In this example, I am using employees table and added some records –

CREATE TABLE `employees` (
  `emp_name` varchar(60) NOT NULL,
  `salary` varchar(50) NOT NULL,
  `gender` varchar(10) NOT NULL,
  `city` varchar(80) NOT NULL,
  `email` varchar(80) NOT NULL

2. Database Configuration

Navigate to application/config/database.php and define the Database connection.

$db['default'] = array(
 'dsn' => '',
 'hostname' => 'localhost',
 'username' => 'root', // Username
 'password' => '', // Password
 'database' => 'tutorial', // Database name
 'dbdriver' => 'mysqli',
 'dbprefix' => '',
 'pconnect' => FALSE,
 'db_debug' => (ENVIRONMENT !== 'production'),
 'cache_on' => FALSE,
 'cachedir' => '',
 'char_set' => 'utf8',
 'dbcollat' => 'utf8_general_ci',
 'swap_pre' => '',
 'encrypt' => FALSE,
 'compress' => FALSE,
 'stricton' => FALSE,
 'failover' => array(),
 'save_queries' => TRUE

Default controller

Open application/config/routes.php and edit default_controller value to Employee.

$route['default_controller'] = 'Employee';

Load Database

To access the MySQL database require loading database library.

Open application/config/autoload.php and add the database in libraries array().

$autoload['libraries'] = array("database");

3. Model

Create Employee_model.php file in application/models/ folder.

Create a single method –

  • getEmployees – Read $postData values.

If $searchQuery is not empty then set a search query.

Count total records in the employees table with or without a search filter.

Fetch records from employees table and loop on it to initialize $data Array with keys defined while Datatable initialization in the columns option.

Set draw, iTotalRecords, iTotalDisplayRecords, and aaData keys with values in the $response Array.

Return $response Array.

Completed Code

<?php if ( ! defined('BASEPATH')) exit('No direct script access allowed');

class Employee_model extends CI_Model {

   function getEmployees($postData=null){

     $response = array();

     ## Read value
     $draw = $postData['draw'];
     $start = $postData['start'];
     $rowperpage = $postData['length']; // Rows display per page
     $columnIndex = $postData['order'][0]['column']; // Column index
     $columnName = $postData['columns'][$columnIndex]['data']; // Column name
     $columnSortOrder = $postData['order'][0]['dir']; // asc or desc
     $searchValue = $postData['search']['value']; // Search value

     ## Search 
     $searchQuery = "";
     if($searchValue != ''){
        $searchQuery = " (emp_name like '%".$searchValue."%' or email like '%".$searchValue."%' or city like'%".$searchValue."%' ) ";

     ## Total number of records without filtering
     $this->db->select('count(*) as allcount');
     $records = $this->db->get('employees')->result();
     $totalRecords = $records[0]->allcount;

     ## Total number of record with filtering
     $this->db->select('count(*) as allcount');
     if($searchQuery != '')
     $records = $this->db->get('employees')->result();
     $totalRecordwithFilter = $records[0]->allcount;

     ## Fetch records
     if($searchQuery != '')
     $this->db->order_by($columnName, $columnSortOrder);
     $this->db->limit($rowperpage, $start);
     $records = $this->db->get('employees')->result();

     $data = array();

     foreach($records as $record ){

        $data[] = array( 

     ## Response
     $response = array(
        "draw" => intval($draw),
        "iTotalRecords" => $totalRecords,
        "iTotalDisplayRecords" => $totalRecordwithFilter,
        "aaData" => $data

     return $response; 


4. Controller

Create Employee.php file in application/controllers/ folder.

Define 3 methods –

  • __construct – Load url helper, Employee_Model Model.
  • index – Load emp_view view.
  • empList – This method is used to load datatable content. Pass POST values to getEmployees() method and return the response in JSON format.

Completed Code

defined('BASEPATH') OR exit('No direct script access allowed');

class Employee extends CI_Controller {

   public function __construct(){


     // Load model


   public function index(){

     // load view


   public function empList(){
     // POST data
     $postData = $this->input->post();

     // Get data
     $data = $this->Employee_model->getEmployees($postData);

     echo json_encode($data);


5. View

Create emp_view.php file in application/views/ folder.


Include datatable.min.css, jQuery and datatable.min.js script in the <head> section.

NOTE – You can also download Datatables from here and include it if you don’t want to use CDN.

Create <table id='empTable'> element and added some columns the header row.


Initialize datatable on #empTable selector.

Set processing: false, serverSide: true, serverMethod: post.

With ajax option send AJAX request to '<?=base_url()?>index.php/Employee/empList'.

Set columns option.

Completed Code

<!DOCTYPE html>
     <title>DataTables AJAX Pagination with Search and Sort in CodeIgniter 3</title>

     <!-- Datatable CSS -->
     <link href='//' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>

     <!-- jQuery Library -->
     <script src=""></script>

     <!-- Datatable JS -->
     <script src="//"></script>


     <!-- Table -->
     <table id='empTable' class='display dataTable'>

           <th>Employee name</th>


     <!-- Script -->
     <script type="text/javascript">
          'processing': true,
          'serverSide': true,
          'serverMethod': 'post',
          'ajax': {
          'columns': [
             { data: 'emp_name' },
             { data: 'email' },
             { data: 'gender' },
             { data: 'salary' },
             { data: 'city' },

6. Demo

View Demo

7. Conclusion

In the example, I have used Datatable and jQuery library CDN which you can change if they are available in your project.

View this tutorial to know datatable AJAX pagination implementation in CodeIgniter 4.

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