I changed the encoding throughout my site and made sure that my database was also collated properly and set as utf8mb4. It seems that one of my forms, which creates a user account is writing properly to the database with alt characters as it should, but my checkout page is not. I originally did all of this because customer addresses did not look as they should for processing orders. After some research, it seems that the checkout page may still be writing the characters interpreted as Windows-1252 (or ISO 8859-1), as opposed to UTF-8 (IE: when someone types in ß I get ÃŸ in my database). I think that I must have missed where the page sets this character set for the outgoing string or for the input fields. I'm guessing it is somewhere in confirm.php but can't seem to find it. Have you seen this before and where should I look?