Those "special characters" are the nature of Base 64 encoding, use md5_hex instead.
From the docs:
Same as md5(), but will return the digest in hexadecimal form. The length of the returned string
will be 32 and it will only contain characters from this set: '0'..'9' and 'a'..'f'.
But chances are how you're comparing the digested strings is wrong because a forward slash shouldn't break it. . . Let me guess- you're doing the comparison with DBI, but you're not using placeholders?
-Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from doubletalk.
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