Iron orthophosphate was prepared by solution and solution combustion method for use as a catalyst in the hydroxylation of benzene to phenol. The products of each method were structurally identical. The morphology and size of the catalyst were significantly influenced by the synthesis method. The catalytic activity of the catalysts in the liquid phase hydroxylation of benzene was studied. The yields of the solution combustion synthesized and solution synthesized iron orthophosphate were 24.52% and 8.90%, respectively, under optimized conditions. The iron orthophosphate synthesized by the solution combustion method exhibited better catalytic performance characteristics than the one prepared by the solution method. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.