Abstract Hybrid borate glasses containing different concentrations (0.5–2.0 mg in 12 g of boric acid) of Mesoporphyrin(IX)dimethylester, Protoporphyrin(IX)dimethylester and Hematoporphyrin(IX)dimethylester were prepared by rapid melt quench technique at 230 °C. The hybrid glass samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction, optical absorption, steady state and time-resolved fluorescence emission. The optical absorption spectrum shows red-shift in Soret band along with change in Q-band pattern. The intensity of Q-band was found to increase with increase in the concentration of porphyrin in the glass. Steady state emission spectrum shows strong S 2→S 0 emission in the range 462–495 nm and blue shift in S 1→S 0 emission. Time-resolved fluorescence emission and fluorescence excitation spectra showed that different structures of porphyrins were exist in the glass samples. The variation in the spectral behaviour in the glass was correlated with those in solution medium and possible structures of porphyrin in borate glass were explored.