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fileatime> <file_put_contents
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012

view this page in


(PHP 4, PHP 5)

fileReads entire file into an array


array file ( string $filename [, int $flags = 0 [, resource $context ]] )

Reads an entire file into an array.


You can use file_get_contents() to return the contents of a file as a string.



Path to the file.


A URL can be used as a filename with this function if the fopen wrappers have been enabled. See fopen() for more details on how to specify the filename. See the Supported Protocols and Wrappers for links to information about what abilities the various wrappers have, notes on their usage, and information on any predefined variables they may provide.


The optional parameter flags can be one, or more, of the following constants:

Search for the file in the include_path.
Do not add newline at the end of each array element
Skip empty lines


A context resource created with the stream_context_create() function.

Note: Context support was added with PHP 5.0.0. For a description of contexts, refer to Streams.

Return Values

Returns the file in an array. Each element of the array corresponds to a line in the file, with the newline still attached. Upon failure, file() returns FALSE.


Each line in the resulting array will include the line ending, unless FILE_IGNORE_NEW_LINES is used, so you still need to use rtrim() if you do not want the line ending present.

Note: If PHP is not properly recognizing the line endings when reading files either on or created by a Macintosh computer, enabling the auto_detect_line_endings run-time configuration option may help resolve the problem.


Version Description
5.0.0 The context parameter was added
5.0.0 Prior to PHP 5.0.0 the flags parameter only covered include_path and was enabled with 1
4.3.0 file() became binary safe


Example #1 file() example

// Get a file into an array.  In this example we'll go through HTTP to get
// the HTML source of a URL.
$lines file('');

// Loop through our array, show HTML source as HTML source; and line numbers too.
foreach ($lines as $line_num => $line) {
"Line #<b>{$line_num}</b> : " htmlspecialchars($line) . "<br />\n";

// Another example, let's get a web page into a string.  See also file_get_contents().
$html implode(''file(''));

// Using the optional flags parameter since PHP 5
$trimmed file('somefile.txt'FILE_IGNORE_NEW_LINES FILE_SKIP_EMPTY_LINES);



When using SSL, Microsoft IIS will violate the protocol by closing the connection without sending a close_notify indicator. PHP will report this as "SSL: Fatal Protocol Error" when you reach the end of the data. To work around this, the value of error_reporting should be lowered to a level that does not include warnings. PHP 4.3.7 and higher can detect buggy IIS server software when you open the stream using the https:// wrapper and will suppress the warning. When using fsockopen() to create an ssl:// socket, the developer is responsible for detecting and suppressing this warning.

See Also

fileatime> <file_put_contents
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012
add a note add a note User Contributed Notes file
twichi at web dot de 13-Sep-2011 12:33
read from CSV data (file) into an array with named keys

... with or without 1st row = header (keys)
(see 4th parameter of function call as  true / false)

// --------------------------------------------------------------

function csv_in_array($url,$delm=";",$encl="\"",$head=false) {
$csvxrow = file($url);   // ---- csv rows to array ----
$csvxrow[0] = chop($csvxrow[0]);
$csvxrow[0] = str_replace($encl,'',$csvxrow[0]);
$keydata = explode($delm,$csvxrow[0]);
$keynumb = count($keydata);
    if (
$head === true) {
$anzdata = count($csvxrow);
$x=1; $x<$anzdata; $x++) {
$csvxrow[$x] = chop($csvxrow[$x]);
$csvxrow[$x] = str_replace($encl,'',$csvxrow[$x]);
$csv_data[$x] = explode($delm,$csvxrow[$x]);
$keydata as $key) {
$out[$z][$key] = $csv_data[$x][$i];
    else {
$csvxrow as $item) {
$item = chop($item);
$item = str_replace($encl,'',$item);
$csv_data = explode($delm,$item);
            for (
$y=0; $y<$keynumb; $y++) {
$out[$i][$y] = $csv_data[$y];


// --------------------------------------------------------------


fuction call with 4 parameters:

(1) = the file with CSV data (url / string)
(2) = colum delimiter (e.g: ; or | or , ...)
(3) = values enclosed by (e.g: ' or " or ^ or ...)
(4) = with or without 1st row = head (true/false)


// ----- call ------
$csvdata = csv_in_array( $yourcsvfile, ";", "\"", true );
// -----------------

// ----- view ------
echo "<pre>\r\n";
// -----------------


PS: also see: to read CSV data into an array
... and other file-handling methods

marios88 at gmail dot com 06-Feb-2010 02:59
Quick and easy way to reverse read a file without array_reverse

= 'test.txt';
$lines = file($myfile);   
d basin 14-Oct-2009 03:47
this may be obvious, but it took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong. So I wanted to share. I have a file on my "c:\" drive. How do I file() it?

Don't forget the backslash is special and you have to "escape" the backslash i.e. "\\":


= file("C:\\Documents and Settings\\myfile.txt");

$lines as $line)


hope this helps...
PenguinMan98 at usa dot net 21-Apr-2008 03:49
on file() and flock()

My supervisor came up with a brilliant plan to workaround the inability of the file() to work on a flock()'ed file.

We created a dummy file called lockfile.txt.  We would flock() lockfile.txt.  Once we had a lock on it, we used file() on the file we wanted to read, then altered the file and called fclose on both files.
jon+spamcheck at phpsitesolutions dot com 16-Apr-2008 01:03
A user suggested using rtrim always, due to the line ending conflict with files that have an EOL that differs from the server EOL.

Using rtrim with it's default character replacement is a bad solution though, as it removes all whitespace in addition to the '\r' and '\n' characters.

A good solution using rtrim follows:

= rtrim($line, "\r\n") . PHP_EOL;

This removes only EOL characters, and replaces with the server's EOL character, thus making preg_* work fine when matching the EOL ($)
vbchris at gmail dot com 16-Feb-2008 01:15
If you're getting "failed to open stream: Permission denied" when trying to use either file() or fopen() to access files on another server. Check your host doesn't have any firewall restrictions in-place which prevent outbound connections. This is the case with my host
Reversed: moc dot liamg at senroc dot werdna 12-Jul-2007 02:25
This note applies to PHP 5.1.6 under Windows (although may apply to other versions).

It appears that the 'FILE_IGNORE_NEW_LINES' flag doesn't remove newlines properly when reading Windows-style text files, i.e. files whose lines end in '\r\n'.

Solution: Always use 'rtrim()' in preference to 'FILE_IGNORE_NEW_LINES'.
info at carstanje dot com 28-Nov-2006 12:33
Using file() for reading large text files > 10 Mb gives problems, therefore you should use this instead. It is much slower but it works fine. $lines will return an array with all the lines.

= @fopen('yourfile...', "r");
if (
$handle) {
   while (!
feof($handle)) {
$lines[] = fgets($handle, 4096);
richardtcunningham at gmail dot com 11-Jul-2006 02:19
justin at visunet dot ie's note of 20-Mar-2003 states
"Note: Now that file() is binary safe it is 'much' slower than it used to be. If you are planning to read large files it may be worth your while using fgets() instead of file()."

I tested fgets(), file_get_contents(), and file() on PHP 4.3.2 and PHP 5 and timed each to be under a second with over 200,000 lines. I do not know if he was testing extremely long lines or what, but I could not duplicate the difference that he mentioned.
jonathan dot gotti at free dot fr 01-Feb-2006 02:52
you can use
$file = array_map('rtrim',file('myfile.txt'));
to remove annoying ending lines of the resulting array.
Nuts 18-Jan-2006 03:16
file() function will add "\r\n" in to the end of the row, even if you use only "\n" char to make rows in the file!

On UNIX systems there is no such problem.
dir @ badblue com 12-Sep-2003 02:48
Jeff's array2file function is a good start; here are a couple of improvements (no possibility of handle leak when fwrite fails, additional capability of both string2file and array2file; presumably faster performance through use of implode).

function String2File($sIn, $sFileOut) {
$rc = false;
  do {
    if (!(
$f = fopen($sFileOut, "wa+"))) {
$rc = 1; break;
    if (!
fwrite($f, $sIn)) {
$rc = 2; break;
$rc = true;
  } while (
  if (
$f) {
  return (

Array2File($aIn, $sFileOut) {
  return (
String2File(implode("\n", $aIn), $sFileOut));

If you're generating your string text using a GET or POST from a TEXTAREA (e.g., a mini-web-text-editor), remember that strip_slashes and str_replace of "/r/n" to "/n" may be necessary as well using these functions.

HTH --dir @ badblue com
John 20-Jul-2003 04:32
after many months of confusion and frustration, i have finally figured out something that i should have noticed the first time around.

you can't file("test.txt") when that same file has been flocked. i guess i didn't have a full understanding of what i was doing when i used flock(). all i had to do was move the flock() around, and all was well.
justin at visunet dot ie 20-Mar-2003 09:36
Note: Now that file() is binary safe it is 'much' slower than it used to be. If you are planning to read large files it may be worth your while using fgets() instead of file() For example:

= fopen ("log_file.txt", "r");
while (!
feof ($fd))
$buffer = fgets($fd, 4096);
$lines[] = $buffer;
fclose ($fd);

The resulting array is $lines.

I did a test on a 200,000 line file. It took seconds with fgets()  compared to minutes with file().
andrea at brancatelli dot it 16-Mar-2002 11:16
file() has a strange behaviour when reading file with both \n and \r as line delimitator (DOS files), since it will return an array with every single line but with just a \n in the end. It seems like \r just disappears.

This is happening with PHP 4.0.4 for OS/2. Don't know about the Windows version.
php@don't_spam_me 09-Feb-2002 12:56
It appears that the file() function causes file access problems for perl cgi scripts accessing the same files.  I am using Perl v5.6.0 in linux with PHP/4.0.4pl1.  After running a php app using the file() function, any perl cgi trying to access the same file randomly dies returning an internal server error: premature end of script headers.

The simple fix is to use fopen(), fgets() and fclose() instead of file().

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