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filectime> <file
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012

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(PHP 4, PHP 5)

fileatimeGets last access time of file


int fileatime ( string $filename )

Gets the last access time of the given file.



Path to the file.

Return Values

Returns the time the file was last accessed, or FALSE on failure. The time is returned as a Unix timestamp.


Example #1 fileatime() example


// outputs e.g.  somefile.txt was last accessed: December 29 2002 22:16:23.

$filename 'somefile.txt';
if (
file_exists($filename)) {
"$filename was last accessed: " date("F d Y H:i:s."fileatime($filename));



Upon failure, an E_WARNING is emitted.



The atime of a file is supposed to change whenever the data blocks of a file are being read. This can be costly performance-wise when an application regularly accesses a very large number of files or directories.

Some Unix filesystems can be mounted with atime updates disabled to increase the performance of such applications; USENET news spools are a common example. On such filesystems this function will be useless.


Note that time resolution may differ from one file system to another.

Note: The results of this function are cached. See clearstatcache() for more details.


As of PHP 5.0.0, this function can also be used with some URL wrappers. Refer to Supported Protocols and Wrappers to determine which wrappers support stat() family of functionality.

See Also

add a note add a note User Contributed Notes fileatime
Tyler at visualbits dot net 16-Dec-2008 11:42
This only applys to the FAT filesystem, ntfs and greater have file access time support.

Be careful with this function it can degrade script performance if checking several files.
Maulwurf 10-Oct-2004 09:12
Using this function on Win98 made me grow grey hair.
Win 98 doesn't save the time for the last access. It only saves the date. This way, the returned timestamp from fileatime(file) is always much too small.

this command will always return false:

if($now - $last_access >1800) {
do something

using filemtime() instead did the thing.

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