The Server Pages
:: TSP Menu
- Home
- Authors
- Glossary
- RSS Feed

:: Servers
- CPanel
- Hosting
- Linux
- Windows

:: Webmaster
- Databases
- Design
- Search Engines

:: Scripts
- Scripts

:: Documentation
- PHP Manual

:: Other
- Errors & Solutions
- TechPunt
- Wojjie

search for in the

ftruncate> <fstat
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012

view this page in


(PHP 4, PHP 5)

ftellReturns the current position of the file read/write pointer


int ftell ( resource $handle )

Returns the position of the file pointer referenced by handle.



The file pointer must be valid, and must point to a file successfully opened by fopen() or popen(). ftell() gives undefined results for append-only streams (opened with "a" flag).

Return Values

Returns the position of the file pointer referenced by handle as an integer; i.e., its offset into the file stream.

If an error occurs, returns FALSE.


Example #1 ftell() example


// opens a file and read some data
$fp fopen("/etc/passwd""r");
$data fgets($fp12);

// where are we ?
echo ftell($fp); // 11



See Also

  • fopen() - Opens file or URL
  • popen() - Opens process file pointer
  • fseek() - Seeks on a file pointer
  • rewind() - Rewind the position of a file pointer

ftruncate> <fstat
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012
add a note add a note User Contributed Notes ftell
burninleo at gmx dot net 07-Sep-2009 01:38
When opening a file to append via fopen('file','ab') the file pointer should be at the end of the file. However ftell() returns int(0) even if the file is not empty and even after writing some text into the file.
missilesilo at gmail dot com 27-Feb-2007 03:02
In response to php at michielvleugel dot com:

This does not seem to be the case with PHP 5.2.0 and FreeBSD 5.4.

= ftell(STDIN);

root@localhost:/home/david# echo Hello World | ./test.php
root@localhost:/home/david# ./test.php

When something is piped to the script, it returns an integer value of 0, however, it also returns an integer when nothing is piped to the script.

The code should  be modified to this:

= ftell(STDIN);

if (
$tell === 0)
"Something was piped: " . fread(STDIN,256) . "\n";
"Nothing was piped\n";

And the result is:

root@localhost:/home/david# echo Hello World | ./test.php
Something was piped: Hello World
root@localhost:/home/david# ./test.php
Nothing was piped
mbirth at webwriters dot de 21-Oct-2005 11:09
Attention! If you open a file with the "text"-modifier (e.g. 'rt') and the file contains \r\n as line-endings, ftell() returns the position as if there were only \n as line-endings.

If the first line only contains 1 char followed by \r\n, the start of the second line should be position 3. (1char + \r + \n = 3 bytes) But ftell() will return 2 - ignoring one byte. If you call ftell() in line 3, the value will differ from the real value by 2 bytes. The error gets greater with every line.

(Watched this behavior in PHP 5.0.4 for Windows.)

BUT: fseek() works as expected - using the true byte values.
mweierophinney at gmail dot com 21-Jun-2005 10:00
Actually, ftell() gives more than an undefined result for append only streams; it gives the offset from the end of the file as defined before any data was appended. So if you open a file that had 3017 characters, and append 41 characters, and then execute ftell(), the value returned will be 41.
php at michielvleugel dot com 01-Jun-2005 03:19
When trying to determine whether or not something was piped into a command line script, it is not smart to do a fgets(STDIN), because it will wait indefenitely if nothing is piped. Instead, I found ftell on STDIN to be very handy: it will return an integer of zero when something was piped, and nothing if nothing was piped to the script.

#!/usr/bin/php4 -q
#following will hang if nothing is piped:
#$sometext = fgets(STDIN, 256)

$tell = ftell(STDIN);

if (
"Something was piped: ".fread(STDIN,256)."\n";}
"Nothing was piped\n";}


show source | credits | sitemap | contact | advertising | mirror sites