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tempnam> <stat
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012

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tempnam> <stat
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012
add a note add a note User Contributed Notes symlink 22-Jul-2011 10:11
Remember to use absolute paths in both $target and $link.
Use $_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT'] plus your desired paths.
reddy1042001 at yahoo dot co dot in 27-Apr-2010 04:33
Symlinks on windows  are created by Symlink() which accept only absolute paths  but not relative paths .relative paths on windows are not supported for symlinks
Porjo 11-Nov-2009 07:36
Keep in mind when using a shared filesystem such as NFS, that you probably don't want to create a symbolic link with absolute paths e.g.

On Server1 you are running a PHP script that needs to create a symbolic link called widget2 which links to widget1 inside an NFS share mounted on your localhost at /mnt/nfs/widgets

On Server2 this same NFS share is mounted under /usr/local/widgets

If you used absolute paths on Server1, then Server2 would try to reference /mnt/nfs/widgets/widget1 which it won't be able to find...

You need to cd into the directory first, then create the link - that way the link will be relative. Unless you run the PHP script from the same directory where you'll be creating the symbolic links, then you can't use symlink(). Use exec() instead as follows:


("cd <nfs mount path>; ln -s <target> <link_name>");

ewering at gmail dot com 14-Nov-2007 01:01
This function sometimes just fails to work for no appearent reason, returning FALSE and not creating a symlink. Doing the same with exec('ln -s source dest') works perfectly. I recommend using the latter.
12-Apr-2007 06:44
Um, duh... that's all I gotta say about by previous note. Please delete it. :)

Windows Vista has its own symlink program now (mklink). Hopefully future versions of PHP for Windows will have this function put it?

Anyway, this will work on Vista (assuming your PHP user has the proper permissions):
define('SYMLINK_DIR', 1);
define('SYMLINK_JUNCTION', 2);
symlink ($target, $link, $flag = SYMLINK_FILE) {
    switch (
$flag) {
SYMLINK_DIR: $pswitch = '/d'; break;
SYMLINK_JUNCTION: $pswitch = '/j'; break;
$pswitch = ''; break;
// Change / to \ because it will break otherwise.
$target = str_replace('/', '\\', $target);
$link = str_replace('/', '\\', $link);
exec('mklink ' . $pswitch . ' "' . $link . '" "' . $target . '"');
Numien 23-Mar-2007 02:51
The one difference to using symlinks for controlled file access vs. readfile() is that the HTTP server will handle content-type of the symlink automatically.

If you always want it to be downloaded, this can be a negative point. However, if you want a file of non-predefined type to be viewable in the browser, this can be a real asset.

Of course, you can use fileinfo/mime-magic to do that, but those require a module which isn't always available on shared hosting.
04-Nov-2006 04:33

 * A function to emulate symbolic links on Windows.
 * Uses the junction utility available at:
 * Note that this will only work on NTFS volumes.
 * The syntax of the junction utility is:
 * junction <junction directory> <junction target>
 * Note that the parameter order of the Junction command
 * is the reverse of the symlink function!
 * @param string $target
 * @param string $link
function _symlink( $target, $link ) {
  if (
$_SERVER['WINDIR'] || $_SERVER['windir']) {
exec('junction "' . $link . '" "' . $target . '"');
  } else {

_unlink($link ) {
  if (
$_SERVER['WINDIR'] || $_SERVER['windir']) {
exec('junction -d "' . $link . '"');
  } else {
JohnW 24-Oct-2006 12:48
tcknetwork dot com's solution for Win32 seemed attractive but darned if I could make it work so there seem to be some further notes needed. One obvious problem is in the line:

exec("linkd ".$p.$t." ".$p.$l);

Note that since $p (from the line above) is the absolute path to the directory of the current script, the $t and $l are only defined relative to that path. And should not contain any spaces. I tried putting single quotes around the link and target but it didn't help.
anything at the domain 14-Feb-2006 05:15
Olszewski_marek makes a good suggestion, but the readfile() function can also be used to obscure file downloads from end users.

/* Setup the file that will be sent */
$downloadDir = "some/secret/directory/";
$file = "theFileName.dat";

/* Required for IE, otherwise Content-disposition is ignored */
if(ini_get('zlib.output_compression')) ini_set('zlib.output_compression', 'Off');

/* Output HTTP headers that force "Save As" dialog */
header("Pragma: public");
header("Expires: 0");
header("Cache-Control: must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0");
header("Cache-Control: private",false);
header("Content-Type: application/octet-stream");
header("Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=\\"$file\\";");
header("Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary");
header("Content-Length: ".@filesize($downloadDir.$file));

/* Prevent the script from timing out for large files */

/* Send the entire file using @ to ignore all errors */

/* Exit immediately so no garbage follows the file contents */
29-Dec-2005 07:21
Olszewski seems pretty good, but just to boost the security a bit, the fifth line of his script should read
$q = rand(1,26);

instead of rand(1,24).
contact at tcknetwork dot com 11-Sep-2005 08:04
To make your code portable on unix AND win32, do the following
1. Download
2. Unzip, put linkd.exe in C:\Windows\System32 or C:\WINNT\System32
3. Include in your code the following
function _syslink($t /*target*/ ,$l /*link*/ ) {
 if (
exec("linkd ".$p.$t." ".$p.$l);
 } else
_unlink($l /*link*/ ) {
 if (
exec("linkd ".$p.$l." /D");
 } else
4. Enjoy
_symlink(TARGET,LINK) works like symlink() on *nix
_unlink(LINK) to delete properly the link created
aircha at cix dot co dot uk 15-Mar-2005 08:49
Olszewski's method of creating downloadable links on the fly is pretty good.

I use a different technique under Apache where if you want a file, you might use a url like:

But in fact Apache redirects this to a script with a url like:

(The browser address bar will still show the first url).

The script downloadfile.php can then handle all the mucky stuff like checking session variables to see if someone is logged on, whether they have access to mysecretfile.doc, and if you want to encrypt before download.

An advantage of this is that the php code to achieve the equivalent of Olszewski's is shorter, so might execute faster. But more importantly, a casual hacker might think all he has to do is find myverysecurefile.doc under the /home/user/public_html/files/mysecretfile.doc, or copy the url - but there's nothing there! He won't find it or get an Apache error page.
veronique at talafone dot com 29-May-2003 02:23
This might sound obvious, but sometimes these details slip from our minds...
Make sure the directory in which you are trying to create the symbolic link (AND the directory you are trying to link to in the case of directory linking) has the proper permissions, or you will get a "permission denied" from PHP. If you use for example,
echo shell_exec("ln -sv $target $name")
you might get the correct "link created" message, but without the link being actually created.

It's probably the same thing with hard links, I just haven't tried it.
stephen at opido dot com 07-Feb-2002 12:38
Faking Symlinks on Windows (Win2K + NTFS)

Every once in a while I'll bang my head against something really difficult. I needed to make symlinks, Windows won't let me. The workaround is a couple files in the Win2K Resource Kit called linkd.exe and delrp.exe;EN-US;q205524

It only works on folders as far as I can tell, there is another program from SysInternals called Junction which will do both (although I only had success with files, not folders).

I hope this helps those who have experienced this same problem. One step closer to portable applications :)
olszewski_marek at yahoo dot com 04-Dec-2000 08:54
Here is a simple way to control who downloads your files...

You will have to set: $filename, $downloaddir, $safedir and $downloadURL.

Basically $filename is the name of a file, $downloaddir is any dir on your server, $safedir is a dir that is not accessible by a browser that contains a file named $filename and $downloadURL is the URL equivalent of your $downloaddir.

The way this works is when a user wants to download a file, a randomly named dir is created in the $downloaddir, and a symbolic link is created to the file being requested.  The browser is then redirected to the new link and the download begins.

The code also deletes any past symbolic links created by any past users before creating one for itself.  This in effect leaves only one symbolic link at a time and prevents past users from downloading the file again without going through this script.  There appears to be no problem if a symbolic link is deleted while another person is downloading from that link.

This is not too great if not many people download the file since the symbolic link will not be deleted until another person downloads the same file.

Anyway enjoy:

= 'abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz';
srand((double) microtime() * 1000000);
$string = '';
for (
$i = 1; $i <= rand(4,12); $i++) {
$q = rand(1,24);
$string = $string . $letters[$q];
$handle = opendir($downloaddir);
while (
$dir = readdir($handle)) {
   if (
is_dir($downloaddir . $dir)){
      if (
$dir != "." && $dir != ".."){
unlink($downloaddir . $dir . "/" . $filename);
rmdir($downloaddir . $dir);
mkdir($downloaddir . $string, 0777);
symlink($safedir . $filename, $downloaddir . $string . "/" . $filename);
Header("Location: " . $downloadURL . $string . "/" . $filename);

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