Basic PHP File Handling — Create, Open, Read, Write, Append, Close, and Delete

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I don't do a great deal of file handling in my PHP code -- most of my customers don't have a need for it or there's no room for file creation in the already tight budget. On the rare occasion that I do need to manipulate files, I keep the following tip sheet.

Create a File

$my_file = 'file.txt';
$handle = fopen($my_file, 'w') or die('Cannot open file:  '.$my_file); //implicitly creates file

Open a File

$my_file = 'file.txt';
$handle = fopen($my_file, 'w') or die('Cannot open file:  '.$my_file); //open file for writing ('w','r','a')...

Read a File

$my_file = 'file.txt';
$handle = fopen($my_file, 'r');
$data = fread($handle,filesize($my_file));

Write to a File

$my_file = 'file.txt';
$handle = fopen($my_file, 'w') or die('Cannot open file:  '.$my_file);
$data = 'This is the data';
fwrite($handle, $data);

Append to a File

$my_file = 'file.txt';
$handle = fopen($my_file, 'a') or die('Cannot open file:  '.$my_file);
$data = 'New data line 1';
fwrite($handle, $data);
$new_data = "\n".'New data line 2';
fwrite($handle, $new_data);

Close a File

$my_file = 'file.txt';
$handle = fopen($my_file, 'w') or die('Cannot open file:  '.$my_file);
//write some data here

Delete a File

$my_file = 'file.txt';
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  1. your work is very good,but need your in creating my website about cricket

  2. sebouneeeet

    To avoid warnings, not forget if(!file_exists(‘myfile.txt’)) ;)

  3. To avoid warnings, not forget if(!file_exists(‘myfile.txt’)) ;)
    your work is very good,but need your in creating my website about cricket

  4. Max

    Simple, but usefull!

  5. TitoChhabra

    Hello Everyone,
    File handling functions in PHP are extremely useful and userfriendly.PHP includes a lot of built-in functions for handling files and directories. You can read, write, delete, and get lots of information on files through the use of these functions…………… for more details please check out the following link….


    Thanks !!!!

  6. Quite useful! Better to add the modes of the files. So that a person can understand more about php file handling… Thanks

  7. Bobo

    This is basic stuff. How about a script for updating a record in an ASCII flat file?

  8. jeet

    so useful for freshers in php

  9. Gary Paul

    Once again, I need a question answered and I find my way to David’s site. Thanks for all your help.


  10. Some Guy

    Nice and concise! Definitely bookmarking. +1

  11. Some Guy

    Just found something out thought I’d post here for everyone else,
    To read a file line by line use fgets($file_handle)

    $file_handle = fopen(“myfile”, “r”);
    while (!feof($file_handle)) {
    $line = fgets($file_handle);
    echo $line;

  12. Saleem

    so useful for freshers in php

  13. Nice tutorial an am preparing this and i have an Interview next week :-)

  14. Thanks for making this nice tutorial and i am learning this. I only know to handle file via Control Panel i will learn it and try all those in a local server first

  15. Short and to the point, thanks, exactly what I was looking for. Much easier to delete a file than I thought, but what are your thoughts on security? Does this have any gaping security holes?

  16. Braydon

    Ok I have the code

    $my_file = 'file.txt';
    $handle = fopen($my_file, 'w') or die('Cannot open file:  '.$my_file);
    $data = 'This is the data';
    fwrite($handle, $data);

    And When I See if it works I geta

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected '$my_file' (T_VARIABLE)
    • Anup Tiwari

      You’re missing a semicolon at the end.

  17. Bolivia Diablo

    Braydon, you’re probably missing a semi-colon in the line that comes before the code shown in your comment.

  18. Adam

    how come my output file has bo breaks? it is writing everything as a single line.

  19. Adam

    how come my output file has no breaks? it is writing everything as a single line. I want output like this:





    • You Have to use This don’t use \n

      $data = ‘This

  20. raja rajan

    hmm.make it simple

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!

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