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PHP Manual :: file_get_contents

file_exists || file_put_contents || Filesystem Functions || PHP Manual

(PHP 4 >= 4.3.0, PHP 5, PHP 7)

file_get_contentsReads entire file into a string


string file_get_contents ( string $filename [, bool $use_include_path = false [, resource $context [, int $offset = 0 [, int $maxlen ]]]] )

This function is similar to file(), except that file_get_contents() returns the file in a string, starting at the specified offset up to maxlen bytes. On failure, file_get_contents() will return FALSE.

file_get_contents() is the preferred way to read the contents of a file into a string. It will use memory mapping techniques if supported by your OS to enhance performance.


If you're opening a URI with special characters, such as spaces, you need to encode the URI with urlencode().



Name of the file to read.



As of PHP 5 the FILE_USE_INCLUDE_PATH constant can be used to trigger include path search.


A valid context resource created with stream_context_create(). If you don't need to use a custom context, you can skip this parameter by NULL.


The offset where the reading starts on the original stream.

Seeking (offset) is not supported with remote files. Attempting to seek on non-local files may work with small offsets, but this is unpredictable because it works on the buffered stream.


Maximum length of data read. The default is to read until end of file is reached. Note that this parameter is applied to the stream processed by the filters.

Return Values

The function returns the read data or FALSE on failure.


This function may return Boolean FALSE, but may also return a non-Boolean value which evaluates to FALSE. Please read the section on Booleans for more information. Use the === operator for testing the return value of this function.


An E_WARNING level error is generated if filename cannot be found, maxlength is less than zero, or if seeking to the specified offset in the stream fails.


Example #1 Get and output the source of the homepage of a website


Example #2 Searching within the include_path

// <= PHP 5
$file file_get_contents('./people.txt'true);
// > PHP 5
$file file_get_contents('./people.txt'FILE_USE_INCLUDE_PATH);

Example #3 Reading a section of a file

// Read 14 characters starting from the 21st character
$section file_get_contents('./people.txt'NULLNULL2014);

The above example will output something similar to:

string(14) "lle Bjori Ro" 

Example #4 Using stream contexts

// Create a stream
$opts = array(
'header'=>"Accept-language: en\r\n" .
"Cookie: foo=bar\r\n"

$context stream_context_create($opts);

// Open the file using the HTTP headers set above
$file file_get_contents(''false$context);


Version Description
5.1.0 Added the offset and maxlen parameters.


Note: This function is binary-safe.


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.


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 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

file_exists || file_put_contents || Filesystem Functions || PHP Manual
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