How To Force File Download With PHP

Say you want a PHP script that will make the browser to download a file instead of opening it. This is useful for common filetypes that would normally be displayed in a browser, like .html, images, PDFs and .doc files.

You can find a lot of scripts that do this on the web but one thing most of them don’t handle is download resuming and multi-thread downloading. If you don’t need that feature, feel free to use a simpler script. Personally I’ve found that a function that handles download resuming works more reliably across various browsers (what actually happened : a simpler script didn’t work with Opera + my weird Internet connection, so I found another script and decided to make broad generalizations about download resuming :p).

Note – most of the code below isn’t mine. I found it somewhere on the web and adjusted it for my needs; unfortunately I’ve lost the URL of the original page. If you know where it came from, let me know and I’ll add a link to this post.

function output_file($file, $name, $mime_type=”)
This function takes a path to a file to output ($file),
the filename that the browser will see ($name) and
the MIME type of the file ($mime_type, optional).

If you want to do something on download abort/finish,
if(!is_readable($file)) die(‘File not found or inaccessible!’);

$size = filesize($file);
$name = rawurldecode($name);

/* Figure out the MIME type (if not specified) */
“pdf” => “application/pdf”,
“txt” => “text/plain”,
“html” => “text/html”,
“htm” => “text/html”,
“exe” => “application/octet-stream”,
“zip” => “application/zip”,
“doc” => “application/msword”,
“xls” => “application/”,
“ppt” => “application/”,
“gif” => “image/gif”,
“png” => “image/png”,
“jpeg”=> “image/jpg”,
“jpg” => “image/jpg”,
“php” => “text/plain”

$file_extension = strtolower(substr(strrchr($file,”.”),1));
if(array_key_exists($file_extension, $known_mime_types)){
} else {

@ob_end_clean(); //turn off output buffering to decrease cpu usage

// required for IE, otherwise Content-Disposition may be ignored
ini_set(‘zlib.output_compression’, ‘Off’);

header(‘Content-Type: ‘ . $mime_type);
header(‘Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=”‘.$name.'”‘);
header(“Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary”);
header(‘Accept-Ranges: bytes’);

/* The three lines below basically make the
download non-cacheable */
header(“Cache-control: private”);
header(‘Pragma: private’);
header(“Expires: Mon, 26 Jul 1997 05:00:00 GMT”);

// multipart-download and download resuming support
list($a, $range) = explode(“=”,$_SERVER[‘HTTP_RANGE’],2);
list($range) = explode(“,”,$range,2);
list($range, $range_end) = explode(“-“, $range);
if(!$range_end) {
} else {

$new_length = $range_end-$range+1;
header(“HTTP/1.1 206 Partial Content”);
header(“Content-Length: $new_length”);
header(“Content-Range: bytes $range-$range_end/$size”);
} else {
header(“Content-Length: “.$size);

/* output the file itself */
$chunksize = 1*(1024*1024); //you may want to change this
$bytes_send = 0;
if ($file = fopen($file, ‘r’))
fseek($file, $range);

while(!feof($file) &&
(!connection_aborted()) &&
($bytes_send<$new_length) ) { $buffer = fread($file, $chunksize); print($buffer); //echo($buffer); // is also possible flush(); $bytes_send += strlen($buffer); } fclose($file); } else die('Error - can not open file.'); die(); } /********************************************* Example of use **********************************************/ /* Make sure script execution doesn't time out. Set maximum execution time in seconds (0 means no limit). */ set_time_limit(0); $file_path='that_one_file.txt'; output_file($file_path, 'some file.txt', 'text/plain'); [/sourcecode] Related info
Determining MIME type of a file automatically
Common MIME types
HTTP, caching and other stuff

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124 Responses to “How To Force File Download With PHP”

  1. Thanks for the detailed useful codes.

  2. Nice Article, Keep it up!

  3. Thanks for sharing detailed information for this.

  4. […] 更新:我按照这里的指南建立了一个更健壮的文件下载过程(; ,但是在执行脚本与显示浏览器的下载对话框之间存在明显的延迟。谁能找出造成这种情况的瓶颈? […]

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