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How To Force File Download With PHP

Be First!
by May 7, 2012 Uncategorized

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()) &&
        $buffer = fread($file, $chunksize);
        print($buffer); //echo($buffer); // is also possible
        $bytes_send += strlen($buffer);
 } else die('Error - can not open file.');
            Example of use
Make sure script execution doesn't time out.
Set maximum execution time in seconds (0 means no limit).
output_file($file_path, 'some file.txt', 'text/plain');



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