Forcing to download a file using PHP

05/08/2020 01:30:01

I have a CSV file on my server. If a user clicks on a link it should download, but instead it opens up in my browser window.

My code looks as follows

<a href="files/csv/example/example.csv">
    Click here to download an example of the "CSV" file
</a>

It's a normal webserver where I have all of my development work on.

I tried something like:

<a href="files/csv/example/csv.php">
    Click here to download an example of the "CSV" file
</a>

Now the contents of my csv.php file:

header('Content-Type: application/csv');
header('Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=example.csv');
header('Pragma: no-cache');

Now my issue is it's downloading, but not my CSV file. It creates a new file.

Verified Answer (106 Votes)

09/23/2009 18:09:02

.htaccess Solution

To brute force all CSV files on your server to download, add in your .htaccess file:

AddType application/octet-stream csv

PHP Solution

header('Content-Type: application/csv');
header('Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=example.csv');
header('Pragma: no-cache');
readfile("/path/to/yourfile.csv");
106

Answer #2 (25 Votes)

02/12/2014 20:51:06

Or you can do this using HTML5. Simply with

<a href="example.csv" download>download not open it</a>
25

Answer #3 (15 Votes)

09/23/2009 18:16:32

This cannot be done reliably, since it's up to the browser to decide what to do with an URL it's been asked to retrieve.

You can suggest to the browser that it should offer to "save to disk" right away by sending a Content-disposition header:

header("Content-disposition: attachment");

I'm not sure how well this is supported by various browsers. The alternative is to send a Content-type of application/octet-stream, but that is a hack (you're basically telling the browser "I'm not telling you what kind of file this is" and depending on the fact that most browsers will then offer a download dialog) and allegedly causes problems with Internet Explorer.

Read more about this in the Web Authoring FAQ.

Edit You've already switched to a PHP file to deliver the data - which is necessary to set the Content-disposition header (unless there are some arcane Apache settings that can also do this). Now all that's left to do is for that PHP file to read the contents of the CSV file and print them - the filename=example.csv in the header only suggests to the client browser what name to use for the file, it does not actually fetch the data from the file on the server.

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