Upload Files to Your Site by URL in PHP

You can easily import a file by its URL on your back end in PHP; here’s how.


Composer: The PHP Package Manager

First, make sure you’ve got Composer installed on the system you’ll be playing with. Briefly, you can run the following on Mac/*NIX systems:

php -r "copy('https://getcomposer.org/installer', 'composer-setup.php');"
php -r "if (hash_file('sha384', 'composer-setup.php') === '93b54496392c062774670ac18b134c3b3a95e5a5e5c8f1a9f115f203b75bf9a129d5daa8ba6a13e2cc8a1da0806388a8') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"
php composer-setup.php
php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"

While it technically can run right there where it landed, it is strongly recommended that you move composer to a system-wide location:

mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

Windows users, why aren’t you using WSL? If you want a native Windows version of Composer, you can use the installer here: https://getcomposer.org/doc/00-intro.md#installation-windows

Look to https://getcomposer.org/ as the source of truth for that stuff.

Filestack’s PHP SDK

Install in the directory where you’ll be awesome:

$ composer require --prefer-dist filestack/filestack-php

Don’t type the dollar sign; that’s silly.


Using the PHP SDK

If you’re in a framework such as Zend, CodeIgniter, Laravel, or Symfony, you’ll want to wire this up according to the framework’s tooling. If you’re just creating a one-off file to try this out, here’s the barebones import of the composer-require’d filestack-php package:

require_once 'vendor/autoload.php';

use Filestack\FilestackClient;
use Filestack\Filelink;
use Filestack\FilestackException;

I’ll save that in a file called upload-url.php. Magic time.

Upload a file by URL

We’ve arrived at the moment of truth:

$filelink = null;
$fileurl = 'https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3258/2673143903_db2690e28f_b.jpg';

$client = new FilestackClient('MyAPIKEYwasHereBeforeIBlogged');

try {
   $filelink = $client->uploadUrl($fileurl);
} catch (FilestackException $e) {
   echo $e->getMessage();
   echo $e->getCode();

Run this in a readable test by piping the output to less:

$ php upload-url.php | less

Got a mouse wheel? You can scroll through the output in less, or press the spacebar to go down a screenful. That’s right, science.

The part I’m really interested in is the file handle. I can see from the var_dump structure that I could access that by pulling out $filelink->handle after the upload completes. Cool! I’d store that, associate it with the user ID of the person (or bot) utilizing my app to make this kind of upload happen, and then later I can pull up all the file handles associated with my user and do more things.

The view on the terminal after upload a file by URL in PHP

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