PHP File Uploader: Expectations vs. Reality

Today the market is flooded with tons of DIY PHP file uploaders. You cannot find the perfect one without using them or knowing the user’s experiences. Most of the time, users are frustrated and pick the wrong one, which disappoints them and hampers their workflow. Thanks to filestack’s PHP file uploader. It gives you a fantastic uploading experience while spending valuable time on your product vision, not already-solved problems.

This article will go through the PHP configuration options that need to be in place for successful file uploads. Following that, we’ll explore the expectation vs. reality of a PHP file uploader.

Let’s explore!

What is a PHP file uploader?

PHP is one of the most popular programming languages for handling server-side applications of websites and web services [1]. PHP file uploader includes all the functions to upload, validate and verify files uploaded from the client-side. You can create a PHP file uploader with a few lines of code with little effort.

How can we enable the PHP file uploader to be functional?

Firstly, we can build our PHP uploader to upload files, images, and videos. You can simply add PHP file upload functionality to your site with a few code lines. The upside is that you have complete control of the uploaded files.

Alternatively, you can take help from a third-party PHP uploader service. The good side is that you do not have to manage the complex file upload infrastructure behind-the-scenes.

How does PHP file uploader work?

A PHP script is used with an HTML form to allow users to upload files to the server to upload a file. Initially, files are uploaded into a temporary directory and then relocated to a target destination by a PHP script.

Information in the phpinfo.php page describes the temporary directory used for file uploads as upload_tmp_dir, and the maximum permitted size of files is upload_max_filesize. These parameters configure into the PHP configuration file php.ini

The process of uploading a file follows these steps −

  • The user opens the page from their end, consisting of an HTML form featuring text files, a browse button, and a submit button.
  • To upload from the local PC, the user clicks the browse button and selects a file.
  • The full path to the selected file appears in the text field then users can click the submit button.
  • Then the selected file is sent to the temporary directory on the server.

The PHP script specifies the form handler in the form’s action attribute. It can check that the file has arrived and then copy it into an intended directory.

The PHP script confirms the file uploading success to the user. For more about PHP uploaders, please click here.

Why building your upload infrastructure doesn’t worth it?

While growing your business, you have more and more users. While they are trying to upload simultaneously, it can cause numerous complex problems to diagnose. You need expertise in many fields to build a superior uploader. For example, data handling, Storage, exception handling, congestion detection, multithreading, image and character recognition, etc.

That’s a long list of expertise that needs to be solved by hiring individual experts or spending countless hours harvesting this information. The easy solution is finding a dedicated PHP upload solution that has solved these problems. 

What is the Solution? Use Filestack’s PHP SDK

Filestack’s PHP File Upload Service is an easier way of adding PHP upload functionality. It is a breakthrough in uploading technology as it meets the user’s expectations in real-world use. The official PHP SDK for Filestack is an API and content management system that makes it easy to add powerful file uploading and transformation capabilities to any web or mobile application.

How can I install Filestack PHP?

Install filestack with composer, either run:

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

How does Filestack’s library use it?

FilestackClient – for easy file upload (creates Filelink objects)

Filelink – for file handling features like downloading, converting, etc.

FileSecurity – used for applying policy and signature values to your API calls

How to implement file uploading with Filestack?

First, you need to create an instance of FilestackClient

use Filestack\FilestackClient;

$client = new FilestackClient('YOUR_API_KEY');

Call the upload() function

$filelink = $client->upload('/path/to/file');

That’s it! Now you have uploaded your file. For more information, check out our file uploading with PHP post.

Does your PHP file uploader come with storage facilities?

Filestack provides Amazon S3 as the default storage facility for your uploaded file [2]. It has introduced Storage Aliases, a private cloud storage area (at the granularity you desire) that creates a secure, abstracted URL for the content within that Storage that can be transformed and served. And it can be done without re-uploading content and keeping the Storage private.

$client = new FilestackClient('YOUR_API_KEY');
$extras = [
    'Location' => 'dropbox',
    'Filename' => 'somefilename.jpg',

$filepath = '/path/to/file';
$filelink = $client->upload($filepath);

# get metadata of file
$metadata = $client->getMetaData($filelink->handle, $fields);

# get content of a file
$content = $client->getContent($filelink->handle);

# download a file
$destination = '/path/to/file';
$result = $client->download($filelink->handle, $destination);

# overwrite a file
$filelink2 = $client->overwrite('/path/to/file', $filelink->handle);

That’s it!

Can I manipulate files using the PHP uploader?

We can manipulate the file using filelink objects.

You can create it in two ways:

  • by uploading a file using FilestackClient
  • by initializing Filelink with filehandle and api_key

The first method you already know; the second method is straightforward and will create objects representing uploaded files.

use Filestack\filelink;

$filelink = new Filelink('some-file-handle', 'YOUR_API_KEY');

# transforming an image
$transformed_filelink = $filelink
            ->blur(['amount' => '20'])

# get metadata
$metadata = $filelink->getMetaData();

# get content of a file
$content = $filelink->getContent();

$filepath = '/path/to/file';

# download a file

# overwrite remote file with local file

# delete remote file

Does the PHP file uploader ensure tagging files and detect safe for work content?

use Filestack\FilestackClient;
use Filestack\FilestackSecurity;

$security = new FilestackSecurity('YOUR_SECURITY_SECRET');
$client = new FilestackClient('YOUR_API_KEY', $security);

$file_handle = 'some-file-handle';

# get tags with client
$result_json = $client->getTags($file_handle);

# get tags with filelink
$filelink = new Filelink($file_handle, 'YOUR_API_KEY', $security);

$json_result = $filelink->getTags();

# get safe for work flag with client
$result_json = $client->getSafeForWork($file_handle);

# get safe for work flag with filelink
$json_result = $filelink->getSafeForWork();


Does the PHP file uploader have an intelligent ingestion feature?

The Intelligent Ingestion feature allows users to upload a file in chunks of not precise size. It results in a more stable upload flow that ensures the uploaded file will eventually complete successfully, regardless of network latency or timeout errors.[3]

Filestack Intelligent Ingestion is a newly additive to the Filestack Content Ingestion Network (CIN), which optimizes upload speed for customers in challenging network conditions, such as mountainous terrain, high network congestion, or limited network conditions bandwidth infrastructure.

To enable this, insert the code:

$client = new FilestackClient('YOUR_API_KEY');
$filelink = $client->upload('/path/to/file', ['intelligent' => true]);

Does your PHP uploader prevent failed uploads with a reliable infrastructure?

It’s beyond imagination how failed uploads negatively impact user experience. Building a reliable infrastructure capable of handling regular content ingestion, transformation, and delivery for millions of files can be overwhelming. It creates pressure on your network, and servers are difficult to gauge. Most uploaders’ environments are not up to the task and have no way of reporting timeouts and other failures.

When your user needs to upload large images, audio, and video transformations, AI/ML-driven image recognition capabilities, and analytics, the content ingestion and management task become nearly impossible.

Does the PHP uploader provide instant access to enhance product performance?

When you use an open-source or DIY implementation of content ingestion, it has a significant drawback. Because the content (an image, for example) can’t be transformed (resolution, red-eye reduction, filters, etc.), you can serve using a CDN until all its contents transfer to its destination storage location. In the other scenario, when users upload many large files, network latency can cause a significant lag in transforming and delivering the assets. 

Filestack has developed a groundbreaking approach to solving the problem. Filestack’s Content Ingestion Network (CIN) ensures seamless content integration into an application. Files uploaded by content Ingestion API first uploads to the closest point of presence. Immediately, the content can be transformed and served while the bytes transfer from the point of sight to the destination storage location. With the Content Instant Access feature, uploads can be approximately 10x faster than traditional file uploading approaches.

Does the PHP uploader provide a copyright detection feature?

The Content Ingestion API workflow is an additive feature that can detect images that are copyright protected[4]. When your users upload a single image or millions of photos, a single API call will display the copyright status of any image. This feature safeguards businesses that rely on user-generated content and require their uploads to be free of copyrights.

Does your PHP file uploader protect you from malicious attacks?

Malicious attacks are one of the significant existential threats to developers. Data breaches, downtime, and even minor frustrations to a user base can instantly degrade a brand. As a developer, the last thing you want is to introduce an exploit that victimizes their users. It would help if you had this protection at your fingertips, and you don’t necessarily have time to construct it from scratch. Filestack has security features that protect from almost every primary source of danger.

Ready to start building robust PHP file upload solutions using Filestack?

FileStack is the #1 developer service for uploads. Get user content from anywhere and improve file or video uploads with powerful, easy-to-use Filestack. It makes API Uploads, URL ingestion, and iOS/Android device integration fast and easy.

So, what are you waiting for! Head over to Filestack and sign up for free today!




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