PHP 4, PHP 5, PHP 7, PHP 8
dba_open - Open database

dba_open( string$path, string$mode, [string$handler], ... string$args ): resource|false

dba_open establishes a database instance for path with mode using handler.



Commonly a regular path in your filesystem.


It is r for read access, w for read/write access to an already existing database, c for read/write access and database creation if it doesn't currently exist, and n for create, truncate and read/write access. The database is created in BTree mode, other modes (like Hash or Queue) are not supported.

Additionally you can set the database lock method with the next char. Use l to lock the database with a .lck file or d to lock the databasefile itself. It is important that all of your applications do this consistently.

If you want to test the access and do not want to wait for the lock you can add t as third character. When you are absolutely sure that you do not require database locking you can do so by using - instead of l or d. When none of d, l or - is used, dba will lock on the database file as it would with d.


There can only be one writer for one database file. When you use dba on a web server and more than one request requires write operations they can only be done one after another. Also read during write is not allowed. The dba extension uses locks to prevent this. See the following table:

DBA locking
already open mode = "rl" mode = "rlt" mode = "wl" mode = "wlt" mode = "rd" mode = "rdt" mode = "wd" mode = "wdt"
not open ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok
mode = "rl" ok ok wait false illegal illegal illegal illegal
mode = "wl" wait false wait false illegal illegal illegal illegal
mode = "rd" illegal illegal illegal illegal ok ok wait false
mode = "wd" illegal illegal illegal illegal wait false wait false
ok: the second call will be successful. wait: the second call waits until dba_close is called for the first. false: the second call returns false. illegal: you must not mix "l" and "d" modifiers for mode parameter.


The name of the handler which shall be used for accessing path. It is passed all optional parameters given to dba_open and can act on behalf of them.


Optional string parameters which are passed to the driver.

The cdb, cdb_make, flatfile, inifile, qdbm and tcadb drivers do not support additional parameters.

The db1, db2, db3, db4, dbm, gdbm, and ndbm drivers supports a single additional parameter $filemode, which has the same meaning as the $mode parameter of chmod, and defaults to 0644.

The lmdb driver accepts two additional parameters. The first allows to specify the $filemode (see description above), and the second to specify the $mapsize, where the value should be a multiple of the page size of the OS, or zero, to use the default mapsize. The $mapsize parameter is supported as of PHP 7.3.14 and 7.4.2, respectively.

Return Values

Returns a positive handle on success or false on failure.


Version Description
7.3.14, 7.4.2 The lmdb driver now supports an additional $mapsize parameter.

Related Functions

Function dba_open:

  • Manual

Database (dbm-style) Abstraction Layer Functions

Most used PHP functions