PHP 4 >= 4.3.0, PHP 5, PHP 7, PHP 8
file_get_contents - Reads entire file into a string

     [bool$use_include_path = false],
     [resource|null$context = null],
     [int$offset = 0],
     [int|null$length = null]
): string|false

This function is similar to file, except that file_get_contents returns the file in a string, starting at the specified offset up to length bytes. On failure, file_get_contents will return false.

file_get_contents is the preferred way to read the contents of a file into a string. It will use memory mapping techniques if supported by your OS to enhance performance.


If you're opening a URI with special characters, such as spaces, you need to encode the URI with urlencode.



Name of the file to read.


The FILE_USE_INCLUDE_PATH constant can be used to trigger include path search. This is not possible if strict typing is enabled, since FILE_USE_INCLUDE_PATH is an int. Use true instead.


A valid context resource created with stream_context_create. If you don't need to use a custom context, you can skip this parameter by null.


The offset where the reading starts on the original stream. Negative offsets count from the end of the stream.

Seeking (offset) is not supported with remote files. Attempting to seek on non-local files may work with small offsets, but this is unpredictable because it works on the buffered stream.


Maximum length of data read. The default is to read until end of file is reached. Note that this parameter is applied to the stream processed by the filters.

Return Values

The function returns the read data or false on failure.


This function may return Boolean false, but may also return a non-Boolean value which evaluates to false. Please read the section on Booleans for more information. Use the === operator for testing the return value of this function.

Exceptions and Errors

An E_WARNING level error is generated if filename cannot be found, length is less than zero, or if seeking to the specified offset in the stream fails.

When file_get_contents is called on a directory, an E_WARNING level error is generated on Windows, and as of PHP 7.4 on other operating systems as well.



This function is binary-safe.

A URL can be used as a filename with this function if the fopen wrappers have been enabled. See fopen for more details on how to specify the filename. See the for links to information about what abilities the various wrappers have, notes on their usage, and information on any predefined variables they may provide.


When using SSL, Microsoft IIS will violate the protocol by closing the connection without sending a close_notify indicator. PHP will report this as "SSL: Fatal Protocol Error" when you reach the end of the data. To work around this, the value of error_reporting should be lowered to a level that does not include warnings. PHP can detect buggy IIS server software when you open the stream using the https:// wrapper and will suppress the warning. When using fsockopen to create an ssl:// socket, the developer is responsible for detecting and suppressing this warning.


Version Description
8.0.0 length is nullable now.
7.1.0 Support for negative offsets has been added.

Related Functions

Example of file_get_contents

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