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How to automatically start a download in PHP ?

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  • Last Updated : 14 Sep, 2020
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This post deals with creating a start downloading file using PHP. The idea is to make a download button which will redirect you to another page with the PHP script that will automatically start the download.

Creating a download button:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta name="viewport" content=
        "width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
        .btn {
            background-color: limeGreen;
            border: none;
            color: white;
            padding: 12px 30px;
            cursor: pointer;
            font-size: 20px;
        .btn:hover {
            background-color: green;
        <p>Auto width:</p>
        <button class="btn">
            <i class="fa fa-download">Download</i>
        <p>Full width:</p>
        <button class="btn" style="width:100%">
            <i class="fa fa-download">Download</i>


To redirect to some file which has the file to be downloaded, create an HTML form as shown below.

<form action="downloadFile.php" method="post">
 <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Download" />


PHP code to download: When the user clicks the above button, the code will be redirected to the “downloadFile.php” file. Now, use the URL of the file and PHP file_get_contents() function to download the file.

// Initialize a file URL to 
// the variable 
// Use basename() function to 
// return the file  
$file_name = basename($url); 
// Use file_get_contents() function 
// to get the file from url and use 
// file_put_contents() function to 
// save the file by using base name 
if(file_put_contents( $file_name
      file_get_contents($url))) { 
    echo "File downloaded successfully"
    echo "File downloading failed."


  • Before running the program:
  • After running the program:

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