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Upload files in Python

  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 07 Oct, 2021

In this article, we will be looking into the process of file uploading in Python using cgi environment. One often comes across various web applications in which the client or the users is required to upload data in the form of a file(eg. image file, an audio file, text file, etc). There are two aspects to uploading a file, as there are two sides to that particular interaction being client-side and the server-side. A form needs to be created to accept the user input in the form of a file.
An HTML form has different attributes that you can set it to, for instance, which URL is the uploaded data is to be submitted is done through the action attribute. An enctype attribute called multi-part/form-data is required in a HTML form to upload a file. Secondly we will be required to use the input tag of HTML and set it equal to “file”. This adds a upload button in addition to an input button in the form. The below code example demonstrates it well:

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   <form enctype = "multipart/form-data" action = "" method = "post">
<p>Upload File: <input type = "file" name = "filename" /></p>
<p><input type = "submit" value = "Upload" /></p>

The output for the above HTML code would look like below: 

In the above code, the attribute action has a python script that gets executed when a file is uploaded by the user. On the server end as the python script accepts the uploaded data the field storage object retrieves the submitted name of the file from the form’s “filename”. Now all the server needs to do it is read the file that has been uploaded and write it to the “fileitem”(say, ). At the end of this entire process the uploaded file now will be written to the server.
So, the python script looks somewhat like the below code: 


import os
fileitem = form['filename']
# check if the file has been uploaded
if fileitem.filename:
    # strip the leading path from the file name
    fn = os.path.basename(fileitem.filename)
   # open read and write the file into the server
    open(fn, 'wb').write(

Note: The above python script doesn’t work on every server as every server has its own dependencies to allow running a script in their server for security reasons. For instance if using an Azure server one would need to import msvcrt which is Microsoft visual C++ runtime module to work.

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