PHP – File Delete

Posted on May 3, 2011

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You know how to create a file. You know how to open a file in an assortment of different ways. You even know how to read and write data from a file!

Now it’s time to learn how to destroy (delete) files. In PHP you delete files by calling the unlink function.

PHP – File Unlink

When you view the contents of a directory you can see all the files that exist in that directory because the operating system or application that you are using displays a list of filenames. You can think of these filenames as links that join the files to the directory you are currently viewing.

If you unlink a file, you are effectively causing the system to forget about it or delete it!

Before you can delete (unlink) a file, you must first be sure that it is not open in your program. Use the fclose function to close down an open file.

PHP – Unlink Function

Remember from the PHP File Create lesson that we created a file named testFile.txt.

PHP Code:

$myFile = "testFile.txt";
$fh = fopen($myFile, 'w') or die("can't open file");
fclose($fh);

Now to delete testFile.txt we simply run a PHP script that is located in the same directory. Unlink just needs to know the name of the file to start working its destructive magic.

PHP Code:

$myFile = "testFile.txt";
unlink($myFile);

The testFile.txt should now be removed.

PHP – Unlink: Safety First!

With great power comes a slough of potential things you can mess up! When you are performing the unlink function be sure that you are deleting the right file!

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Posted in: PHP