PYTHON file_get_contents

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Python replacement for PHP's file_get_contents [ edit | history ]
For offline files:
open(filename).read(1000) # ALWAYS specify a max size (in bytes). See [url][/url]

For online files (e.g webpage):
# Python 2
import urllib2

# Python 3
import urllib.request

#Python 2 function
import urllib2
def file_get_contents(filename, use_include_path = 0, context = None, offset = -1, maxlen = -1):
    if (filename.find('://') > 0):
        ret = urllib2.urlopen(filename).read()
        if (offset > 0):
            ret = ret[offset:]
        if (maxlen > 0):
            ret = ret[:maxlen]
        return ret
        fp = open(filename,'rb')
            if (offset > 0):
            ret =
            return ret
            fp.close( )

PHP file_get_contents

PHP original manual for file_get_contents [ show | ]


(PHP 4 >= 4.3.0, PHP 5)

file_get_contentsReads entire file into a string


string file_get_contents ( string $filename [, int $flags= 0 [, resource $context [, int $offset= -1 [, int $maxlen= -1 ]]]] )

This function is similar to file(), except that file_get_contents() returns the file in a string, starting at the specified offset up to maxlen 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.

Note: 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.


For all versions prior to PHP 6, this parameter is called use_include_path and is a bool. The flags parameter is only available since PHP 6. If you use an older version and want to search for filename in the include path, this parameter must be TRUE. Since PHP 6, you have to use the FILE_USE_INCLUDE_PATH flag instead.

The value of flags can be any combination of the following flags (with some restrictions), joined with the binary OR (|) operator.

Available flags
Flag Description
FILE_USE_INCLUDE_PATH Search for filename in the include directory. See include_path for more information.
FILE_TEXT If unicode semantics are enabled, the default encoding of the read data is UTF-8. You can specify a different encoding by creating a custom context or by changing the default using stream_default_encoding(). This flag cannot be used with FILE_BINARY.
FILE_BINARY With this flag, the file is read in binary mode. This is the default setting and cannot be used with FILE_TEXT.


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.


Maximum length of data read.

Return Values

The function returns the read data or FALSE on failure.


Example #1 Get and output the source of the homepage of a website


Example #2 Searching within the include_path

// <= PHP 5
$file file_get_contents('./people.txt'true);
// > PHP 5
$file file_get_contents('./people.txt'FILE_USE_INCLUDE_PATH);

Example #3 Reading a section of a file

// Read 14 characters starting from the 21st character
$section file_get_contents('./people.txt'NULLNULL2014);

The above example will output something similar to:

string(14) "lle Bjori Ro" 

Example #4 Using stream contexts

// Create a stream
$opts = array(
'header'=>"Accept-language: en\r\n" .
"Cookie: foo=bar\r\n"

$context stream_context_create($opts);

// Open the file using the HTTP headers set above
$file file_get_contents(''false$context);


Version Description
5.0.0 Added context support.
5.1.0 Added the offset and maxlen parameters.
6.0.0 The use_include_path parameter was replaced by the flags parameter.


Note: 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 and List of Supported Protocols/Wrappers for a list of supported URL protocols.


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 4.3.7 and higher 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.

See Also