PHP Outputting File Attachments with Headers


Solution 1

Ok, I figured it out.

The script above DOES work.

What was happening is I had a series of include_once files, and one of them had a blank line causing the issue.

Solution 2

Not sure if this is the real answer, but I think you intended

header('Content-Type: ' . $mimeType);

to be

header('Content-Type: ' . $mimeTypes[$mimeType]);
Author by


Updated on June 16, 2022


  • OneNerd
    OneNerd less than a minute

    After reading a few posts here I formulated this function which is sort of a mishmash of a bunch of others:

    function outputFile( $filePath, $fileName, $mimeType = '' ) {
        // Setup
        $mimeTypes = array(
            'pdf' => 'application/pdf',
            'txt' => 'text/plain',
            'html' => 'text/html',
            'exe' => 'application/octet-stream',
            'zip' => 'application/zip',
            'doc' => 'application/msword',
            'xls' => 'application/',
            'ppt' => 'application/',
            'gif' => 'image/gif',
            'png' => 'image/png',
            'jpeg' => 'image/jpg',
            'jpg' => 'image/jpg',
            'php' => 'text/plain'
        // Send Headers
        //-- next line fixed as per suggestion --
        header('Content-Type: ' . $mimeTypes[$mimeType]); 
        header('Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="' . $fileName . '"');
        header('Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary');
        header('Accept-Ranges: bytes');
        header('Cache-Control: private');
        header('Pragma: private');
        header('Expires: Mon, 26 Jul 1997 05:00:00 GMT');

    I have a php page (file.php) which does something like this (lots of other code stripped out):

       // I run this thru a safe function not shown here
    $safe_filename = $_GET['filename']; 
    outputFile ( "/the/file/path/{$safe_filename}", 
                 substr($safe_filename, -3) );

    Seems like it should work, and it almost does, but I am having the following issues:

    1. When its a text file, I am getting a strange symbol as the first letter in the text document

    2. When its a word doc, it is corrupt (presumably that same first bit or byte throwing things off).

    3. I presume all other file types will be corrupt - have not even tried them

    Any ideas on what I am doing wrong?

    Thanks -

    UPDATE: changed line of code as suggested - still same issue.