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How to create PHP based email form with file attachment

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This article shows you how to create a PHP based email form that supports file attachment. The article will also show you how to validate the type and size of the uploaded file.

Note: It is easy to create complete file upload forms using Simfatic Forms. Visually design the form, get form submissions by email, save submissions to database and more. No coding required. Read more about Simfatic Forms here.

The HTML form with file upload box

The code for an HTML form with a file upload box is given below. User can click on the ‘Browse’ button to select the file from his/her local machine.

<form method="POST" name="email_form_with_php"
action="php-form-action.php" enctype="multipart/form-data"> 

<label for='name'>Name: </label>
<input type="text" name="name" >

<label for='email'>Email: </label>
<input type="text" name="email" >

<label for='message'>Message:</label>
<textarea name="message"></textarea>

<label for='uploaded_file'>Select A File To Upload:</label>
<input type="file" name="uploaded_file">

<input type="submit" value="Submit" name='submit'>
</form>

The form will look like this:

Please note that we have added:

"enctype="multipart/form-data"

while defining the <form> tag. This is to tell the browser that this form will be used to upload files. Then we have added the “name” and “email” fields to collect the user info. The third form field is the file upload box.

<input type="file" name="uploaded_file">

On hitting the “Submit” button, the form data along with the file data is posted to the script pointed to by the ‘action’ attribute of the form.

Getting the uploaded file in the PHP script

In the PHP script, we will first validate the submission and if the validation succeeds, we will send the submission by email.

We can access the uploaded file and its different attributes by using the $_FILES array. This array will contain the name, size, path and other attributes of the uploaded file. The code below gets the name, type and size of the uploaded file:

//Get the uploaded file information
$name_of_uploaded_file =
    basename($_FILES['uploaded_file']['name']);

//get the file extension of the file
$type_of_uploaded_file =
    substr($name_of_uploaded_file,
    strrpos($name_of_uploaded_file, '.') + 1);

$size_of_uploaded_file =
    $_FILES["uploaded_file"]["size"]/1024;//size in KBs

The code above is getting the different attributes of the uploaded file from the $_FILES[] array.

Validating the size and extension of the uploaded file

Suppose we don’t want to allow files greater than the size of 100KB and we only want to allow image files to be uploaded. The validation code goes like this:

//Settings
$max_allowed_file_size = 100; // size in KB
$allowed_extensions = array("jpg", "jpeg", "gif", "bmp");

//Validations
if($size_of_uploaded_file > $max_allowed_file_size )
{
  $errors .= "\n Size of file should be less than $max_allowed_file_size";
}

//------ Validate the file extension -----
$allowed_ext = false;
for($i=0; $i<sizeof($allowed_extensions); $i++)
{
  if(strcasecmp($allowed_extensions[$i],$type_of_uploaded_file) == 0)
  {
    $allowed_ext = true;
  }
}

if(!$allowed_ext)
{
  $errors .= "\n The uploaded file is not supported file type. ".
  " Only the following file types are supported: ".implode(',',$allowed_extensions);
}

In the above code we are validating the file size and type. We have the maximum allowed file ($max_allowed_file_size) size set to 100KB. The $allowed_extensions array cotains the file extensions of all allowed file types.
The validation code checks to see whether the file extension matches any of the extensions in the $allowed_extensions array.

If there are errors found in the validation, the error is displayed. Else we proceed with sending the email.

Copy the uploaded file

Now, its time to send the uploaded file with the user message to the recipient’s email address.

First of all we shall copy the file to a folder on the server.

//copy the temp. uploaded file to uploads folder
$path_of_uploaded_file = $upload_folder . $name_of_uploaded_file;
$tmp_path = $_FILES["uploaded_file"]["tmp_name"];

if(is_uploaded_file($tmp_path))
{
  if(!copy($tmp_path,$path_of_uploaded_file))
  {
    $errors .= '\n error while copying the uploaded file';
  }
}

This code copies the uploaded file to the ‘uploads’ folder. You can change the uploads folder by updating $upload_folder.
Please make sure that “uploads” folder has “777″ permissions.

Sending the Email

The next step is to compose and send the email. We will use the Pear library for composing and sending the email. ( see the Pear installation instructions below ) The pear classes PEAR::Mail and PEAR::Mail_Mime are used for sending the email with the attachment.

First, we need to include the pear library files for these classes.

include_once('Mail.php');
include_once('Mail_Mime/mime.php');

The code below composes and sends the email

$message = new Mail_mime();

$message->setTXTBody($text);

$message->addAttachment($path_of_uploaded_file);

$body = $message->get();

$extraheaders = array("From"=>$from, "Subject"=>$subject,"Reply-To"=>$visitor_email);

$headers = $message->headers($extraheaders);

$mail = Mail::factory("mail");

$mail->send($to, $headers, $body);

Mail_mime() class helps in composing a MIME message. In the code above, a Mail_mime object is created, the text body is updated ( $message->setTXTBody($text); ) and the attachment is added ( $message->addAttachment(file) )

The MIME encoded message is then sent using the Mail class.

The sample PHP upload form

Click here to download php-email-form-attachment.zip

The download contains a complete PHP upload form that sends the uploaded by email.

How to Install the PEAR Library

In this article we used the PEAR::Mail and PEAR::Mail_Mime classes to send the email with attachment. Before using these classes, you need to install the PEAR package on your server. It is beyond the scope of this tutorial to discuss the installation of PEAR. But, I want to give you a quick tip. Get the PEAR installer script from

http://pear.php.net/go-pear

Save the file as “pear-installer.php”. Upload this file to your server in any directory. Then run this file from your browser, like this:

http://www.yourdomain.com/pear-installer.php

This display the web interface to install the PEAR on your website. The interface shows detailed instructions. After Pear is installed, search and install packages “mail” and “mail_mime”.

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  • osayawe

    Please note that my site is not yet hosted I am still developing; my testing server is my computer, please advise

  • http://comingsoon-hopefully ben

    Thanks for this article – Its fantastic ,

    Ive got one little hangup though and am truly stumped.

    I see its got a few others what did / could be done to overcome this.

    Warning: include_once(Mail_Mime/mime.php) [function.include-once]: failed to open stream:

    Warning: include_once() [function.include]: Failed opening ‘Mail_Mime/mime.php’ for inclusion

    the line of code that seems to be the issue looks like this;
    include_once(‘Mail_Mime/mime.php’);

    please help

  • ben

    I dont get any errors but it dosent upload a file , send an email or generate errors(my error alerts are turned on)

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