Working with files in laravel

Laravel provides a powerful filesystem abstraction thanks to the wonderful Flysystem PHP package by Frank de Jonge. The Laravel Flysystem integration provides simple to use drivers for working with local filesystems and Amazon S3.


The filesystem configuration file is located at config/filesystems.php. Within this file you may configure all of your "disks". Each disk represents a particular storage driver and storage location. Example configurations for each supported driver are included in the configuration file. So, modify the configuration to reflect your storage preferences and credentials.

You may configure as many disks as you like, and may even have multiple disks that use the same driver.

 The Public Disk

The public disk is intended for files that are going to be publicly accessible. By default, the public disk uses the local driver and stores these files in storage/app/public. To make them accessible from the web, you should create a symbolic link from public/storage to storage/app/public. This convention will keep your publicly accessible files in one directory that can be easily shared across deployments when using zero down-time deployment systems like Envoyer.

To create the symbolic link, you may use the storage:link Artisan command:

php artisan storage:link

Once a file has been stored and the symbolic link has been created, you can create a URL to the files using the asset helper:

echo asset('storage/file.txt');

You may configure additional symbolic links in your filesystems configuration file. Each of the configured links will be created when you run the storage:link command:

'links' => [
    public_path('storage') => storage_path('app/public'),
    public_path('images') => storage_path('app/images'),

 The Local Driver

When using the local driver, all file operations are relative to the root directory defined in your filesystems configuration file. By default, this value is set to the storage/app directory. Therefore, the following method would store a file in storage/app/file.txt:

Storage::disk('local')->put('file.txt', 'Contents');


The public visibility translates to 0755 for directories and 0644 for files. You can modify the permissions mappings in your filesystems configuration file:

'local' => [
    'driver' => 'local',
    'root' => storage_path('app'),
    'permissions' => [
        'file' => [
            'public' => 0664,
            'private' => 0600,
        'dir' => [
            'public' => 0775,
            'private' => 0700,

 Driver Prerequisites

Composer Packages

Before using the SFTP or S3 drivers, you will need to install the appropriate package via Composer:

  • SFTP: league/flysystem-sftp ~1.0
  • Amazon S3: league/flysystem-aws-s3-v3 ~1.0

An absolute must for performance is to use a cached adapter. You will need an additional package for this:

  • CachedAdapter: league/flysystem-cached-adapter ~1.0

S3 Driver Configuration

The S3 driver configuration information is located in your config/filesystems.php configuration file. This file contains an example configuration array for an S3 driver. You are free to modify this array with your own S3 configuration and credentials. For convenience, these environment variables match the naming convention used by the AWS CLI.

FTP Driver Configuration

Laravel's Flysystem integrations works great with FTP; however, a sample configuration is not included with the framework's default filesystems.php configuration file. If you need to configure a FTP filesystem, you may use the example configuration below:

'ftp' => [
    'driver' => 'ftp',
    'host' => '',
    'username' => 'your-username',
    'password' => 'your-password',

    // Optional FTP Settings...
    // 'port' => 21,
    // 'root' => '',
    // 'passive' => true,
    // 'ssl' => true,
    // 'timeout' => 30,

SFTP Driver Configuration

Laravel's Flysystem integrations works great with SFTP; however, a sample configuration is not included with the framework's default filesystems.php configuration file. If you need to configure a SFTP filesystem, you may use the example configuration below:

'sftp' => [
    'driver' => 'sftp',
    'host' => '',
    'username' => 'your-username',
    'password' => 'your-password',

    // Settings for SSH key based authentication...
    // 'privateKey' => '/path/to/privateKey',
    // 'password' => 'encryption-password',

    // Optional SFTP Settings...
    // 'port' => 22,
    // 'root' => '',
    // 'timeout' => 30,


To enable caching for a given disk, you may add a cache directive to the disk's configuration options. The cache option should be an array of caching options containing the disk name, the expire time in seconds, and the cache prefix:

's3' => [
    'driver' => 's3',

    // Other Disk Options...

    'cache' => [
        'store' => 'memcached',
        'expire' => 600,
        'prefix' => 'cache-prefix',

 Obtaining Disk Instances

The Storage facade may be used to interact with any of your configured disks. For example, you may use the put method on the facade to store an avatar on the default disk. If you call methods on the Storage facade without first calling the disk method, the method call will automatically be passed to the default disk:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;

Storage::put('avatars/1', $fileContents);

If your application interacts with multiple disks, you may use the disk method on the Storage facade to work with files on a particular disk:

Storage::disk('s3')->put('avatars/1', $fileContents);

 Retrieving Files

The get method may be used to retrieve the contents of a file. The raw string contents of the file will be returned by the method. Remember, all file paths should be specified relative to the "root" location configured for the disk:

$contents = Storage::get('file.jpg');

The exists method may be used to determine if a file exists on the disk:

$exists = Storage::disk('s3')->exists('file.jpg');

The missing method may be used to determine if a file is missing from the disk:

$missing = Storage::disk('s3')->missing('file.jpg');

 Downloading Files

The download method may be used to generate a response that forces the user's browser to download the file at the given path. The download method accepts a file name as the second argument to the method, which will determine the file name that is seen by the user downloading the file. Finally, you may pass an array of HTTP headers as the third argument to the method:

return Storage::download('file.jpg');

return Storage::download('file.jpg', $name, $headers);

 File URLs

You may use the url method to get the URL for the given file. If you are using the local driver, this will typically just prepend /storage to the given path and return a relative URL to the file. If you are using the s3 driver, the fully qualified remote URL will be returned:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;

$url = Storage::url('file.jpg');


Temporary URLs

For files stored using the s3 you may create a temporary URL to a given file using the temporaryUrl method. This method accepts a path and a DateTime instance specifying when the URL should expire:

$url = Storage::temporaryUrl(
    'file.jpg', now()->addMinutes(5)

If you need to specify additional S3 request parameters, you may pass the array of request parameters as the third argument to the temporaryUrl method:

$url = Storage::temporaryUrl(
    ['ResponseContentType' => 'application/octet-stream']

URL Host Customization

If you would like to pre-define the host for file URLs generated using the Storage facade, you may add a url option to the disk's configuration array:

'public' => [
    'driver' => 'local',
    'root' => storage_path('app/public'),
    'url' => env('APP_URL').'/storage',
    'visibility' => 'public',

 File Metadata

In addition to reading and writing files, Laravel can also provide information about the files themselves. For example, the size method may be used to get the size of the file in bytes:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;

$size = Storage::size('file.jpg');

The lastModified method returns the UNIX timestamp of the last time the file was modified:

$time = Storage::lastModified('file.jpg');

 Storing Files

The put method may be used to store raw file contents on a disk. You may also pass a PHP resource to the put method, which will use Flysystem's underlying stream support. Remember, all file paths should be specified relative to the "root" location configured for the disk:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;

Storage::put('file.jpg', $contents);

Storage::put('file.jpg', $resource);

Automatic Streaming

If you would like Laravel to automatically manage streaming a given file to your storage location, you may use the putFile or putFileAs method. This method accepts either a Illuminate\Http\File or Illuminate\Http\UploadedFile instance and will automatically stream the file to your desired location:

use Illuminate\Http\File;
use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;

// Automatically generate a unique ID for file name...
Storage::putFile('photos', new File('/path/to/photo'));

// Manually specify a file name...
Storage::putFileAs('photos', new File('/path/to/photo'), 'photo.jpg');

There are a few important things to note about the putFile method. Note that we only specified a directory name, not a file name. By default, the putFile method will generate a unique ID to serve as the file name. The file's extension will be determined by examining the file's MIME type. The path to the file will be returned by the putFile method so you can store the path, including the generated file name, in your database.

The putFile and putFileAs methods also accept an argument to specify the "visibility" of the stored file. This is particularly useful if you are storing the file on a cloud disk such as S3 and would like the file to be publicly accessible:

Storage::putFile('photos', new File('/path/to/photo'), 'public');

Prepending & Appending To Files

The prepend and append methods allow you to write to the beginning or end of a file:

Storage::prepend('file.log', 'Prepended Text');

Storage::append('file.log', 'Appended Text');

Copying & Moving Files

The copy method may be used to copy an existing file to a new location on the disk, while the move method may be used to rename or move an existing file to a new location:

Storage::copy('old/file.jpg', 'new/file.jpg');

Storage::move('old/file.jpg', 'new/file.jpg');

 File Uploads

In web applications, one of the most common use-cases for storing files is storing user uploaded files such as profile pictures, photos, and documents. Laravel makes it very easy to store uploaded files using the store method on an uploaded file instance. Call the store method with the path at which you wish to store the uploaded file:


namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use App\Http\Controllers\Controller;
use Illuminate\Http\Request;

class UserAvatarController extends Controller
     * Update the avatar for the user.
     * @param  Request  $request
     * @return Response
    public function update(Request $request)
        $path = $request->file('avatar')->store('avatars');

        return $path;

There are a few important things to note about this example. Note that we only specified a directory name, not a file name. By default, the store method will generate a unique ID to serve as the file name. The file's extension will be determined by examining the file's MIME type. The path to the file will be returned by the store method so you can store the path, including the generated file name, in your database.

You may also call the putFile method on the Storage facade to perform the same file manipulation as the example above:

$path = Storage::putFile('avatars', $request->file('avatar'));

Specifying A File Name

If you would not like a file name to be automatically assigned to your stored file, you may use the storeAs method, which receives the path, the file name, and the (optional) disk as its arguments:

$path = $request->file('avatar')->storeAs(
    'avatars', $request->user()->id

You may also use the putFileAs method on the Storage facade, which will perform the same file manipulation as the example above:

$path = Storage::putFileAs(
    'avatars', $request->file('avatar'), $request->user()->id


Specifying A Disk

By default, this method will use your default disk. If you would like to specify another disk, pass the disk name as the second argument to the store method:

$path = $request->file('avatar')->store(
    'avatars/'.$request->user()->id, 's3'

Other File Information

If you would like to get original name of the uploaded file, you may do so using the getClientOriginalName method:

$name = $request->file('avatar')->getClientOriginalName();

The extension method may be used to get the file extension of the uploaded file:

$extension = $request->file('avatar')->extension();

 File Visibility

In Laravel's Flysystem integration, "visibility" is an abstraction of file permissions across multiple platforms. Files may either be declared public or private. When a file is declared public, you are indicating that the file should generally be accessible to others. For example, when using the S3 driver, you may retrieve URLs for public files.

You can set the visibility when setting the file via the put method:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;

Storage::put('file.jpg', $contents, 'public');

If the file has already been stored, its visibility can be retrieved and set via the getVisibility and setVisibility methods:

$visibility = Storage::getVisibility('file.jpg');

Storage::setVisibility('file.jpg', 'public');

 Deleting Files

The delete method accepts a single filename or an array of files to remove from the disk:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;


Storage::delete(['file.jpg', 'file2.jpg']);

If necessary, you may specify the disk that the file should be deleted from:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;



Get All Files Within A Directory

The files method returns an array of all of the files in a given directory. If you would like to retrieve a list of all files within a given directory including all subdirectories, you may use the allFiles method:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;

$files = Storage::files($directory);

$files = Storage::allFiles($directory);

Get All Directories Within A Directory

The directories method returns an array of all the directories within a given directory. Additionally, you may use the allDirectories method to get a list of all directories within a given directory and all of its subdirectories:

$directories = Storage::directories($directory);

// Recursive...
$directories = Storage::allDirectories($directory);

Create A Directory

The makeDirectory method will create the given directory, including any needed subdirectories:


Delete A Directory

Finally, the deleteDirectory method may be used to remove a directory and all of its files:


 Custom Filesystems

Laravel's Flysystem integration provides drivers for several "drivers" out of the box; however, Flysystem is not limited to these and has adapters for many other storage systems. You can create a custom driver if you want to use one of these additional adapters in your Laravel application.

In order to set up the custom filesystem you will need a Flysystem adapter. Let's add a community maintained Dropbox adapter to our project:

composer require spatie/flysystem-dropbox

Next, you should create a service provider such as DropboxServiceProvider. In the provider's boot method, you may use the Storage facade's extend method to define the custom driver:


namespace App\Providers;

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Storage;
use Illuminate\Support\ServiceProvider;
use League\Flysystem\Filesystem;
use Spatie\Dropbox\Client as DropboxClient;
use Spatie\FlysystemDropbox\DropboxAdapter;

class DropboxServiceProvider extends ServiceProvider
     * Register any application services.
     * @return void
    public function register()

     * Bootstrap any application services.
     * @return void
    public function boot()
        Storage::extend('dropbox', function ($app, $config) {
            $client = new DropboxClient(

            return new Filesystem(new DropboxAdapter($client));

The first argument of the extend method is the name of the driver and the second is a Closure that receives the $app and $config variables. The resolver Closure must return an instance of League\Flysystem\Filesystem. The $config variable contains the values defined in config/filesystems.php for the specified disk.

Next, register the service provider in your config/app.php configuration file:

'providers' => [
    // ...

Once you have created and registered the extension's service provider, you may use the dropbox driver in your config/filesystems.php configuration file.

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