How can I check if a URL exists via PHP?


Question

How do I check if a URL exists (not 404) in PHP?

1
172
12/2/2013 6:34:18 AM

Accepted Answer

Here:

$file = 'http://www.domain.com/somefile.jpg';
$file_headers = @get_headers($file);
if(!$file_headers || $file_headers[0] == 'HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found') {
    $exists = false;
}
else {
    $exists = true;
}

From here and right below the above post, there's a curl solution:

function url_exists($url) {
    if (!$fp = curl_init($url)) return false;
    return true;
}
276
8/22/2016 7:19:53 PM

When figuring out if an url exists from php there are a few things to pay attention to:

  • Is the url itself valid (a string, not empty, good syntax), this is quick to check server side.
  • Waiting for a response might take time and block code execution.
  • Not all headers returned by get_headers() are well formed.
  • Use curl (if you can).
  • Prevent fetching the entire body/content, but only request the headers.
  • Consider redirecting urls:
    • Do you want the first code returned?
    • Or follow all redirects and return the last code?
    • You might end up with a 200, but it could redirect using meta tags or javascript. Figuring out what happens after is tough.

Keep in mind that whatever method you use, it takes time to wait for a response.
All code might (and probably will) halt untill you either know the result or the requests have timed out.

For example: the code below could take a LONG time to display the page if the urls are invalid or unreachable:

<?php
$urls = getUrls(); // some function getting say 10 or more external links

foreach($urls as $k=>$url){
  // this could potentially take 0-30 seconds each
  // (more or less depending on connection, target site, timeout settings...)
  if( ! isValidUrl($url) ){
    unset($urls[$k]);
  }
}

echo "yay all done! now show my site";
foreach($urls as $url){
  echo "<a href=\"{$url}\">{$url}</a><br/>";
}

The functions below could be helpfull, you probably want to modify them to suit your needs:

    function isValidUrl($url){
        // first do some quick sanity checks:
        if(!$url || !is_string($url)){
            return false;
        }
        // quick check url is roughly a valid http request: ( http://blah/... ) 
        if( ! preg_match('/^http(s)?:\/\/[a-z0-9-]+(\.[a-z0-9-]+)*(:[0-9]+)?(\/.*)?$/i', $url) ){
            return false;
        }
        // the next bit could be slow:
        if(getHttpResponseCode_using_curl($url) != 200){
//      if(getHttpResponseCode_using_getheaders($url) != 200){  // use this one if you cant use curl
            return false;
        }
        // all good!
        return true;
    }

    function getHttpResponseCode_using_curl($url, $followredirects = true){
        // returns int responsecode, or false (if url does not exist or connection timeout occurs)
        // NOTE: could potentially take up to 0-30 seconds , blocking further code execution (more or less depending on connection, target site, and local timeout settings))
        // if $followredirects == false: return the FIRST known httpcode (ignore redirects)
        // if $followredirects == true : return the LAST  known httpcode (when redirected)
        if(! $url || ! is_string($url)){
            return false;
        }
        $ch = @curl_init($url);
        if($ch === false){
            return false;
        }
        @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER         ,true);    // we want headers
        @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_NOBODY         ,true);    // dont need body
        @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER ,true);    // catch output (do NOT print!)
        if($followredirects){
            @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION ,true);
            @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_MAXREDIRS      ,10);  // fairly random number, but could prevent unwanted endless redirects with followlocation=true
        }else{
            @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION ,false);
        }
//      @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT ,5);   // fairly random number (seconds)... but could prevent waiting forever to get a result
//      @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_TIMEOUT        ,6);   // fairly random number (seconds)... but could prevent waiting forever to get a result
//      @curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_USERAGENT      ,"Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.0) AppleWebKit/537.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/21.0.1180.89 Safari/537.1");   // pretend we're a regular browser
        @curl_exec($ch);
        if(@curl_errno($ch)){   // should be 0
            @curl_close($ch);
            return false;
        }
        $code = @curl_getinfo($ch, CURLINFO_HTTP_CODE); // note: php.net documentation shows this returns a string, but really it returns an int
        @curl_close($ch);
        return $code;
    }

    function getHttpResponseCode_using_getheaders($url, $followredirects = true){
        // returns string responsecode, or false if no responsecode found in headers (or url does not exist)
        // NOTE: could potentially take up to 0-30 seconds , blocking further code execution (more or less depending on connection, target site, and local timeout settings))
        // if $followredirects == false: return the FIRST known httpcode (ignore redirects)
        // if $followredirects == true : return the LAST  known httpcode (when redirected)
        if(! $url || ! is_string($url)){
            return false;
        }
        $headers = @get_headers($url);
        if($headers && is_array($headers)){
            if($followredirects){
                // we want the the last errorcode, reverse array so we start at the end:
                $headers = array_reverse($headers);
            }
            foreach($headers as $hline){
                // search for things like "HTTP/1.1 200 OK" , "HTTP/1.0 200 OK" , "HTTP/1.1 301 PERMANENTLY MOVED" , "HTTP/1.1 400 Not Found" , etc.
                // note that the exact syntax/version/output differs, so there is some string magic involved here
                if(preg_match('/^HTTP\/\S+\s+([1-9][0-9][0-9])\s+.*/', $hline, $matches) ){// "HTTP/*** ### ***"
                    $code = $matches[1];
                    return $code;
                }
            }
            // no HTTP/xxx found in headers:
            return false;
        }
        // no headers :
        return false;
    }

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