How to post data in PHP using file_get_contents?


I'm using PHP's function file_get_contents() to fetch contents of a URL and then I process headers through the variable $http_response_header.

Now the problem is that some of the URLs need some data to be posted to the URL (for example, login pages).

How do I do that?

I realize using stream_context I may be able to do that but I am not entirely clear.


11/3/2012 10:46:52 AM

Accepted Answer

Sending an HTTP POST request using file_get_contents is not that hard, actually : as you guessed, you have to use the $context parameter.

There's an example given in the PHP manual, at this page : HTTP context options (quoting) :

$postdata = http_build_query(
        'var1' => 'some content',
        'var2' => 'doh'

$opts = array('http' =>
        'method'  => 'POST',
        'header'  => 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded',
        'content' => $postdata

$context  = stream_context_create($opts);

$result = file_get_contents('', false, $context);

Basically, you have to create a stream, with the right options (there is a full list on that page), and use it as the third parameter to file_get_contents -- nothing more ;-)

As a sidenote : generally speaking, to send HTTP POST requests, we tend to use curl, which provides a lot of options an all -- but streams are one of the nice things of PHP that nobody knows about... too bad...

3/22/2019 1:39:19 AM

An alternative, you can also use fopen

$params = array('http' => array(
    'method' => 'POST',
    'content' => 'toto=1&tata=2'

$ctx = stream_context_create($params);
$fp = @fopen($sUrl, 'rb', false, $ctx);
if (!$fp)
    throw new Exception("Problem with $sUrl, $php_errormsg");

$response = @stream_get_contents($fp);
if ($response === false) 
    throw new Exception("Problem reading data from $sUrl, $php_errormsg");

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