Cannot Move Uploaded Files In PHP

I’m hosting the superior website, which is actually running PHP 5.4. It uses WordPress for content management and authors got double with uploading files.

Failing Uploads

We noticed failing uploads with an error message like “The uploaded file could not be moved to …”. After checking directory permissions of PHP’s upload_tmp_dir and the destination directory (set in WordPress) we found the following:

  1. Permissons of upload_tmp_dir and destination are correct (user and group, mode 700 in our case)
  2. PHP function move_uploaded_file returns false, see wp-admin/includes/file.php, function wp_handle_upload(...)

Code for last item:

// Move the file to the uploads dir
$new_file = $uploads['path'] . "/$filename";
if ( false === @ move_uploaded_file( $file['tmp_name'], $new_file ) )
    return $upload_error_handler( $file, sprintf( __('The uploaded file could not be moved to %s.' ), $uploads['path'] ) );


As stated in the PHP manual, move_uploaded_file is aware of open_basedir setting where you could restrict files opened by PHP.

But — in our case the destination was already a subdirectory of the open_basedir and the upload worked when we disabled open_basedir by setting an empty value.

So we moved upload_tmp_dir below open_basedirand — tadaa — it worked!

Searching for open_basedir on the manual page of move_uploaded_file shows this very old comment:

nlgordon at iastate dot edu 16-Jul-2007 04:29
Just a helpful comment. If you have open_basedir set then you must set upload_tmp_dir to somewhere within the open_basedir.
Otherwise the file upload will be denied. move_uploaded_file might be open_basedir aware, but the rest of the upload process isn't.


This entry was posted in Software Development and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.