Working with Files

CodeIgniter provides a File class that wraps the SplFileInfo class and provides some additional convenience methods. This class is the base class for uploaded files and images.

Getting a File instance

You create a new File instance by passing in the path to the file in the constructor. By default, the file does not need to exist. However, you can pass an additional argument of 「true」 to check that the file exists and throw FileNotFoundException() if it does not.

$file = new \CodeIgniter\Files\File($path);

Taking Advantage of Spl

Once you have an instance, you have the full power of the SplFileInfo class at the ready, including:

// Get the file's basename
echo $file->getBasename();
// Get last modified time
echo $file->getMTime();
// Get the true real path
echo $file->getRealPath();
// Get the file permissions
echo $file->getPerms();

// Write CSV rows to it.
if ($file->isWritable()) {
    $csv = $file->openFile('w');

    foreach ($rows as $row) {

New Features

In addition to all of the methods in the SplFileInfo class, you get some new tools.


You can generate a cryptographically secure random filename, with the current timestamp prepended, with the getRandomName() method. This is especially useful to rename files when moving it so that the filename is unguessable:

// Generates something like: 1465965676_385e33f741.jpg
$newName = $file->getRandomName();


Returns the size of the uploaded file in bytes:

$size     = $file->getSize(); // 256901


Returns the size of the uploaded file default in bytes. You can pass in either 『kb』 or 『mb』 as the first parameter to get the results in kilobytes or megabytes, respectively:

$bytes     = $file->getSizeByUnit(); // 256901
$kilobytes = $file->getSizeByUnit('kb'); // 250.880
$megabytes = $file->getSizeByUnit('mb'); // 0.245


Retrieve the media type (mime type) of the file. Uses methods that are considered as secure as possible when determining the type of file:

$type = $file->getMimeType();

echo $type; // image/png


Attempts to determine the file extension based on the trusted getMimeType() method. If the mime type is unknown, will return null. This is often a more trusted source than simply using the extension provided by the filename. Uses the values in app/Config/Mimes.php to determine extension:

// Returns 'jpg' (WITHOUT the period)
$ext = $file->guessExtension();

Moving Files

Each file can be moved to its new location with the aptly named move() method. This takes the directory to move the file to as the first parameter:


By default, the original filename was used. You can specify a new filename by passing it as the second parameter:

$newName = $file->getRandomName();
$file->move(WRITEPATH.'uploads', $newName);

The move() method returns a new File instance that for the relocated file, so you must capture the result if the resulting location is needed:

$file = $file->move(WRITEPATH.'uploads');

File Collections

Working with groups of files can be cumbersome, so the framework supplies the FileCollection class to facilitate locating and working with groups of files across the filesystem. At its most basic, FileCollection is an index of files you set or build:

$files = new FileCollection([
    FCPATH . 'index.php',
    ROOTPATH . 'spark',
$files->addDirectory(APPPATH . 'Filters');

After you have input the files you would like to work with you may remove files or use the filtering commands to remove or retain files matching a certain regex or glob-style pattern:

$files->removeFile(APPPATH . 'Filters/DevelopToolbar');


When your collection is complete, you can use get() to retrieve the final list of file paths, or take advantage of FileCollection being countable and iterable to work directly with each File:

echo 'My files: ' . implode(PHP_EOL, $files->get());
echo 'I have ' . count($files) . ' files!';

foreach ($files as $file)
    echo 'Moving ' . $file->getBasename() . ', ' . $file->getSizeByUnit('mb');
    $file->move(WRITABLE . $file->getRandomName());

Below are the specific methods for working with a FileCollection.

Starting a Collection

__construct(string[] $files = [])

The constructor accepts an optional array of file paths to use as the initial collection. These are passed to add() so any files supplied by child classes in the $files will remain.


Allows child classes to define their own initial files. This method is called by the constructor and allows predefined collections without having to use their methods. Example:

class ConfigCollection extends \CodeIgniter\Files\FileCollection
    protected function define(): void
        $this->add(APPPATH . 'Config', true)->retainPattern('*.php');

Now you may use the ConfigCollection anywhere in your project to access all App Config files without having to re-call the collection methods every time.

set(array $files)

Sets the list of input files to the provided string array of file paths. This will remove any existing files from the collection, so $collection->set([]) is essentially a hard reset.

Inputting Files

add(string[]|string $paths, bool $recursive = true)

Adds all files indicated by the path or array of paths. If the path resolves to a directory then $recursive will include sub-directories.

addFile(string $file) addFiles(array $files)

Adds the file or files to the current list of input files. Files are absolute paths to actual files.

removeFile(string $file) removeFiles(array $files)

Removes the file or files from the current list of input files.

addDirectory(string $directory, bool $recursive = false) addDirectories(array $directories, bool $recursive = false)

Adds all files from the directory or directories, optionally recursing into sub-directories. Directories are absolute paths to actual directories.

Filtering Files

removePattern(string $pattern, string $scope = null) retainPattern(string $pattern, string $scope = null)

Filters the current file list through the pattern (and optional scope), removing or retaining matched files. $pattern may be a complete regex (like '#[A-Za-z]+\.php#') or a pseudo-regex similar to glob() (like *.css). If a $scope is provided then only files in or under that directory will be considered (i.e. files outside of $scope are always retained). When no scope is provided then all files are subject.


$files = new FileCollection();
$files->add(APPPATH . 'Config', true); // Adds all Config files and directories

$files->removePattern('*tion.php'); // Would remove Encryption.php, Validation.php, and boot/production.php
$files->removePattern('*tion.php', APPPATH . 'Config/boot'); // Would only remove boot/production.php

$files->retainPattern('#A.+php$#'); // Would keep only Autoload.php
$files->retainPattern('#d.+php$#', APPPATH . 'Config/boot'); // Would keep everything but boot/production.php and boot/testing.php

Retrieving Files

get(): string[]

Returns an array of all the loaded input files.


FileCollection is an IteratorAggregate so you can work with it directly (e.g. foreach ($collection as $file)).