PHP Error Handling

25/11/2009

The default error handling in PHP is very simple. An error message with filename, line number and a message describing the error is sent to the browser.

 

PHP Error Handling

When creating scripts and web applications, error handling is an important part. If your code lacks error checking code, your program may look very unprofessional and you may be open to security risks.

This tutorial contains some of the most common error checking methods in PHP.

We will show different error handling methods:

  • Simple “die()” statements
  • Custom errors and error triggers
  • Error reporting

Basic Error Handling: Using the die() function

The first example shows a simple script that opens a text file:

<?php
$file=fopen(“welcome.txt”,”r”);
?>

If the file does not exist you might get an error like this:

Warning: fopen(welcome.txt) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream:
No such file or directory in C:\webfolder\test.php on line 2

To avoid that the user gets an error message like the one above, we test if the file exist before we try to access it:

<?php
if(!file_exists(“welcome.txt”))
{
die(“File not found”);
}
else
{
$file=fopen(“welcome.txt”,”r”);
}
?>

Now if the file does not exist you get an error like this:

File not found

The code above is more efficient than the earlier code, because it uses a simple error handling mechanism to stop the script after the error.

However, simply stopping the script is not always the right way to go. Let’s take a look at alternative PHP functions for handling errors.


Creating a Custom Error Handler

Creating a custom error handler is quite simple. We simply create a special function that can be called when an error occurs in PHP.

This function must be able to handle a minimum of two parameters (error level and error message) but can accept up to five parameters (optionally: file, line-number, and the error context):

Syntax

error_function(error_level,error_message,
error_file,error_line,error_context)

 

Parameter Description
error_level Required. Specifies the error report level for the user-defined error. Must be a value number. See table below for possible error report levels
error_message Required. Specifies the error message for the user-defined error
error_file Optional. Specifies the filename in which the error occurred
error_line Optional. Specifies the line number in which the error occurred
error_context Optional. Specifies an array containing every variable, and their values, in use when the error occurred

Error Report levels

These error report levels are the different types of error the user-defined error handler can be used for:

Value Constant Description
2 E_WARNING Non-fatal run-time errors. Execution of the script is not halted
8 E_NOTICE Run-time notices. The script found something that might be an error, but could also happen when running a script normally
256 E_USER_ERROR Fatal user-generated error. This is like an E_ERROR set by the programmer using the PHP function trigger_error()
512 E_USER_WARNING Non-fatal user-generated warning. This is like an E_WARNING set by the programmer using the PHP function trigger_error()
1024 E_USER_NOTICE User-generated notice. This is like an E_NOTICE set by the programmer using the PHP function trigger_error()
4096 E_RECOVERABLE_ERROR Catchable fatal error. This is like an E_ERROR but can be caught by a user defined handle (see also set_error_handler())
8191 E_ALL All errors and warnings, except level E_STRICT (E_STRICT will be part of E_ALL as of PHP 6.0)

Now lets create a function to handle errors:

function customError($errno, $errstr)
{
echo “<b>Error:</b> [$errno] $errstr<br />”;
echo “Ending Script”;
die();
}

The code above is a simple error handling function. When it is triggered, it gets the error level and an error message. It then outputs the error level and message and terminates the script.

Now that we have created an error handling function we need to decide when it should be triggered.


Set Error Handler

The default error handler for PHP is the built in error handler. We are going to make the function above the default error handler for the duration of the script.

It is possible to change the error handler to apply for only some errors, that way the script can handle different errors in different ways. However, in this example we are going to use our custom error handler for all errors:

set_error_handler(“customError”);

Since we want our custom function to handle all errors, the set_error_handler() only needed one parameter, a second parameter could be added to specify an error level.

Example

Testing the error handler by trying to output variable that does not exist:

<?php
//error handler function
function customError($errno, $errstr)
{
echo “<b>Error:</b> [$errno] $errstr”;
}

//set error handler
set_error_handler(“customError”);

//trigger error
echo($test);
?>

The output of the code above should be something like this:

Error: [8] Undefined variable: test

 


Trigger an Error

In a script where users can input data it is useful to trigger errors when an illegal input occurs. In PHP, this is done by the trigger_error() function.

Example

In this example an error occurs if the “test” variable is bigger than “1”:

<?php
$test=2;
if ($test>1)
{
trigger_error(“Value must be 1 or below”);
}
?>

The output of the code above should be something like this:

Notice: Value must be 1 or below
in C:\webfolder\test.php on line 6

An error can be triggered anywhere you wish in a script, and by adding a second parameter, you can specify what error level is triggered.

Possible error types:

  • E_USER_ERROR – Fatal user-generated run-time error. Errors that can not be recovered from. Execution of the script is halted
  • E_USER_WARNING – Non-fatal user-generated run-time warning. Execution of the script is not halted
  • E_USER_NOTICE – Default. User-generated run-time notice. The script found something that might be an error, but could also happen when running a script normally

Example

In this example an E_USER_WARNING occurs if the “test” variable is bigger than “1”. If an E_USER_WARNING occurs we will use our custom error handler and end the script:

<?php
//error handler function
function customError($errno, $errstr)
{
echo “<b>Error:</b> [$errno] $errstr<br />”;
echo “Ending Script”;
die();
}

//set error handler
set_error_handler(“customError”,E_USER_WARNING);

//trigger error
$test=2;
if ($test>1)
{
trigger_error(“Value must be 1 or below”,E_USER_WARNING);
}
?>

The output of the code above should be something like this:

Error: [512] Value must be 1 or below
Ending Script

Now that we have learned to create our own errors and how to trigger them, lets take a look at error logging.


Error Logging

By default, PHP sends an error log to the servers logging system or a file, depending on how the error_log configuration is set in the php.ini file. By using the error_log() function you can send error logs to a specified file or a remote destination.

Sending errors messages to yourself by e-mail can be a good way of getting notified of specific errors.

Send an Error Message by E-Mail

In the example below we will send an e-mail with an error message and end the script, if a specific error occurs:

<?php
//error handler function
function customError($errno, $errstr)
{
echo “<b>Error:</b> [$errno] $errstr<br />”;
echo “Webmaster has been notified”;
error_log(“Error: [$errno] $errstr”,1,
“someone@example.com”,”From: webmaster@example.com”);
}

//set error handler
set_error_handler(“customError”,E_USER_WARNING);

//trigger error
$test=2;
if ($test>1)
{
trigger_error(“Value must be 1 or below”,E_USER_WARNING);
}
?>

The output of the code above should be something like this:

Error: [512] Value must be 1 or below
Webmaster has been notified

And the mail received from the code above looks like this:

Error: [512] Value must be 1 or below

This should not be used with all errors. Regular errors should be logged on the server using the default PHP logging system.

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PHP File Upload

25/11/2009

Create an Upload-File Form

To allow users to upload files from a form can be very useful.

Look at the following HTML form for uploading files:

<html>
<body><form action=”upload_file.php” method=”post”
enctype=”multipart/form-data”>
<label for=”file”>Filename:</label>
<input type=”file” name=”file” id=”file” />
<br />
<input type=”submit” name=”submit” value=”Submit” />
</form>

</body>
</html>

Notice the following about the HTML form above:

  • The enctype attribute of the <form> tag specifies which content-type to use when submitting the form. “multipart/form-data” is used when a form requires binary data, like the contents of a file, to be uploaded
  • The type=”file” attribute of the <input> tag specifies that the input should be processed as a file. For example, when viewed in a browser, there will be a browse-button next to the input field

Note: Allowing users to upload files is a big security risk. Only permit trusted users to perform file uploads.

 


Create The Upload Script

The “upload_file.php” file contains the code for uploading a file:

<?php
if ($_FILES[“file”][“error”] > 0)
{
echo “Error: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“error”] . “<br />”;
}
else
{
echo “Upload: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“name”] . “<br />”;
echo “Type: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“type”] . “<br />”;
echo “Size: ” . ($_FILES[“file”][“size”] / 1024) . ” Kb<br />”;
echo “Stored in: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“tmp_name”];
}
?>

By using the global PHP $_FILES array you can upload files from a client computer to the remote server.

The first parameter is the form’s input name and the second index can be either “name”, “type”, “size”, “tmp_name” or “error”. Like this:

  • $_FILES[“file”][“name”] – the name of the uploaded file
  • $_FILES[“file”][“type”] – the type of the uploaded file
  • $_FILES[“file”][“size”] – the size in bytes of the uploaded file
  • $_FILES[“file”][“tmp_name”] – the name of the temporary copy of the file stored on the server
  • $_FILES[“file”][“error”] – the error code resulting from the file upload

This is a very simple way of uploading files. For security reasons, you should add restrictions on what the user is allowed to upload.

 


Restrictions on Upload

In this script we add some restrictions to the file upload. The user may only upload .gif or .jpeg files and the file size must be under 20 kb:

<?php
if ((($_FILES[“file”][“type”] == “image/gif”)
|| ($_FILES[“file”][“type”] == “image/jpeg”)
|| ($_FILES[“file”][“type”] == “image/pjpeg”))
&& ($_FILES[“file”][“size”] < 20000))
{
if ($_FILES[“file”][“error”] > 0)
{
echo “Error: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“error”] . “<br />”;
}
else
{
echo “Upload: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“name”] . “<br />”;
echo “Type: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“type”] . “<br />”;
echo “Size: ” . ($_FILES[“file”][“size”] / 1024) . ” Kb<br />”;
echo “Stored in: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“tmp_name”];
}
}
else
{
echo “Invalid file”;
}
?>

Note: For IE to recognize jpg files the type must be pjpeg, for FireFox it must be jpeg.

 


Saving the Uploaded File

The examples above create a temporary copy of the uploaded files in the PHP temp folder on the server.

The temporary copied files disappears when the script ends. To store the uploaded file we need to copy it to a different location:

<?php
if ((($_FILES[“file”][“type”] == “image/gif”)
|| ($_FILES[“file”][“type”] == “image/jpeg”)
|| ($_FILES[“file”][“type”] == “image/pjpeg”))
&& ($_FILES[“file”][“size”] < 20000))
{
if ($_FILES[“file”][“error”] > 0)
{
echo “Return Code: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“error”] . “<br />”;
}
else
{
echo “Upload: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“name”] . “<br />”;
echo “Type: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“type”] . “<br />”;
echo “Size: ” . ($_FILES[“file”][“size”] / 1024) . ” Kb<br />”;
echo “Temp file: ” . $_FILES[“file”][“tmp_name”] . “<br />”;if (file_exists(“upload/” . $_FILES[“file”][“name”]))
{
echo $_FILES[“file”][“name”] . ” already exists. “;
}
else
{
move_uploaded_file($_FILES[“file”][“tmp_name”],
“upload/” . $_FILES[“file”][“name”]);
echo “Stored in: ” . “upload/” . $_FILES[“file”][“name”];
}
}
}
else
{
echo “Invalid file”;
}
?>

The script above checks if the file already exists, if it does not, it copies the file to the specified folder.

Note: This example saves the file to a new folder called “upload”

More about PHP Tutorials .: PHP :.

PHP Sessions

25/11/2009

A PHP session variable is used to store information about, or change settings for a user session. Session variables hold information about one single user, and are available to all pages in one application.

 


PHP Session Variables

When you are working with an application, you open it, do some changes and then you close it. This is much like a Session. The computer knows who you are. It knows when you start the application and when you end. But on the internet there is one problem: the web server does not know who you are and what you do because the HTTP address doesn’t maintain state.

A PHP session solves this problem by allowing you to store user information on the server for later use (i.e. username, shopping items, etc). However, session information is temporary and will be deleted after the user has left the website. If you need a permanent storage you may want to store the data in a database.

Sessions work by creating a unique id (UID) for each visitor and store variables based on this UID. The UID is either stored in a cookie or is propagated in the URL.


Starting a PHP Session

Before you can store user information in your PHP session, you must first start up the session.

Note: The session_start() function must appear BEFORE the <html> tag:

<?php session_start(); ?><html>
<body>

</body>
</html>

The code above will register the user’s session with the server, allow you to start saving user information, and assign a UID for that user’s session.


Storing a Session Variable

The correct way to store and retrieve session variables is to use the PHP $_SESSION variable:

<?php
session_start();
// store session data
$_SESSION[‘views’]=1;
?><html>
<body>

<?php
//retrieve session data
echo “Pageviews=”. $_SESSION[‘views’];
?>

</body>
</html>

Output:

Pageviews=1

In the example below, we create a simple page-views counter. The isset() function checks if the “views” variable has already been set. If “views” has been set, we can increment our counter. If “views” doesn’t exist, we create a “views” variable, and set it to 1:

<?php
session_start();if(isset($_SESSION[‘views’]))
$_SESSION[‘views’]=$_SESSION[‘views’]+1;
else
$_SESSION[‘views’]=1;
echo “Views=”. $_SESSION[‘views’];
?>

Destroying a Session

If you wish to delete some session data, you can use the unset() or the session_destroy() function.

The unset() function is used to free the specified session variable:

<?php
unset($_SESSION[‘views’]);
?>

You can also completely destroy the session by calling the session_destroy() function:

<?php
session_destroy();
?>

Note: session_destroy() will reset your session and you will lose all your stored session data.

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