(PHP 5, PHP 7, PHP 8)

stream_get_contentsReads remainder of a stream into a string


stream_get_contents ( resource $handle , int $maxlength = -1 , int $offset = -1 ) : string|false

Identical to file_get_contents(), except that stream_get_contents() operates on an already open stream resource and returns the remaining contents in a string, up to maxlength bytes and starting at the specified offset.


handle (resource)

A stream resource (e.g. returned from fopen())

maxlength (int)

The maximum bytes to read. Defaults to -1 (read all the remaining buffer).

offset (int)

Seek to the specified offset before reading. If this number is negative, no seeking will occur and reading will start from the current position.

Return Values

Returns a string or false on failure.


Example #1 stream_get_contents() example


if ($stream fopen('''r')) {
// print all the page starting at the offset 10
echo stream_get_contents($stream, -110);


if (
$stream fopen('''r')) {
// print the first 5 bytes
echo stream_get_contents($stream5);




Note: This function is binary-safe.

See Also

  • fgets() - Gets line from file pointer
  • fread() - Binary-safe file read
  • fpassthru() - Output all remaining data on a file pointer

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User Contributed Notes 7 notes

vasiliy at hotger dot com
9 years ago
It is important to know that stream_get_contents behaves differently with different versions of PHP. Consider the following


= fopen('file', 'w+'); // truncate + attempt to create
fwrite($handle, '12345'); // file position > 0
rewind($handle); // position = 0
$content = stream_get_contents($handle); // file position = 0 in PHP 5.1.6, file position > 0 in PHP 5.2.17!
fwrite($handle, '6789');

* 'file' content
* PHP 5.1.6:
* 67895
* PHP 5.2.17:
* 123456789

As a result, stream_get_contents() affects file position in 5.1, and do not affect file position in 5.2 or better.
clarck dot smith at gmail dot com
9 years ago
In that case when stream_get_contents/fread/fgets or other stream reading functions block indefinitely your script because they don't reached the limit of bytes to read use the socket_get_meta_data function to figure out the number of the bytes to read. It returns an array that contains a key named 'unread_bytes' and then pass that number to your favourite stream reading functions second parameter to read from the stream.

Maybe a good workaround to use the stream_select function, and set the socket to non-blocking mode with the use of stream_set_blocking($stream, 0). In this case the socket reading functions work properly.

Cheers, Ervin
m rahman
10 years ago
When omitting the parameter $maxlength, any received bytes are stacked up until the underlying stream is not readable anymore, the the function returns that stack in one piece.
Mike Shiyan
4 years ago
stream_get_contents() can be used instead of fread() even with local files.
divinity76+nospam at gmail dot com
5 years ago
* problem: stream_get_contents blocks / is very slow.
* I have tried
* 1: stream_set_blocking, doesn't make a difference.
* 2: stream_get_meta_data['unread_bytes'] = ITS BUGGED, ALWAYS SAYS 0.
* 4: my_stream_get_contents hack... kinda working! :D
function my_stream_get_contents ($handle, $timeout_seconds = 0.5)
    $ret = "";
    // feof ALSO BLOCKS:
    // while(!feof($handle)){$ret.=stream_get_contents($handle,1);}
    while (true) {
        $starttime = microtime(true);
        $new = stream_get_contents($handle, 1);
        $endtime = microtime(true);
        if (is_string($new) && strlen($new) >= 1) {
            $ret .= $new;
        $time_used = $endtime - $starttime;
        // var_dump('time_used:',$time_used);
        if (($time_used >= $timeout_seconds) || ! is_string($new) ||
                 (is_string($new) && strlen($new) < 1)) {
    return $ret;
9 years ago
It seems that using fiddler as a proxy in the stream context options causes this function to throw a warning:

Warning: stream_get_contents() []: SSL: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host.
finalmau at gmail dot com
12 years ago
some times this functions cause an max execution time time error, Why?

Simple, if you use it the function wait for have the specified byte  length into the resource or the end of file, but, several times this not happend, so we need implement an artificial flag like this:

$tmp = stream_get_contents($this->socket, 42);
while($tmp[42] != 'N'){

//Your code...

$tmp = stream_get_contents($this->socket, 42);
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