PHP Delete File

Summary: in this tutorial, you will learn how to delete a file in PHP using the unlink() function.

Introduction to the PHP delete file function

To delete a file, you use the unlink() function:

unlink ( string $filename , resource $context = ? ) : bool
Code language: PHP (php)

The unlink() function has two parameters:

  • $filename is the full path to the file that you want to delete.
  • $context is a valid context resource.

The unlink() function returns true if it deletes the file successfully or false otherwise. If the $filename doesn’t exist, the unlink() function also issues a warning and returns false.

PHP delete file examples

Let’s take some examples of using the unlink() function.

1) Simple PHP delete file example

The following example uses the unlink() function to delete the readme.txt file:

<?php $filename = 'readme.txt'; if (unlink($filename)) { echo 'The file ' . $filename . ' was deleted successfully!'; } else { echo 'There was a error deleting the file ' . $filename; }
Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

2) Delete all files in a directory that match a pattern

The following example deletes all files with the .tmp extension:

<?php $dir = 'temp/'; array_map('unlink', glob("{$dir}*.tmp"));
Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

How it works.

  • First, define a variable that stores the path to the directory in which you want to delete files.
  • Second, use the glob() function to search for all files in the directory $dir that has the *.tmp extension and pass it result to the array_map() function to delete the files.

Generally, you can change the pattern to delete all matching files in a directory using the array_map(), unlink() and glob() functions.


  • Use PHP unlink() function to delete a file.
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