Storing uploaded files on the server

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I have no idea how to store uploaded files on my server. For example, should I always rename the uploaded file to a random string like 458783576487365934 and always store the files in the same folder? For example if I store pdf documents or images, do I put all the pdfs in the same folder (but with a random name so I can upload documents with same name)? If I do so, I would like that when the user goes to the url /files/458783576487365934 for instance, the downloaded file has its original name and not the real stored name but how?

I can store in DB the path and the original name but how to tell the browser its real name when we go to /files/458783576487365934?

(I don't care about the actual process of uploading, I know about $_FILES and I use Symfony anyway)

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1 Answer


  1. You should store original name in the database.
  2. You should not store files with original name, it's insecure. Use server-generated names.
  3. You can tell browser the name of file to download by the HTTP headers (header function): header('Content-Disposition: inline; filename="original name.pdf"');
  4. You should store files in different directories when you are going to save millions of files. Each new file in the directory decreases the performance of I\O operations.

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