1 file.inc file_save_data($data, $destination = NULL, $replace = FILE_EXISTS_RENAME)

Saves a file to the specified destination and creates a database entry.


$data: A string containing the contents of the file.

$destination: A string containing the destination URI. This must be a stream wrapper URI. If no value is provided, a randomized name will be generated and the file will be saved using Backdrop's default files scheme, usually "public://".

$replace: Replace behavior when the destination file already exists:

  • FILE_EXISTS_REPLACE - Replace the existing file. If a managed file with the destination name exists then its database entry will be updated. If no database entry is found then a new one will be created.
  • FILE_EXISTS_RENAME - Append _{incrementing number} until the filename is unique.
  • FILE_EXISTS_ERROR - Do nothing and return FALSE.

Return value

File: A file entity, or FALSE on error.

See also


Related topics


core/includes/file.inc, line 2108
API for handling file uploads and server file management.


function file_save_data($data, $destination = NULL, $replace = FILE_EXISTS_RENAME) {
  global $user;

  if (empty($destination)) {
    $destination = file_default_scheme() . '://';
  if (!file_valid_uri($destination)) {
    watchdog('file', 'The data could not be saved because the destination %destination is invalid. This may be caused by improper use of file_save_data() or a missing stream wrapper.', array('%destination' => $destination));
    backdrop_set_message(t('The data could not be saved because the destination is invalid. More information is available in the system log.'), 'error');
    return FALSE;

  if ($uri = file_unmanaged_save_data($data, $destination, $replace)) {
    // Create a file entity.
    $file = new File(array(
      'uri' => $uri,
      'uid' => $user->uid,
      'status' => FILE_STATUS_PERMANENT,
    // If we are replacing an existing file re-use its database record.
    if ($replace == FILE_EXISTS_REPLACE) {
      $existing_files = file_load_multiple(array(), array('uri' => $uri));
      if (count($existing_files)) {
        $existing = reset($existing_files);
        $file->fid = $existing->fid;
        $file->filename = $existing->filename;
    // If we are renaming around an existing file (rather than a directory),
    // use its basename for the filename.
    elseif ($replace == FILE_EXISTS_RENAME && is_file($destination)) {
      $file->filename = backdrop_basename($destination);

    return $file;
  return FALSE;