Images are ubiquitous on web pages. But all images are not created equal. PHP provides the flexibility to upload files easily. However, it is important to ensure your images are optimized to thrill.

PHP Library Basics for File Uploads

As a scripting language, the basics of file movement for upload in PHP are straightforward. PHP open source libraries provide the classes and functions needed. However, there are some safeguards you should put in place for you and your users.

In your scripts, check for the easy errors first: duplicates, file size, file type, completion.

You can also use exceptions for your error handling, with nesting or if…else blocks. Different exception classes will allow you to customize your error messages. As a fallback, use the set_exception_handler() function to address any uncaught exceptions.

If you have multiple users uploading files, ensure you verify the write permissions to your image upload directory. Your error messages may not provide specifics to the user if you are trapping system errors and need clear error descriptions for troubleshooting.

Security is another area of concern. As cyber attacks become more complex, any file adds need to be verified. Ensure that the final public image directory has solid write restrictions and that you check for the following:

  • The user is authorized to upload
  • The user is not uploading an unusually large number of files, or uploading files in quick succession.
  • The file is neither too large, nor too small. Some cyber attacks take advantage of small file sizes.
  • The file is linked to the correct page, another sign of a possible breach.
  • The file is not accessed too frequently for the traffic on that page, again a warning sign.

Where to perform image manipulation may depend on your organization’s web design structure. Graphic artists and other creatives often prefer to control the manipulation. If that team is well versed in responsive images and understands how to create the master files for different image resolutions and sizes; then there should not be a conflict.

However, if images are merely uploaded by users, or if the web development team performs these tasks, then image manipulation on the server may be easier.

Why? Because PHP has an image processing class, Cairo, and functions for Exif, GD, Gmagick and ImageMagick. For organizations with skilled developers who understand image processing concepts, using these functions inside of PHP provides opportunities. Automation, improved ImageMagick integration, and complex image manipulation can be achieved inside of PHP.

Image Files, The Good, and The Bad

So, there are some best practices for file uploads using PHP. But that’s only part of the job.

You may have uploaded a file, but is it the right file? On the web, time counts. And your visitors want to see high quality images and videos that also load fast. Users can remain on a page for mere seconds, you want them to stay on your site. Work on your images.

  • First, the basics: do you have good, clear images? Are they edited to look their best?
  • Have you created the necessary files to deliver images responsively?
  • Are you using the right image format based on the image content and viewing context?
  • If this is not a static image, have you tested the interaction? And have you tested it on different browsers, devices and at different speeds?
  • Did you get feedback on your page? Another perspective can be enlightening.

Remember Your Audience

It is too easy to get caught up in the glamour of creating images, videos and animation; and forget why these items are in your web site. It is vital to remember your audience.

  • What is the purpose of this page?
  • Who needs to know this information?
  • Is the page optimized for maximum performance?
  • If I viewed this page, would I click off in frustration?

All solid questions that need to be answered for your site to run at its best and your customers or users to keep coming back. Thus, you must think about the use of every image – decoration or does it enhance the experience?

If you think “this is nice to have,” then you need to rethink that element. Remember you are telling a story on every page. Keep your story and your purpose in mind for great pages that engage your visitors. Reach out to learn more about top web development companies in the NYC for the various ways to improve or build the quality of projects and across your company.


At BoTree Technologies, we build web and mobile applications to add value to our client’s business. We align ourselves to ensure that our client benefits the most out of our engagement.

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