PHP - Failed to open stream : No such file or directory


When working with PHP scripts, it is common to encounter a specific error or warning: "Failed to open stream: No such file or directory". This error occurs when the script is unable to locate or access a required file or directory. It can be frustrating to encounter this error, but understanding the root cause and implementing the appropriate solution can help resolve it effectively.

1. Understanding the error message

Before delving into the troubleshooting steps, it is important to understand the error message and what it signifies. The error message usually appears in the form:

Failed to open stream: No such file or directory

This error message implies that the script is unable to locate or access the specified file or directory. It can occur for various reasons, including incorrect file paths, incorrect permissions, or missing files.

2. Checking the file path

The first step in resolving this error is to verify the file path. Ensure that the path provided in the function call (e.g. include(), require(), fopen(), etc.) is accurate and points to the correct file or directory. Common mistakes include misspelled file names or incorrect directory paths.

For example, let's say we have a file named "example.php" located in the "includes" directory. If we want to include this file using the include() function, the correct syntax would be:

include 'includes/example.php';

Make sure to double-check the file paths to avoid this error.

3. Verifying file existence

If the file path is correct but the error persists, it is essential to confirm the existence of the file. A simple way to do this is by using file_exists() function before attempting to include or require the file.

Here's an example:

if (file_exists('includes/example.php')) {
    include 'includes/example.php';
} else {
    echo 'File does not exist!';

This code snippet checks whether the file "example.php" exists in the "includes" directory. If not, it displays the message "File does not exist!".

By verifying the existence of the file before including or requiring it, you can prevent the "Failed to open stream" error from occurring.

4. Checking file permissions

Another common cause of the "Failed to open stream" error is incorrect file permissions. Ensure that the file or directory has the necessary read and execute permissions to be accessed by the PHP script.

To check the file permissions, you can use the fileperms() function:

$filePermissions = fileperms('example.php');
echo substr(sprintf('%o', $filePermissions), -4);

This code snippet retrieves the file permissions of "example.php" and displays them as an octal number. The last four digits represent the file permissions.

If the file permissions are incorrect (e.g., 0644 instead of 0755), you can correct them using the chmod() function:

chmod('example.php', 0755);

This code sets the file permissions of "example.php" to 0755, which grants read, write, and execute permissions to the owner and read and execute permissions to others.

Verifying and adjusting file permissions can help resolve the "Failed to open stream" error in many cases.

5. Checking the include path

If the file is not located in the same directory as the script or in a directly specified path, PHP searches the include path for the file. The include path is a list of directories specified in the php.ini file or set using the set_include_path() function.

To view the current include path, you can use the get_include_path() function:

echo get_include_path();

If the file you are trying to include or require is located outside the default include path, you may need to modify the include path.

Here's an example of modifying the include path using the set_include_path() function:

set_include_path('/path/to/includes:' . get_include_path());

This code snippet adds the "/path/to/includes" directory to the include path, allowing PHP to find files located in that directory.

6. Additional considerations

In some cases, the "Failed to open stream" error can be caused by other factors such as file encoding issues, server configuration problems, or issues related to the file system.

If you have verified the file path, confirmed file existence, checked file permissions, and reviewed the include path without success, it may be necessary to seek further assistance or consider alternative approaches.


The "Failed to open stream: No such file or directory" error in PHP can be frustrating, but by following a systematic troubleshooting process, it is possible to identify and resolve the root cause of the issue. By verifying the file path, confirming file existence, checking file permissions, and reviewing the include path, you can overcome this error and ensure the smooth execution of your PHP scripts.