How to upload file with JavaScript and PHP

File uploading is a basic requirement in a website. It is done using a server-side script. Requires reloading the page after form submission to execute the script.

With AJAX client-side script is interact with the server-side script and performs the action without page reload.

In this tutorial, I show how you can upload file using JavaScript AJAX and PHP.

How to upload file with JavaScript and PHP

Table of Content

  1. Create an HTML Form for Submitting Files
  2. PHP code for handling the uploaded file
  3. JavaScript code for uploading the file
  4. Output
  5. Conclusion

1. Create an HTML Form for Submitting Files

Create a file and button element. Added onclick event on the button which calls uploadFile() function.

<div >
  <input type="file" name="file" id="file">
  <input type="button" id="btn_uploadfile" 
     onclick="uploadFile();" >

2. PHP code for handling the uploaded file

Create ajaxfile.php file and an upload folder to store files.

Check if $_FILES Array is set or not. If set then assign $_FILES['file']['name'] to $filename, file name with upload location in $location variable.

Read the file extension and assign it to $file_extension.

Assign valid file extensions to $valid_ext Array.

Check if file extension exists in $valid_ext Array. If exists then upload the file and assign 1 to $response if successfully uploaded.

Return $response.


   // file name
   $filename = $_FILES['file']['name'];

   // Location
   $location = 'upload/'.$filename;

   // file extension
   $file_extension = pathinfo($location, PATHINFO_EXTENSION);
   $file_extension = strtolower($file_extension);

   // Valid extensions
   $valid_ext = array("pdf","doc","docx","jpg","png","jpeg");

   $response = 0;
        // Upload file
             $response = 1;

   echo $response;

3. JavaScript code for file upload

Create uploadFile() function which calls on the Upload button click.

Read files of a file element. If a file is selected then create an object of FormData otherwise, alert "Please select a file" message.

Append files[0] to 'file' key in formData.

To send AJAX request create an object of XMLHttpRequest. With open() method set request method to "POST" and AJAX file path.

Handle AJAX successful callback with onreadystatechange() method. Assign this.responseText to response variable. If response == 1 then alert "Upload successfully." message otherwise, alert "File not uploaded." message.

Pass formData object with send() method.

// Upload file
function uploadFile() {

    var files = document.getElementById("file").files;

    if(files.length > 0 ){

         var formData = new FormData();
         formData.append("file", files[0]);

         var xhttp = new XMLHttpRequest();

         // Set POST method and ajax file path"POST", "ajaxfile.php", true);

         // call on request changes state
         xhttp.onreadystatechange = function() {
              if (this.readyState == 4 && this.status == 200) {

                   var response = this.responseText;
                   if(response == 1){
                        alert("Upload successfully.");
                        alert("File not uploaded.");

         // Send request with data

         alert("Please select a file");


4. Output

View Output

5. Conclusion

Send the file instance using FormData object and in the AJAX file access it using $_FILES Array.

You can view this tutorial to know how to upload a file using jQuery AJAX.

Additionally, if you are interested in uploading multiple files using JavaScript and PHP then you can view this tutorial.

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