function file_create_url

Same name and namespace in other branches
  1. 9 core/includes/ \file_create_url()
  2. 8.9.x core/includes/ \file_create_url()

Creates a web-accessible URL for a stream to an external or local file.

Compatibility: normal paths and stream wrappers.

There are two kinds of local files:

  • "managed files", i.e. those stored by a Drupal-compatible stream wrapper. These are files that have either been uploaded by users or were generated automatically (for example through CSS aggregation).
  • "shipped files", i.e. those outside of the files directory, which ship as part of Drupal core or contributed modules or themes.


$uri: The URI to a file for which we need an external URL, or the path to a shipped file.

Return value

A string containing a URL that may be used to access the file. If the provided string already contains a preceding 'http', 'https', or '/', nothing is done and the same string is returned. If a stream wrapper could not be found to generate an external URL, then FALSE is returned.

See also

Related topics

40 calls to file_create_url()
CascadingStylesheetsTestCase::testRenderFile in modules/simpletest/tests/common.test
Tests rendering the stylesheets.
ColorTestCase::_testColor in modules/color/color.test
Tests the Color module functionality using the given theme.
DrupalUnitTestCase::setUp in modules/simpletest/drupal_web_test_case.php
Sets up unit test environment.
DrupalWebTestCase::prepareEnvironment in modules/simpletest/drupal_web_test_case.php
Prepares the current environment for running the test.
drupal_build_css_cache in includes/
Aggregates and optimizes CSS files into a cache file in the files directory.

... See full list


includes/, line 381


function file_create_url($uri) {
    // Allow the URI to be altered, e.g. to serve a file from a CDN or static
    // file server.
    drupal_alter('file_url', $uri);
    $scheme = file_uri_scheme($uri);
    if (!$scheme) {
        // Allow for:
        // - root-relative URIs (e.g. /foo.jpg in
        // - protocol-relative URIs (e.g. //bar.jpg, which is expanded to
        // by the browser when viewing a page over
        //   HTTP and to when viewing a HTTPS page)
        // Both types of relative URIs are characterized by a leading slash, hence
        // we can use a single check.
        if (drupal_substr($uri, 0, 1) == '/') {
            return $uri;
        else {
            // If this is not a properly formatted stream, then it is a shipped file.
            // Therefore, return the urlencoded URI with the base URL prepended.
            return $GLOBALS['base_url'] . '/' . drupal_encode_path($uri);
    elseif ($scheme == 'http' || $scheme == 'https') {
        // Check for HTTP so that we don't have to implement getExternalUrl() for
        // the HTTP wrapper.
        return $uri;
    else {
        // Attempt to return an external URL using the appropriate wrapper.
        if ($wrapper = file_stream_wrapper_get_instance_by_uri($uri)) {
            return $wrapper->getExternalUrl();
        else {
            return FALSE;

Buggy or inaccurate documentation? Please file an issue. Need support? Need help programming? Connect with the Drupal community.