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php – While downloading filenames from non English languages are not getting displayed on the downloaded file correctly

Posted by: admin July 12, 2020 Leave a comment


When I am trying to download a file whose name has characters from languages like Chinese Japanese etc…. non ascii… the downloaded file name is garbled. How to rectify it.

I have tried to put charset=UTF-8 in the Content-type header property, but no success. Code below.

header("Cache-Control: ");// leave blank to avoid IE errors

header("Pragma: ");// leave blank to avoid IE errors

header("Content-type: application/octet-stream");

header("Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=\"".$instance_name."\"");



How to&Answers:

Unfortunately there is currently not a single solution that works with all browsers.
There are at least three “more obvious” approaches to the problem.

a) Content-type: application/octet-stream; charset=utf-8 + filename=<utf8 byte sequence>
e.g. filename=Москва.txt
This is a violation of standards but firefox shows the name correctly. IE doesn’t.

b) Content-type: application/octet-stream; charset=utf-8 + filename=<urlencode(utf8 byte sequence)>
e.g. filename=%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B0.txt
This works with IE but not with firefox.

c) providing the name as specified in rfc 2231
e.g filename*=UTF-8''%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B0.txt
Again firefox supports this, IE doesn’t.

for a more comprehensive comparison see http://greenbytes.de/tech/tc2231/

edit: When I said that there is no single solution, I meant via header(‘…’). But there is something of a work around.
When there is no usable filename=xyz header browsers use the basename of the path part of the url. I.e. for <a href="test.php/lala.txt"> both firefox and IE suggest lalala.txt as the filename.
You can append extra path components after the actual path to your php script (when using apache’s httpd see http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.1/mod/core.html#acceptpathinfo).
E.g. if you have a file test.php in your document root and request it as http://localhost/test.php/x/y/z the variable $_SERVER['PATH_INFO'] will contain /x/y/z.
Now, if you put a link like


in your document you can fetch the download/moskwa/... part and initiate the download of the file. Without sending any filename=… information both firefox and IE suggest the “right” name.
You can even combine it with sending the name according to rfc 2231. That’s why I also put moskwa into the link. That would be the id the script uses to find the file it is supposed to send. The IE ignores the filename*=... information and still uses the basename part of the url to suggest a name. That means for firefox (and any other client that supports rfc 2231) the part after the id is meaningless* but for the IE (and other clients not supporting rfc 2231) it would be used for the name suggestion.
self-contained example:

<?php // test.php
$files = array(
    'content'=>'55° 45′ N, 37° 37′ O'
    'content'=>'37° 59′ N, 23° 44′ O'

$fileid = null;
if ( isset($_SERVER['PATH_INFO']) && preg_match('!^/download/([^/]+)!', $_SERVER['PATH_INFO'], $m) ) {
  $fileid = $m[1];

if ( is_null($fileid) ) {
  foreach($files as $fileid=>$bar) {
      '<a href="./test.php/download/%s/%s.txt">%s</a><br />', 
      $fileid, $bar['htmlentities'], $bar['htmlentities']
else if ( !isset($files[$fileid]) ) {
  echo 'no such file';
else {
  $f = $files[$fileid];
  $utf8name = mb_convert_encoding($f['htmlentities'], 'utf-8', 'HTML-ENTITIES');
  $utf8name = urlencode($utf8name);

  header("Content-type: text/plain");
  header("Content-Disposition: attachment; filename*=UTF-8''$utf8name.txt");
  header("Content-length: " . strlen($f['content']));
  echo $f['content'];

*) That’s a bit like here on Stack Overflow. The link for this question is shown as


but it also works with


the important part is the id 2578349


I think if you try to add other charset will fix you proplem.

if the proplem still I think you need to install languages files from XP CD to your system because if the system can’t find the right chars, it will add odd ones.

I had a proplem like this with arabic language but I find that I didn’t copy all language files to my system.

Hope this will help you.