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Using scandir() to find folders in a directory (PHP)

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment


I am using this peice of code:

$target = 'extracted/' . $name[0];  
$scan = scandir($target);

To scan the directory of a folder which is used for zip uploads. I want to be able to find all the folders inside my $target folder so I can delete them and their contents, leaving only the files in the $target directory.

Once I have returned the contents of the folder, I don’t know how to differentiate between the folders and the files to be able to delete the folders.

Also, I have been told that the rmdir() function can’t delete folders which have content inside them, is there any way around this?

Thanks, Ben.

How to&Answers:

To determine whether or not you have a folder or file use the functions is_dir() and is_file()

For example:

$path = 'extracted/' . $name[0];
$results = scandir($path);

foreach ($results as $result) {
    if ($result === '.' or $result === '..') continue;

    if (is_dir($path . '/' . $result)) {
        //code to use if directory


Better to use DirectoryIterator

$path = 'extracted'; // '.' for current
foreach (new DirectoryIterator($path) as $file) {
    if ($file->isDot()) continue;

    if ($file->isDir()) {
        print $file->getFilename() . '<br />';


First off, rmdir() cannot delete a folder with contents. If safe mode is disabled you can use the following.

exec("rm -rf folder/"); 

Also look at is_dir()/is_file() or even better the PHP SPL.


$directories = scandir('images');
foreach($directories as $directory){
    if($directory=='.' or $directory=='..' ){
        echo 'dot';
                  echo $directory .'<br />';

a simpler and perhaps faster version


scandir will scan the entire directory, you can manually filter.

but if you are lazy like I am, then use glob

$scan = glob($target."/*",GLOB_ONLYDIR);

and it will output an array of all your directories of your target.


To get all the files in all the sub, sub folders

function myfunction($dir){

foreach ($dir as $dirname => $file) {

if(is_dir($file) &&  $file != '.' &&  $file != '..' ) { 

     // echo $file;
      $newDir = scandir($file);

    }elseif($file !='.' && $file != '..'){

        echo "<br>File name is ---";
        echo  $file;

} // end foreach

}  //function ends 

$dirpass = scandir($mypath3); // set directory
echo myfunction($dirpass); //     pass directory

We will get the result like below (plz ignore file names )

File name is ----->index.PHP
File name is -----> 100000045   Invoices   Sales   Magento Admin.png
File name is -----> 100000142   Orders   Sales   Magento Admin(1).png
File name is -----> 100000142   Orders   Sales   Magento Admin.png
File name is ----->hrc-siberian-tiger-2-jpg_21253111.jpg
File name is ----->images (3rd copy).jpeg
File name is ----->images (4th copy).jpeg
File name is ----->images (5th copy).jpeg
File name is ----->images (another copy).jpeg
File name is ----->images (copy).jpeg
File name is ----->images.jpeg
File name is ----->JPEG_example_JPG_RIP_100.jpg
File name is ----->preload
File name is ----->Stonehenge (3rd copy).jpg
File name is ----->Stonehenge (4th copy).jpg
File name is ----->Stonehenge (5th copy).jpg
File name is ----->Stonehenge (another copy).jpg
File name is ----->Stonehenge (copy).jpg
File name is ----->Stonehenge.jpg


You also wanted to remove items if they were inside that directory. rmdir does not allow you to remove directories containing files. But there is a simple sollution.

array_map('unlink', glob($target.'/*/*'));

First it will unlink all the files in all sub-directories.
Secondly it will remove all directories, because they contain no files.

If you got sub-sub-directories, then you should add another 2 lines like this:

array_map('unlink', glob($target.'/*/*/*')); //remove sub-sub-files
array_map('rmdir',glob($target."/*/*",GLOB_ONLYDIR)); //remove sub-sub-directories

array_map('unlink', glob($target.'/*/*')); //remove sub-files
array_map('rmdir',glob($target."/*",GLOB_ONLYDIR)); //remove sub-directories


The quick and dirty way:

$folders = glob("<path>/*", GLOB_ONLYDIR);

A more versatile and object-oriented solution, inspired by earlier answers using DirectoryIterator but slightly more concise and general purpose:

    $path = '<path>';
    $folders = [];

    foreach (new \DirectoryIterator($path) as $file)
        if (!$file->isDot() && $file->isDir())
            $folders[] = $file;


here is one function i used mostly to parse archives and directories

function scan_full_dir($dir,$child=false){
    $dir_content_list = scandir($dir);
    foreach($dir_content_list as $value) 
        if($value === '.' || $value === '..') {continue;} 
        // check if we have file 
         if(is_file($dir.'/'.$value)) {
            echo '<br> File Name --> '.$value;
        // check if we have directory
        if (is_dir($dir.'/'.$value)) {
                echo '<br> parent --> '.$value;
                echo '<br> child of '.$child.' --> '.$value;    

output sample

parent --> fonts
File Name --> standard
parent --> steps
child of steps --> pcb
File Name --> .attrlist.sum
File Name --> .profile.sum
File Name --> .stephdr.sum
File Name --> attrlist
child of pcb --> netlists
child of netlists --> cadnet
File Name --> .netlist.sum
File Name --> netlist
File Name --> profile
File Name --> stephdr

// to scan dir


// to scan archive without opening it , supported formats : gz, zip, tar and bz files.