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PHP mail() w/pdf attachment showing as text?

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Posted (edited)

So, I use mail() to send form data to a client.  Works great.

Now I am trying to send email to the same client, but with an attachment.

I know PHPmailer is preferred,  but I'm old school and would like to get this to work.

The file I want to send as attachment gets to the far end, but Outlook email displays the binary data instead of having the pdf as an attachment attachment and looks like this:

Attached is the Legal Description for 24050240--8f082344de8525de682e9d6aa86aa83f

Content-Type: application/pdf; name="Testfile1.pdf"

Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64

Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="Testfile1.pdf"











more of this...

The file size is 723709.

Here is the code I am using: (I have some echo statements to help me trouble shoot.)  Your help appreciated.

function mail_attachment($filename, $path, $mailto, $from_mail, $from_name, $replyto, $subject, $message) {
 echo nl2br ("In funtion mail_attachment: filename = $filename\n");
 $file = ($filename);
 echo nl2br ("In funtion mail_attachment: file = $filename\n");
 echo nl2br ("In funtion mail_attachment: path = $path\n");

 $file_size = filesize("$path/$file");
 echo ("file_size = $file_size\n");
 $handle = fopen($path.$filename, "rb");
 echo ("handle = $handle");
 //$content = file_get_contents($file);
 $content = fread($handle, $file_size);
 $content = chunk_split(base64_encode($content));
 echo ("Content = $content\n");
 $uid = md5(uniqid(time()));
 $eol = PHP_EOL;

 // Headers
 $header = "From: ".$from_name." <".$from_mail.">".$eol;
 $header .= "Reply-To: ".$replyto.$eol;
 $header .= "MIME-Version: 1.0".$eol;
 $header .= "Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=\"".$uid."\"";
// Message
 $header .= "--".$uid.$eol;
 $header .= "Content-type:text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1.".$eol;
 $header .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit".$eol.$eol;
 //$message .= $body.$eol;
 $message .= "--".$uid.$eol;
 $message .= "Content-Type: application/pdf; name=\"".$filename."\"".$eol; // use different content types here
 $message .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64".$eol;
 $message .= "Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=\"".$filename."\"".$eol;
 $message .= $content.$eol;
 $message .= "--".$uid."--";

 if (mail($mailto, $subject, $message, $header)) {
 echo "mail send ... OK"; // or use booleans here
 } else {
 echo "mail send ... ERROR!\n";
 echo nl2br ("file = $file\n");
 echo nl2br ("path.filename = $path.$filename\n");


Edited by Rayj2019
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  • Solution

The point of a library like PHPMailer isn't so that you don't know what's going on. It's so that you don't have to worry about details - as you put it, so you can "get this to work".

Because here are the lines where you're doing something wrong:

$eol = PHP_EOL;
$header .= "Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=\"".$uid."\"";
$header .= "--".$uid.$eol;
$header .= "Content-type:text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1.".$eol;
$header .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit".$eol.$eol;
$message .= "Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=\"".$filename."\"".$eol;

But it's sure not obvious what's wrong about them, right?


1. Line endings with mail() are tricky. It's more likely to get this wrong than to get this right. And not even PHP itself is able to always get it right.
2. No EOL
3. You're adding these to the headers when you should be adding them to the message
4. Missing a second EOL because the content begins afterwards

Switch to PHPMailer or SwiftMailer or some other standard library so you can get this problem resolved quickly and move onto the next one.

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