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PHP Server Side Scripting Forum

Confirmation email link without a database
Email stored in temp file, then saved to new on confirmation

 3:11 am on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I realize that this question has been asked many times, but I've yet to find a flatfile version.

I'm looking for a way to achieve this:


A person submits their email address via a form.

The email is then stored in flatfile database (.txt)

The person then gets an auto-reply email with a link to confirm their email address.

Upon confirming after clicking the link, their email address is saved to a new file (confirmed_emails.txt for example).

Is this possible without the use of a SQL/similar datase, and how can I achieve this?

Note: SQL or other database option, is not an option unfortunately.



 9:36 am on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's quite trivial really.

Write the original contents in a file named email_address.txt and when they confirm it rename it to confirmed_email_address.

I'd probably use an MD5 version of the email address to avoid the special characters that can be in email addresses that can cause trouble.


 3:52 pm on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

The tools you will use are PHP mail() [php.net] and file_get_contents() [us2.php.net] or if you're on an old version of PHP, fopen() [us2.php.net] and related functions described in See Also section.

You'd likely have two scripts, one to initiate the mail and store the email in the first file, one to receive the input from the email link.

I would also suggest storing this file in a location inaccessible from the web and only from your script to avoid someone stumbling on it and mining your email addresses.


 1:10 am on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

What would an inaccessible folder be, one such as cgi-bin maybe?


 4:11 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Generally no. cgi-bin is usually for CGI executables or scripts. For example, on some systems perl scripts will only execute if they reside in the cgi-bin directory, but it's still accessible via the web.

It depends on the setup. Your "visible" (from the web) might reside in public_html, so you possibly have


Of those, only "_private" is a viable location within the "public_html" directory to store such files. It's not browsable, that's why it's "private."

Even that may have issues, another approach might be to store the file somewhere **outside** public_html, if you can and are allowed.

This is just one setup, like I said it depends on the system.


 4:37 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately I don't. Is there a way to do it with .htaccess?


 2:31 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

You can restrict access to a directory or even a file using Apache configuration directives. See the following resources for more information:

Apache 2.2

Apache 2.4


 2:42 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

fredfletcher wrote:
Note: SQL or other database option, is not an option unfortunately.

Not even SQLite?



 2:01 am on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Ryan - SQLite might be an option. Am looking into it, thanks.


 2:02 am on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the info Coopster

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