fgetcsv and fgets are both PHP functions used for reading data from a file, but they have different purposes and use cases.

  1. fgets:

    • fgets is a simple function that reads a single line from a file and returns it as a string.
    • It reads the file line-by-line, and you can specify the maximum length to read (optional parameter).
    • It does not parse the line or separate the values into an array; it returns the whole line as a string.
    • It's typically used for reading plain text files or files with custom formats where you need to process the data manually.


    $handle = fopen('data.txt', 'r'); while (($line = fgets($handle)) !== false) { // Process $line (a string containing a single line from the file) } fclose($handle);
  2. fgetcsv:

    • fgetcsv is a specialized function for reading CSV (Comma-Separated Values) files.
    • It reads a line from the file, parses it, and separates the values into an array based on the specified delimiter (usually a comma) and optionally the enclosure character (for fields containing the delimiter).
    • It's particularly useful when dealing with structured data in CSV format, as it automatically handles the parsing of fields into an array.


    $handle = fopen('data.csv', 'r'); while (($row = fgetcsv($handle)) !== false) { // Process $row (an array containing the values of a single row from the CSV) } fclose($handle);

Speed Difference: In terms of speed, fgets is generally faster than fgetcsv because it performs minimal parsing. fgets reads the file line-by-line without any additional processing, while fgetcsv needs to parse each line and separate values into an array, which introduces additional overhead.

However, the speed difference may not be significant for small files or occasional file processing. For large CSV files, fgetcsv can be more convenient and maintainable since it automatically handles CSV parsing without requiring manual string manipulation.

In summary, use fgets when dealing with plain text files or custom file formats where you need to process the data manually. Use fgetcsv when working with CSV files to take advantage of its built-in parsing capabilities. For very large files or performance-critical scenarios, you might consider benchmarking both functions to determine which one better suits your specific use case.

Have questions or queries?
Get in Touch