I am having trouble finding a solution for following problem:

The user should upload a file in the menu of my plugin; the file is uploaded to the media folder by using media_handle_upload(file), where the file comes from the _FILES array - this works perfectly. The plugin then, however, should access that very same file (CSV) to extract data and present it on a page via a shortcode.

I can not, however, find out how to access that file in my plugin. I have looked into this: Access to Media Library, this: Accessing Media/Files outside the_content, and I have tried to find something in the wordpress codex. So far I could not find anything on this matter, however.

At the moment, my code for reading the file's contents looks like this:

$my_file = trailingslashit( wp_upload_dir() ) . 'MyFile.csv';
if (file_exists($my_file)) {
    return file_get_contents($my_file, FILE_USE_INCLUDE_PATH);
} else {
    return "No file found";

Thus my question is: how does my plugin access a file that is uploaded into the media folder but is not connected to any post or the like? Again, I intend to read the file's contents and process them further.

  • Welcome to WordPress StackExchange. You can get attachment id from media_handle_upload() function. If you can get the id of the uploaded file you can use get_attached_file() function for getting the full path of the file. Referral of function: codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/get_attached_file Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 18:43
  • 1
    that worked, thank you! I don't know how I missed that
    – Yato
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


When you use media_handle_upload() to upload a file, it creates the attachment post in the database and return the ID of the attachment, or a WP_Error if the upload failed. This ID of the attachment is used to access uploaded file.
See documentation here. and an example here.

So path to your CSV file can be retrieved using get_attached_file() as follows:

$my_file = get_attached_file( $attachment_id ); // Full path

Documentation for get_attached_file() is here.
I hope this may help.

  • that worked, thank you! I don't know how I missed that
    – Yato
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 8:21

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