How to Upload HTML Canvas Data to PHP Server

Last time, I shared my experience about how to use JavaScript saving HTML canvas data to local disk in Chrome. In this tutorial, I would like to share how to save HTML canvas data to remote service with JavaScript and PHP.

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Uploading canvas data is a little bit complicated comparing to file upload. If you want to learn how to upload a file, you can read the tutorial PHP File Upload.

Let’s get started to create a project, which includes two files upload.html and upload_data.php. In addition, you need to create a folder upload for receiving files.


<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
<html xmlns="">
		<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
		<title>Upload Canvas Data to PHP Server</title>
		<h1>Upload Canvas Data to PHP Server</h1>
		<canvas width="80" height="80" id="canvas">canvas</canvas>
		<script type="text/javascript">
			window.onload = function() {
				var canvas = document.getElementById("canvas");
				var context = canvas.getContext("2d");
				context.rect(0, 0, 80, 80);
				context.fillStyle = 'yellow';

			<input type="button" onclick="uploadEx()" value="Upload" />

		<form method="post" accept-charset="utf-8" name="form1">
			<input name="hidden_data" id='hidden_data' type="hidden"/>

			function uploadEx() {
				var canvas = document.getElementById("canvas");
				var dataURL = canvas.toDataURL("image/png");
				document.getElementById('hidden_data').value = dataURL;
				var fd = new FormData(document.forms["form1"]);

				var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();'POST', 'upload_data.php', true);

				xhr.upload.onprogress = function(e) {
					if (e.lengthComputable) {
						var percentComplete = (e.loaded / * 100;
						console.log(percentComplete + '% uploaded');
						alert('Succesfully uploaded');

				xhr.onload = function() {

  • Create a canvas tag, and draw a rectangle on canvas when the whole page has been loaded.
  • Create a button for triggering uploading event.
  • Create a form with a hidden input tag, which is used to save the data URL.
  • Use XMLHttpRequest to asynchronously upload form data to PHP service.


$upload_dir = "upload/";
$img = $_POST['hidden_data'];
$img = str_replace('data:image/png;base64,', '', $img);
$img = str_replace(' ', '+', $img);
$data = base64_decode($img);
$file = $upload_dir . mktime() . ".png";
$success = file_put_contents($file, $data);
print $success ? $file : 'Unable to save the file.';

Now deploy the whole project to a web server, such as nginx, Apache and so forth. Visit localhost:port/upload.html, click the button, and open the file folder to check whether the image is there.

Anything unclear? Please feel free to contact me at {desmond at Dynamsoft dot com}.

Take a Photo and Upload it on Mobile Phones with HTML5

In my daily life, I enjoy taking photos with my smartphone and uploading them to various websites. So I started thinking, “Is it possible to implement these functions in a web browser?” Although Dynamsoft ImageCapture Suite allows us to capture images from a webcam, it is designed for a desktop App development on windows and Mac, not for mobile platforms. Fortunately, the new HTML5 SDK is capable of uploading local images or captured images to web servers. Everything becomes easier if we have a mobile web browser, like Chrome, which is fully compatible with HTML5.

Read more