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}.

14 thoughts on “How to Upload HTML Canvas Data to PHP Server

  1. It is really nice , but unfortunately , if the image is big the hidden file will not be enough and the image will not be complete send to server

  2. Thank you! I’ve been working on this for three days, and this worked within 5 minutes. You are wonderful!

  3. This… this is alot better the my first Found page given.

    And havent tested it but i already know this doesnt have any problems with $HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA

  4. Hi!
    The script is really great and help a lot but have a question.
    I am using in a testing server with an old php 5.2 version with no problems.
    But whe upload to my hosting server with php 5.5 the script dont work.
    I get no errors at all and the entire scripts seems to be executed.
    Just looks like the script is no loading the upload_data.php file.

    Any ideas or things I can do or test?

    My email is

    I can send the test and hosting server address that I am using.


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