Viewed   128 times

I wrote a simple relay script that connects to a web camera and reads from the socket, and outputs this data using the print function. The data is MJPG data with boundaries already setup. I just output the data that is read.

The problem is PHP seems to be buffering this data. When I set the camera to 1 FPS, the feed will freeze for 7-8 seconds, then quickly display 8 frames. If I set the resolution to a huge size, the camera move at more or less 1 frame per second. I assume then some buffering is happening (since huge sizes fill the buffer quickly, and low sizes don't), and I can't figure out how to disable this buffering. Does anyone know how to?



$boundary = "myboundary";

//Set this so PHP doesn't timeout during a long stream

$socketConn = @fsockopen ("", 1989, $errno, $errstr, 2);
if (!$socketConn)
stream_set_timeout($socketConn, 10);
fputs ($socketConn, "GET /mjpeg HTTP/1.0rnrn");

//Setup Header Information
header("Cache-Control: no-cache");
header("Cache-Control: private");
header("Pragma: no-cache");
header("Content-type: multipart/x-mixed-replace; boundary=$boundary");

@ini_set('implicit_flush', 1);
for ($i = 0; $i < ob_get_level(); $i++)

stream_set_blocking($f2, false);

//Send data to client
while (connection_status() == CONNECTION_NORMAL)
    $chunk = fread($socketConn, 128);
    print $chunk;   




tl;dr version

Do two things:

  1. Disable the userspace output buffer, either...

    • Globally, by either...

      • Turning off output_buffering in your php.ini, or
      • Turning off output_buffering in your Apache config using

        php_flag "output_buffering" Off
    • or for just the script you care about, by either...

      • calling ob_end_flush(), or
      • calling ob_end_clean()
  2. Also, disable the server-level output buffer as much as you possibly can, by either:

    • calling ob_implicit_flush() at the start of your script, or
    • calling flush() after every echo statement or other statement that adds output to the response body

Longer version

Confusingly, there are two layers of buffering that may be relevant and the PHP documentation does a poor job of distinguishing between the two.

The output buffer

The first layer is usually referred to by the PHP docs as the 'output buffer'. This layer of buffering only affects output to the body of the HTTP response, not the headers. You can turn on output buffering with ob_start(), and turn it off with ob_end_flush() or ob_end_clean(). You can also have all your scripts automatically start with output buffering on using the output_buffering option in php.ini.

The default value of this option for production versions of php.ini is 4096, which means that the first 4096 bytes of output will be buffered in the output buffer, at which point it will be flushed and output buffering is turned off.

You can disable this layer of buffering globally by setting output_buffering to Off in your php.ini file (or using

php_flag "output_buffering" Off

in your Apache config, if you're using Apache). Alternatively, you can disable it for a single script by calling ob_end_clean() or ob_end_flush() at the start of the script.

The write buffer, and the webserver buffer

Beyond the output buffer is what the PHP manual refers to as the 'write buffer', plus any buffering system your web server has. If you're using PHP with Apache through mod_php, and are not using mod_gzip, you can call flush() to flush these; with other backends, it might work too, although the manual is cagey about giving assurances:


void flush ( void )

Flushes the write buffers of PHP and whatever backend PHP is using (CGI, a web server, etc). This attempts to push current output all the way to the browser with a few caveats.

flush() may not be able to override the buffering scheme of your web server and it has no effect on any client-side buffering in the browser. It also doesn't affect PHP's userspace output buffering mechanism. This means you will have to call both ob_flush() and flush() to flush the ob output buffers if you are using those.

There are also a couple of ways you can make PHP automatically call flush() every time you echo anything (or do anything else that echoes output to the response body).

The first is to call ob_implicit_flush(). Note that this function is deceptively named; given its ob_ prefix, any reasonable person would expect that it would affect the 'output buffer', as do ob_start, ob_flush etc. However, this is not the case; ob_implicit_flush(), like flush(), affects the server-level output buffer and does not interact in any way with the output buffer controlled by the other ob_ functions.

The second is to globally enable implicit flushing by setting the implicit_flush flag to On in your php.ini. This is equivalent to calling ob_implicit_flush() at the start of every script. Note that the manual advises against this, cryptically citing "serious performance implications", some of which I explore in this tangentially related answer.

Friday, December 2, 2022

You can convince PHP's curl backend to stop doing the 100-continue-thing by setting an explicit request header:

curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER, array('Expect:'));

This way you can post a request however long you would ever want and curl will not do the dual phase post.

I've blogged about this nearly two years ago.

Monday, October 3, 2022

A rough idea to start you:


  if( isset( $_GET['logout'] ) )
    header('Location: ../logout.php');

  if( !isset( $_SESSION['login'] ) )
    if( !isset( $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_USER'] ) || !isset( $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_PW'] ) )
      header("HTTP/1.0 401 Unauthorized");
      header("WWW-authenticate: Basic realm="Tets"");
      header("Content-type: text/html");
      // Print HTML that a password is required
      // Validate the $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_USER'] & $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_PW']
      if( $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_USER']!='TheUsername'
          || $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_PW']!='ThePassword' )
        // Invalid: 401 Error & Exit
        header("HTTP/1.0 401 Unauthorized");
        header("WWW-authenticate: Basic realm="Tets"");
        header("Content-type: text/html");
        // Print HTML that a username or password is not valid
        // Valid
// The rest of the page is then displayed like normal
Monday, December 5, 2022

Upgrade your nginx server {} config:

fastcgi_keep_conn on; # < solution

proxy_buffering off;
gzip off;
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

First php has to correctly flush everything :


Then, I found two working solutions:

1) Via Nginx configuration:

fastcgi_buffering off;

2) Via HTTP header in the php code

header('X-Accel-Buffering: no');
Monday, September 19, 2022
Only authorized users can answer the search term. Please sign in first, or register a free account.
Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged :