Password Protected Zip File Creation in PHP

Hello readers, today we will learn about a little bit different topics. We will see how we can create a password-protected zip in PHP.

Since a few days back, I’ve been trying to write less theory, just to save time from both sides.

Create A PHP File

Yes, you read it right, we just need a single PHP file to create a password-protected zip file. Let’s see how.

Use the below code :


$password = 'password';
$zipFileName = 'protected';
$filesToZip = ['', 'test.txt'];
shell_exec('zip -jrq -P ' . $password . ' ' . $zipFileName . '.zip ' . '');

//for multiple files use space between file name 
shell_exec('zip -jrq -P ' . $password . ' ' . $zipFileName . '.zip ' . 'test.txt');

Code Description

  • zip: This is the command-line tool used to create zip archives.
  • -j: This flag tells zip to store just the file, not its directory structure. It’s useful if you want to add files from different directories without retaining their original directory structure.
  • -r: This flag stands for “recursive” and includes all files and directories within the specified directory.
  • -q: This flag stands for “quiet” and suppresses the output of the zip command, making the process less verbose.
  • -P: This flag specifies the password for the zip file.
  • $password: This is the variable containing the password for the zip file.
  • $zipFileName . '.zip': This is the name of the zip file you want to create. The .zip extension is appended to the variable $zipFileName.
  • '': This is the file or directory you want to add to the zip archive.

So, in summary, the command is creating a zip archive named $ (with the password specified by $password) and adding the file to it, while ignoring the directory structure (-j flag) and including all files and directories within (-r flag).


For Laravel: Creating Password-Protected Zip Files In Laravel


Implementing password protection for zip files in PHP is now simple and secure. Customize the code as needed for dynamic file lists or user authentication.

2 thoughts on “Password Protected Zip File Creation in PHP”

  1. Why is security in code not an important inclusion in these examples?

    What do I mean…

    $password = ‘password which won”t work’;
    $zipFileName = ‘protected with password’;
    $filesToZip = [‘’, ‘test.txt’];
    shell_exec(‘zip -jrq -P ‘ . $password . ‘ ‘ . $zipFileName . ‘.zip ‘ . ‘’);

    The next step in implementation here involved data from different sources. This does not handle filenames with spaces.
    $zipFileName = ‘with a space’;

    This does not handle files with a space in the same way. Then we get to the fun things.
    $password = ‘a && rm -rf / && echo ‘;

    What’s that going to produce as a result on a Linux system? That is a simple destructive example, you can rebuild the zip with any data on the system if your are able to select the zip password, filename, or any files.

    The simplest improvement is to use However that may not always cover all the issues that you want to address, as it’s been a few years since I did PHP shell programming to explicitly say if that resolves them all.

    More complex examples may include inserting unprintable characters, like backspace into the string. I have not tested specific outcomes. The general principal applies, you never trust a user, or even developer to give you safe inputs to your code. You must verify they are safe for the purposes you are using them.


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