I have trouble to get the upload directroy from drupal. Is there some function returning the relative or absolute path?

  • 1
    Consider using wrappers (public://, private://, etc to avoid any folder conflicts. Take advantage of Drupal 7 :) )
    – AKS
    Feb 12, 2013 at 19:39
  • I know that this works with image_style_url(uri) but i want to pass it to javascript as a variable for futher processing...thanks though
    – Jurudocs
    Feb 12, 2013 at 20:03

3 Answers 3


This information is saved in Drupal's variables table. Use the variable_get function to get this information, passing in the name of the correct variable:

  • Public Filesystem Location: variable_get('file_public_path', conf_path() . '/files');
  • Private Filesystem Location: variable_get('file_private_path');

If you want the temporary upload directory use variable_get('file_temporary_path'); If you want to determine the system specific upload directory, regardless of the actual site configuration use the file_directory_temp function.

variable_get('file_public_path', conf_path() . '/files'); will pull the default path for you in case it has not been modified or explicitly set by the site administrator.

  • 1
    hmm in my case variable_get('file_public_path') is empty...do i have to call it within a hook or so?
    – Jurudocs
    Feb 12, 2013 at 19:59
  • 1
    @Jurudocs Use this instead: variable_get('file_public_path', conf_path() . '/files'); Basically, it pulls the default path for you in case it has not been modified or explicitly set by the site administrator.
    – 9ee1
    Feb 12, 2013 at 20:03
  • @zhilevan Check your file permissions on that directory.
    – Atomox
    Oct 8, 2014 at 19:16
  • This only gives the relative path which seems less useful than the absolute path. I like the drupal_realpath solution below. Seems more legit. Sep 21, 2017 at 17:03

To get the absolute file system paths use drupal_realpath (Drupal API) instead of file_create_url:

// returns e.g. /var/www/drupal/sites/default/files

// returns e.g. /var/www/drupal/sites/default/files_private

You can also use these functions to get a valid url from a relative uri:


They return the path to the public or private folders.

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