JSP - File Uploading


A JSP can be used with an HTML form tag to allow users to upload files to the server. An uploaded file could be a text file or binary or image file or any document.

Creating a File Upload Form:

The following HTM code below creates an uploader form. Following are the important points to be noted down:

  • The form method attribute should be set to POST method and GET method can not be used.

  • The form enctype attribute should be set to multipart/form-data.

  • The form action attribute should be set to a JSP file which would handle file uploading at backend server. Following example is using uploadFile.jsp program file to upload file.

  • To upload a single file you should use a single <input .../> tag with attribute type="file". To allow multiple files uploading, include more than one input tags with different values for the name attribute. The browser associates a Browse button with each of them.

<title>File Uploading Form</title>
<h3>File Upload:</h3>
Select a file to upload: <br />
<form action="UploadServlet" method="post"
<input type="file" name="file" size="50" />
<br />
<input type="submit" value="Upload File" />

This will display following result which would allow to select a file from local PC and when user would click at "Upload File", form would be submitted along with the selected file:

File Upload: 

Select a file to upload:

NOTE: Above form is just dummy form and would not work, you should try above code at your machine to make it work.

Writing Backend JSP Script:

First let us define a location where uploaded files would be stored. You can hard code this in your program or this directory name could also be added using an external configuration such as a context-param element in web.xml as follows:

    <description>Location to store uploaded file</description> 

Following is the source code for UploadFile.jsp which can handle multiple file uploading at a time. Before proceeding you have make sure the followings:

  • Following example depends on FileUpload, so make sure you have the latest version of commons-fileupload.x.x.jar file in your classpath. You can download it from http://commons.apache.org/fileupload/.

  • FileUpload depends on Commons IO, so make sure you have the latest version of commons-io-x.x.jar file in your classpath. You can download it from http://commons.apache.org/io/.

  • While testing following example, you should upload a file which has less size than maxFileSize otherwise file would not be uploaded.

  • Make sure you have created directories c:\temp and c:\apache-tomcat-5.5.29\webapps\data well in advance.

<%@ page import="java.io.*,java.util.*, javax.servlet.*" %>
<%@ page import="javax.servlet.http.*" %>
<%@ page import="org.apache.commons.fileupload.*" %>
<%@ page import="org.apache.commons.fileupload.disk.*" %>
<%@ page import="org.apache.commons.fileupload.servlet.*" %>
<%@ page import="org.apache.commons.io.output.*" %>

   File file ;
   int maxFileSize = 5000 * 1024;
   int maxMemSize = 5000 * 1024;
   ServletContext context = pageContext.getServletContext();
   String filePath = context.getInitParameter("file-upload");

   // Verify the content type
   String contentType = request.getContentType();
   if ((contentType.indexOf("multipart/form-data") >= 0)) {

      DiskFileItemFactory factory = new DiskFileItemFactory();
      // maximum size that will be stored in memory
      // Location to save data that is larger than maxMemSize.
      factory.setRepository(new File("c:\\temp"));

      // Create a new file upload handler
      ServletFileUpload upload = new ServletFileUpload(factory);
      // maximum file size to be uploaded.
      upload.setSizeMax( maxFileSize );
         // Parse the request to get file items.
         List fileItems = upload.parseRequest(request);

         // Process the uploaded file items
         Iterator i = fileItems.iterator();

         out.println("<title>JSP File upload</title>");  
         while ( i.hasNext () ) 
            FileItem fi = (FileItem)i.next();
            if ( !fi.isFormField () )	
            // Get the uploaded file parameters
            String fieldName = fi.getFieldName();
            String fileName = fi.getName();
            boolean isInMemory = fi.isInMemory();
            long sizeInBytes = fi.getSize();
            // Write the file
            if( fileName.lastIndexOf("\\") >= 0 ){
            file = new File( filePath + 
            fileName.substring( fileName.lastIndexOf("\\"))) ;
            file = new File( filePath + 
            fileName.substring(fileName.lastIndexOf("\\")+1)) ;
            fi.write( file ) ;
            out.println("Uploaded Filename: " + filePath + 
            fileName + "<br>");
      }catch(Exception ex) {
      out.println("<title>Servlet upload</title>");  
      out.println("<p>No file uploaded</p>"); 

Now try to upload files using the HTML form which you created above. When you would try http://localhost:8080/UploadFile.htm, it would display following result which would help you uploading any file from your local machine.

File Upload: 

Select a file to upload:

If your JSP script works fine, your file should be uploaded in c:\apache-tomcat-5.5.29\webapps\data\ directory.