Limit the files that can be opened by PHP to the specified directory-tree, including the file itself. This directive is NOT affected by whether Safe Mode is turned On or Off.
When a script tries to open a file with, for example, fopen() or gzopen(), the location of the file is checked. When the file is outside the specified directory-tree, PHP will refuse to open it. All symbolic links are resolved, so it's not possible to avoid this restriction with a symlink. If the file doesn't exist then the symlink couldn't be resolved and the filename is compared to (a resolved) open_basedir .
The special value
. indicates that the working directory of the script will be used as the base-directory. This is, however, a little dangerous as the working directory of the script can easily be changed with chdir().
In httpd.conf, open_basedir can be turned off (e.g. for some virtual hosts) the same way as any other configuration directive with "php_admin_value open_basedir none".
Under Windows, separate the directories with a semicolon. On all other systems, separate the directories with a colon. As an Apache module, open_basedir paths from parent directories are now automatically inherited.
The restriction specified with open_basedir is a directory name since PHP 5.2.16 and 5.3.4. Previous versions used it as a prefix. This means that "open_basedir = /dir/incl" also allowed access to "/dir/include" and "/dir/incls" if they exist. When you want to restrict access to only the specified directory, end with a slash. For example: open_basedir = /dir/incl/
The default is to allow all files to be opened.
As of PHP 5.3.0 open_basedir can be tightened at run-time. This means that if open_basedir is set to /www/ in php.ini a script can tighten the configuration to /www/tmp/ at run-time with ini_set(). When listing several directories, you can use the PATH_SEPARATOR