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Chapter 13 - Activate.php Page

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Hi Guys,


I have been using Larry's book recently and I must say it is amazing how straight forward it is and how much is helping me learn  PHP and MYSQL.

My question is from chapter 13. I managed to make everything  work beside the activate.php page which I send to the user via email so they can activate their account. When they click  on the link from the  email the browser doesn't find the page although it is in the same folder on the server as the other files. What can be the cause of that?


Kind Regards,


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We have very little to go on here, Adrian. No code, no link (even relative for your site) or other info needed to help you out. It will be purely guesswork.


To actually guess, I would double check your assumptions are true. Is the file there? Is it Chmodded like the rest of your files (You can often check this with FTP - try right clicking the file and look for CHMOD/Permissions) and does the link actually point to the directory the file resides in?


If non of that does help, please provide some more info. ;)

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Hi Antonio,


My apologies,  I didn't think of putting code. I believe the problem is that in the link sent by email it looks like this http://uel-kbs.co.uk/activate.php12&y=3c6e0ec639a3d4b9127ca4e68fbafe50


So the browser is actually looking for the file activate.php including rest of variables. Which is why it  cannot find it on the server as the file is just activate.php 

I know the rest of the variables in that file name represent the user id and status active ( x, y) but how would it know that it actually has to go to the activate.php page? 

Here is the part of the code from the activate.php page  that represents defining the  URL. Maybe this is the problem.


// If $x and $y aren't correct, redirect the user.
if ( ($x > 0) && (strlen($y) == 32)) {
require_once ('./mysql_connect.php'); // Connect to the database.
$query = "UPDATE users SET active=NULL WHERE (user_id=$x AND active='" . escape_data($y) . "') LIMIT 1";
$result = mysql_query ($query) or trigger_error("Query: $query\n<br />MySQL Error: " . mysql_error());
// Print a customized message.
if (mysql_affected_rows() == 1) {
echo "<h3>Your account is now active. You may now log in.</h3>";
} else {
echo '<p><font color="red" size="+1">Your account could not be activated. Please re-check the link or contact the system administrator.</font></p>'; 
} else { // Redirect.
// Start defining the URL.
$url = 'http://' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] . dirname($_SERVER['PHP_SELF']);
// Check for a trailing slash.
if ((substr($url, -1) == '/') OR (substr($url, -1) == '\\') ) {
$url = substr ($url, 0, -1); // Chop off the slash.
// Add the page.
$url .= '/index.php';
ob_end_clean(); // Delete the buffer.
header("Location: $url");
exit(); // Quit the script.
And the following thread of coding is from the register page, which generates the email:
// Make sure the email address is available.
$query = "SELECT user_id FROM users WHERE email='$e'";
$result = mysql_query ($query) or trigger_error("Query: $query\n<br />MySQL Error: " . mysql_error());
if (mysql_num_rows($result) == 0) { // Available.
// Create the activation code.
$a = md5(uniqid(rand(), true));
// Add the user.
$query = "INSERT INTO users (email, pass, first_name, last_name, active, registration_date) VALUES ('$e', SHA('$p'), '$fn', '$ln', '$a', NOW() )";
$result = mysql_query ($query) or trigger_error("Query: $query\n<br />MySQL Error: " . mysql_error());
if (mysql_affected_rows() == 1) { // If it ran OK.
// Send the email.
$body = "Thank you for registering at the User Registration site. To activate your account, please click on this link:\n\n";
$body .= "http://uel-kbs.co.uk/activate.php" . mysql_insert_id() . "&y=$a";
mail($_POST['email'], 'Registration Confirmation', $body, 'From: admin@uel-kbs.co.uk');
// Finish the page.
echo '<h3>Thank you for registering! A confirmation email has been sent to your address. Please click on the link in that email in order to activate your account.</h3>';
include ('./includes/footer.html'); // Include the HTML footer.




Hope this  clarifies a bit the problem. 


Many thanks,


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Take another look at your link. You've probably looked at it for too long to notice the obvious error. You are not looking for activate.php, but for activate.php12. (Where 12 would be the last inserted id.) My guess is that the link should be .php?x=12&y=MD5().


A good general tip is to use very simple debugging steps for problems like this. Don't assume $x or $y holds the correct value, print them to screen along the way. Apply a print_r() to $_GET to make sure you get the correct data, and stick some simple echo statements inside your IF/ELSE-statements to follow the flow of logic. The simple ways are often the best in the end.


Good luck. Also, please consider sharing the answer if you find it. It might benefit the next guy with a similar problem. :)

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