php - Logic for calling the stylesheet


I am baffled by this and I am hoping someone can indicate at a highlevel where my thinking is faulty.

I have a simple PHP programme

- index.php includes a file /common/header.php
- header.php links to the stylesheet.

Issue 1 which I think has baffled other people but I have not seen a reply that answers the question directly. If I put the style sheet in the root folder (in the same place as index.php), then I can link to the file without a path

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href= "style.css" />

The point is that the style sheet is relative to index.php NOT the the header.php when it is included in index.php. Is this correct?

Issue 2 is really odd. When i put the file in a folder I can link to it as

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href= "/common/style.css" />


<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href= "common/style.css" />


<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href= "styles/style.css" />

and so on.

BUT, this fails if I name the folder css. Anyone?

There is one other point which might be relevant. I am using WAMP and this website is set up with a virtual host.

That is, I have the host set up in the hosts file in Windows/System 32 and in the Apache httpd.vhosts.conf file.

That means that the index.php file is in the root directory and /common/style.css is functionally equivalent to common/style.css.

Any tips for understanding this would be much appreciated. thanks.




First of all, a relative link to a path in html is completely different from one that is in PHP.

in PHP your document root might be /var/www/example/ while in html this could be

the client browser that reads the HTML as no idea of where your html is echo'd location wise other then the entry script (in this case :

So if i just refer to

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href= "/css/style.css" />

and put the stylesheet in /var/www/example/css/style.css then it doens't matter what the location of header.php is and where it is echo'ed, as long as it is in relation the to entry script (index.php in this case)




Issue 1: Your problem is not one of PHP, but rather of HTML. CSS is applied by the browser after it has received the HTML source. So when your index.php is the script that outputs the content, all resources your reference in your html will be relative to the path this file is in.

Issue 2: the difference between<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href= "/common/style.css" /> and<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href= "common/style.css" /> is that version 1 will only work as long as /common resides in the root of your web server. It's an absolute path (starting with /) while version 2 is relative and would also work if your file was /xyz/common/style.css.

I have no idea why this should not work with the name css though. You should probably retry this.




Thanks everyone. That was fast.

To sum up the include problem which I suspect many people have. The path to the stylesheet must be relative to index.php not header.php.

The other problem I have solved. Some files were inadvertently copied into C:/wamp/www, i.e., the normal root. I cleaned all those out and the odd problem of refusing to play with a folder call /css went away. So this is a two fold problem beginning with 1. mess and 2. being something to do with the virtual host not working properly. At least the fog has lifted. Thank you all.

And for DarkMukke, "Anyone?" is phatic. It is a social nicety most likely used by newbies to convey respect when they realise the problem is as much to do with their own fog as anything technical. Or in geek-speak, the newbie is tipping their hat to anyone who will give them 5 mintues to set them straight.

Thanks everyone.

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