Simple image of a machine cog with an enlarged centre. In the centre is a downward pointing triangle, donating a download. Everything is in a cool semi-transparent grey gradient.

corz distro machine


Stand-alone mode..

corz distro machine was primarily designed to be self-contained automatic distribution system. Drop any files you wish to distribute into the "download" folder, simple. If you have any source files or scripts you wish to allow users to view, pop those into the "source" folder the same way.

If you don't need the source facility, simply disable it..

$machine['show_source_menu'] = false;

Drop the whole "machine" folder into your web site and rename to whatever you like. let's say you called it "goodies", and dropped it in the root of your site, navigating to..

..will bring up either the default download menu, or the source viewing menu, depending on how you set your preferences.

Users can easily switch between the "download" and "source" menus and download zips of source files from the source viewer page. All downloads are counted and totals stored in a simple flat-file database. This database is very secure.

There is also a hidden ".htaccess" file inside the "download" folder, preventing direct access to its contents, and not in the ordinary 403 DENIED way; instead when a user attempts to load that directory, or any file inside it, they will be redirected back to the main menu page. neat, check it out. You can set this up however you like.

* there is also a "docs" folder with readme's, extra css, special offers and stuff, but you don't need this to run the machine. the distribution also contains sample php source and zip files. Have fun!

As a backend download engine..

corz distro machine can provide backend download and counter services for your web site.. Instead of providing direct links to the files, you send them to the distro machine! Like this..

<a href="/goodies/index.php?">some file</a>

Drop into your "download" folder and it's ready to go! the distro machine will handle the download and count it for you transparently.

You could easily move the machine into your root, and perhaps rename index.php to "download.php" or something like that. don't forget the invisible .ht files!

In that case, the links would then be..

<a href="/download.php?">some file</a>

Bright sparks will have figured out that this also allows you to have your downloads embedded in other web site's pages, providing a means to easily syndicate your content. All they need to do is add one valid URL..

<a href="http://mysite/download.php?">some file</a>

Of course, this may be something you want to prevent, and there are numerous ways to do this, including strict hot-linking preferences. Do read through the preferences.

Embedded menus on-the-fly..

corz distro machine can create embedded download menus for your pages, too. simply pass "&clean=true" in your url, and the distro machine will return the menu of your choice, stripped of all headers, footers and jump links, like this..

<?php include 'http://'. $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] .'/engine?download=menu&section=php/newsfeed%20scripts&clean=true'; ?>

Or even (*eew*) like this..

<iframe width=400 height=160 src="/beta?download=menu&clean=true"></iframe>

Here's first example from above..

You can slam these anywhere you like, and along with its other roles, the distro machine will happily provide backend menu services for your site. Check out the download page for an extreme example. You can embed source menus this way, too.

NOTE: You can also use readfile() in much the same way as include().

special features..

You can specify certain parameters in the embedding URL, adding special features..

&titles=true    enable section and sub-section titles
&text=true    show custom text (from a file)
&sections=true    sub-section menus

Here's one with everything switched on..

Web Site Spare Parts™

The zip files..

An ever-growing collection of drop-in site parts, and other stuff. The bigger script go here. All of the scripts can be seen working right here at Many of the example source files also function in this location. Feel free to play around..

NOTE: Often there are 'extras' in the zips, implementation demos, etc., recommended. Copying code from the code viewer is not recommended. The big active menu title ("download menu..") can switch you between source and download. In most cases, you can download the corresponding zip from directly inside the source viewer.
powered by corz distro machine v0.9.5

The source viewer..

corz distro machine comes with a built-in source viewer..

Many web servers don't support php source highlighting, and on those that do (you can add support in .htaccess files), you will often find the output truncated, which is frustrating.

Here is a solution which works under all conditions (php4+) and add to it by supporting a wide variety of other script formats; currently php ('.php', '.inc', 'phps'), text (.txt), shell and perl scripts (.sh, .pl), batch (.bat) files, as well as AutoIt, and more. The text highlighting code is ripped from my own textviewer script and can handle most things, though is fairly rudimentary compared to the php highlighting. Nice, though.

Simply drop any scripts you would like to have available for viewing directly into the "source" folder, and they will automagically be available from the source menu. You can enable/disable extensions in the preferences.

the pretty coloured source page..

Presenting your source like this is very neat.

Remember, in order for the "download" link at the bottom to work, you will need to have a zip archive in the specified download folder, called ""

For instance, to allow users to download "rss.php", you would create a zip called "" (or simply "") and drop it in the "download" folder.

Clearly, there's no way to count folks copying-and-pasting source from the source view pages, but if your download links work, they *will* use them!

The source viewing facility is disabled by default; if you want to use it; check the prefs.

Back-end source highlighting service

The distro machine can provide back-end source highlighting services for your web site, too. So you can have cool highlighted source code embedded within your pages, like this..


/* some sample source code from the source folder
echo 'I am only a poor sample';
debug('a poor sample');
function debug($data) {

    if (
$data == 'out') {
$debug_string .= "\n\n";
        if (
is_writable('debug.out')) {
$debug_file fopen('debug.out''w');
    } else { 
$debug_string .= $data; }
end function debug()

All you do is pass the regular URL, except add "&clean=true", like this..

<?php readfile('http://'.$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'].
'/engine?section=php&source=sample.php&clean=true'); ?>

Rather than specifying section and file, you might prefer to use the short format, like this..

<?php readfile('http://'.$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'].
'/engine?source=php/sample.php&clean=true'); ?>

Either way, the distro machine will return your pretty coloured source with the usual source viewer page header and footer stripped off. neat.

NOTE: using include() to embed machine objects is now deprecated in favour of readfile(). include() has the advantage of not leaving extra requests in your web logs, but is more likely to fail on a particular server setup, though if it works on your server, it will work well. readfile() has the advantage of working no matter what your server configuration happens to be. Your call.

You can use the source highlighting facility for non-php files, too, where it automatically converts your shell/bash/batch/perl/AutoIt/etc. scripts, .nfo files, or just plain old text into html; XHTML or HTML5, rather; which could be handy. I should make it a feature.. Auto-HTMLizing info viewer, or something. Anyway, this is what a regular text file (in this case, one of my readme's) might look like..
      #####    ###     ##  ### ########              ###     ##  ###    ###TM
    #######  #######   ####### ########            #######   #######  #######
   ###      ###   ###  ###         ###            ###   ###  ###     ###   ##
   ###      ###   ###  ##       ###               ###   ###  ##      ###   ##
    #######  #######   ##      ########    ###     #######   ##        ######
      #####    ###     ##      ########    ###       ###     ##          ####

                "corz-style" beta-tester license version 1.3

    By installing and using this product, you confirm your acceptance of, and 
    agree to become bound by the terms of this agreement. If you do not agree to 
    be bound by these terms, do not install this software!

    You may not copy, lend, share, or otherwise distribute this software or 
    "significant portions" thereof, without the express written consent of the 
    author, me.

    Warranty: This software comes "as-is", and while designed to be as fast and 
    secure and fit as possible for its intended purpose, it comes with no 
    warranty, expressed or implied. Please endeavour to report any bugs/ 
    strangeness to the email address at the foot of this document.

    Disclaimer: neither nor its developer will be liable or responsible 
    for any damages you, your business or any third party may suffer, including, 
    but not limited to the use or inability to use this software. makes 
    no warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, for this software, and 
    disclaims any warranty or merchantability or fitness for a particular 
    purpose. Though, of course, it will probably work great!

    This software is provided on the condition that you test it fully and report 
    back any issues, bugs, problems, errors (both in the software and 
    documentation), along with your general report. I'm always keen to receive 
    feedback on the overall package and documentation, as well as the installer 
    program, if any is supplied. Include anything at all, even if you think it's 
    not that important. Your feelings and random thoughts are very much 
    appreciated. I read them all carefully.

    On successful completion of the beta-testing phase, and software "release"
    providing you have complied with the terms of the agreement, in return for 
    your beta test report(s), you will receive a fully licensed copy of the 
    software, for your own personal use, with thanks!

    Have fun!


    betas at corz dot org

    This work (c) copyright cor and 2000->tomorrow!

    note: reserves the right to amend or update these policies without 
    notice - failure to comply with the terms and conditions will result in 
    license termination, and possibly a terse email.

It looks like text, but acts like 100% XHTML strict/HTML5. And if you are wondering how on earth the cool "/engine?" links work, check out the faq page, or just dive directly into some mod_rewrite hacking.

Stats, counters and admin..

I added a funky stats page so you can get a neat list of your download statistics

There's an (optional) "stats" link at the bottom-right of the menu page, which can (optionally) be hidden. Clicking that will bring up your (optionally) password protected statistics page. you can (optionally) disable this altogether.

You can edit your download scores there, too, handy if you do a few tests and don't want them messing up your statistics, etc. if the stats page is open to the public (no password has been set), editing functions are not available.

This feature was brought to you with the help of the word "optionally"



you can add a couple of lines to your .htaccess file (the one in the root of your web server) to redirect some short URL to a long one. something like..

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^funk(.*) /deep/path/to/files/folder/download.php$1

will send this URL..


to here..


pretty cool. I've started doing my own downloads like this. it works with source view requests too..


The distro machine also allows you to set this internally, so that all the links it creates, in menus, embedded menus, downloads and what-have-you, also use your short link. Cool.

Beware: whatever word you chose for this (in our example, 'funk') must be a unique word that is not used in another URL in the root of your site. If you had, say, a file called funk.html, attempting to access it would throw up a 404 error. /funky/index.html would do the same. But so long as it doesn't begin with the same word, and it's not in the root of your site, there will be no problem. /my/funk.html is fine.

In reality, all the downloading is handled transparently, so the actual URL should never appear in the user's address bar. the only place it is seen is in any status bar the user's browser may have. I know, the wee things can be so important.

it is cool, though, to be able to send folks to http://mysite/funk

Here's some more suggested rules to make things interesting..

	RewriteEngine On
	RewriteRule ^funk/(.*)		/funk$1 [nc]
	RewriteRule ^funk(.*)		/deep/path/to/files/folder/download.php$1 [nc]
	RewriteRule ^source/(.*)	/deep/path/to/files/folder/source/$1 [nc]

the [nc] bit just means No Case, or case insensitive match, so /FUNK would be caught just the same.

Can I run everything in one folder?

Yes, though it's not so easy as it used to be

In your preferences, set your download path to './' which means "this folder", now you can just chuck your downloads right in with the machine. you can do the same with you source folder preference too, have the whole lot just swimming around. very messy, though.

NOTE: you will need to move the "inc" folder out of the way, and ensure the preferences that lead to there are altered to match your new location. You can leave it in there, but folk would wander about. They couldn't see your passwords or anything like that, but it will look untidy.


All done!

You can click here so see corz distro machine dealing with the downloads here at

Welcome to the comments facility!

previous comments (five pages)   show all comments

corz - 04.04.08 7:09 pm

Ahh.. you're already using the old version! Please rtfm! It's all in there! How to attach css, how to get to the download statistics (that optionally hidden link at the bottom of the main (not embedded) page), and so on.

Really, I spend hours on documentation!


ps. the new (currently beta) version is waaay improved. Upgrade and do the hacks I posted, and you'll have the best of everything. The location of the download statistics hasn't changed, either!

anne - 05.04.08 4:31 am

Yes, I read your manual (index.php) and browsed through changelog here: I'm would like to upgrade onto the latest beta, 0.9.21 for a "waaay improved version" but you're download engine only has packages 0.9.19b and 0.9.16b here: I believe the "attach" feature is developed on 0.9.20+ as per your changelog. I also browsed through your devblog (for March), and it doesn't seem to have any post related to the file I wanted.

Thank you very much for your patience. And I'm sorry for not reading your manual thoroughly. smiley for :blank:

All the downloads are being updated. When they are available, you can usually get to them from the main page! ;o)

corz - 05.04.08 12:30 pm

Och, no one reads manuals thoroughly, sadly. I was just a bit shocked that you wouldn't know how to get to the download stats, that's always been the same.

"waaay improved", refers to any 0.9 version (xhtml and depth infinity, for starters). All available downloads are on the download page (link at the top of this page). There is no 0.9.21 beta yet, that's the current in-testing version. v0.9.19 is the current beta; get it on the downloads page.

The "attach" feature (I assume you mean attaching css) is DEPRECATED*. Since the xhtml upgrade, there's no real need to be attaching css (at least, for normal users), but like I say, I hadn't considered someone might want to embed menus inside forum posts, so I may hack it back in, quietly. Attaching css will always create invalid markup, and though most popular browsers can handle it, it's bad practice, because not everyone uses the popular web browsers, or even web browsers at all.

If you download any 0.9 series distro machine, and want to attach css, you'll need to hack it in yourself, as per above instructions. It's a five-second job.

Or else wait for we to put out another beta release, where it will probably be hacked back in. There's still a few ripples to iron out in the latest version (it works great here at the .org, but has been doing weird things on my test servers), so it' won't be released until I can get around to sorting them out.

Feel free to ask any questions. My patience is fairly limitless for stuff like this. At the end of the day, it's you helping me to make my software better, by revealing what confuses/sticks people, so it's all good. Fire away!


A new preference was added in 0.9.20, "always attach", but that's something completely different; for folk dealing exclusively with multimedia downloads.

anne - 05.04.08 7:48 pm

Thank you for your limitless patience! I hope my questions do help your script development instead of ... ^_^

I don't know. I might be just misunderstanding this. Or you may just be misunderstanding me.. Either way, I just want to clarify one thing. The "download count" that I'm referring above is not the stats page. I do know by reading your manual that I can have an option of showing the stats "link" below the download menu, etc. even password protecting it.

What I'm hoping for though is the download count to show right beside each file name on the menu itself (i,e, (XXX times)
) ...and not on the stats page.

Ofcoure, if I once again misunderstood your explanation.. I apologize in advance.

corz - 05.04.08 8:07 pm

I see! Right next to the download link! Gotcha!

Hmm. I hadn't really considered it. Truth is, I've avoided putting any other information next to the links themselves because things can quickly start to look ugly, particularly with embedded menus.

Personally, I like to keep that information to myself, another reason why I've not considered it. I don't buy into the whole "popular" thing, and wouldn't want it influencing people's choices. But that's just me.

You'll note the files have pop-up tips, with the file size in them. I guess it would be possible, assuming the webmaster has enabled public viewing of the stats, to pop something in there, though there are limits to just how many characters you can throw in there - some browsers are better than others when it comes to pop-up titles (amazingly, IE is the best for this). I could certainly add it to the to-do list, though.

Thanks for your persistence!


anne - 05.04.08 9:23 pm

smiley for :lol: That's true. Oh well, I guess I'll quit the download count for now. And just wait more of your updates. Specially regarding the insertion onto forum posts. smiley for :)

Thank you very much for your patience..

Ryan - 26.01.10 9:49 pm

Nice script... Directory traversal is still possible using the section request var and using .. as the value.

Only up to the main machine directory, no further. This is by design. ;o)

Mike - 20.06.10 9:51 pm

I just uploaded the new distro and I'm getting an error when accessing the "machine".

Does this have anything to do with permissions? I read the readme but didn't notice anything in your comments about setting them to anything different than what the server sets them to automatically.

Internal Server Error

Check your logs. Feel free to mail me the output. ;o)

Cor - 16.12.13 5:44 am

Comments are BACK! ;o)

Eric - 14.03.14 6:07 pm


I tried your distro machine: it works very well (with small insertions of Zend objects for translation). Thank you for this beautiful piece of code smiley for :D .


Graham - 12.04.14 9:30 am

Looks like an excellent way to handle my downloads except.........

How can I effectively allow people to only download the file once? (e.g. When selling ebooks)



There is no mechanism for this, currently. I will look into it. ;o)

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Enter the 5-digit code this text sounds like :

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I'm always messing around with the back-end.. See a bug? Wait a minute and try again. Still see a bug? Mail Me!