The require_once() statement includes and evaluates the specified file during the execution of the script. This is a behavior similar to the require() statement, with the only difference being that if the code from a file has already been included, it will not be included again. See the documentation for require() for more information on how this statement works.
require_once() should be used in cases where the same file might be included and evaluated more than once during a particular execution of a script, and you want to be sure that it is included exactly once to avoid problems with function redefinitions, variable value reassignments, etc.
Замечание: require_once() was added in PHP 4.0.1pl2
Пример 12-8. require_once() is case sensitive
require_once("a.php"); // this will include a.php require_once("A.php"); // this will include a.php again on Windows!
В настоящее время версия PHP для Windows не поддерживает возможность использования удаленных файлов этой функцией даже в том случае, если включена опция allow_url_fopen.