How to Use PHP's built-in Web Server

How to Use PHP's built-in Web Server

Since PHP 5.4 the CLI SAPI comes with a built-in web server. It can be used to run your PHP applications locally during development, for testing or for application demonstrations. This way, you don't have to bother configuring a full-featured web server such as Apache or Nginx.

Caution

The built-in web server is meant to be run in a controlled environment. It is not designed to be used on public networks.

Starting the Web Server

Running a Symfony application using PHP's built-in web server is as easy as executing the server:start command:

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$ php bin/console server:start

This starts the web server at localhost:8000 in the background that serves your Symfony application.

By default, the web server listens on port 8000 on the loopback device. You can change the socket passing an IP address and a port as a command-line argument:

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$ php bin/console server:start 192.168.0.1:8080

Note

You can use the --force option to force the web server start if the process wasn't correctly stopped (without using the server:stop command).

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$ php bin/console server:start --force

Note

You can use the server:status command to check if a web server is listening on a certain socket:

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$ php bin/console server:status

$ php bin/console server:status 192.168.0.1:8080

The first command shows if your Symfony application will be server through localhost:8000, the second one does the same for 192.168.0.1:8080.

Tip

Some systems do not support the server:start command, in these cases you can execute the server:run command. This command behaves slightly different. Instead of starting the server in the background, it will block the current terminal until you terminate it (this is usually done by pressing Ctrl and C).

If you want to use the built-in web server from inside a virtual machine and then load the site from a browser on your host machine, you'll need to listen on the 0.0.0.0:8000 address (i.e. on all IP addresses that are assigned to the virtual machine):

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$ php bin/console server:start 0.0.0.0:8000

Caution

You should NEVER listen to all interfaces on a computer that is directly accessible from the Internet. The built-in web server is not designed to be used on public networks.

Command Options

The built-in web server expects a "router" script (read about the "router" script on php.net) as an argument. Symfony already passes such a router script when the command is executed in the prod or in the dev environment. Use the --router option in any other environment or to use another router script:

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$ php bin/console server:start --env=test --router=app/config/router_test.php

If your application's document root differs from the standard directory layout, you have to pass the correct location using the --docroot option:

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$ php bin/console server:start --docroot=public_html

Stopping the Server

When you are finished, you can simply stop the web server using the server:stop command:

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$ php bin/console server:stop

Like with the start command, if you omit the socket information, Symfony will stop the web server bound to localhost:8000. Just pass the socket information when the web server listens to another IP address or to another port:

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$ php bin/console server:stop 192.168.0.1:8080

This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.