Symfony Local Web Server
Symfony Local Web Server¶
You can run Symfony applications with any web server (Apache, nginx, the internal PHP web server, etc.). However, Symfony provides its own web server to make you more productive while developing your applications.
Although this server is not intended for production use, it supports HTTP/2, TLS/SSL, automatic generation of security certificates, local domains, and many other features that sooner or later you’ll need when developing web projects. Moreover, the server is not tied to Symfony and you can also use it with any PHP application and even with HTML/SPA (single page applications).
The Symfony server is part of the
symfony binary created when you
install Symfony and has support for Linux, macOS and Windows.
The Symfony binary is developed internally at Symfony. If you want to report a bug or suggest a new feature, please create an issue on symfony/cli.
The Symfony server is started once per project, so you may end up with several instances (each of them listening to a different port). This is the common workflow to serve a Symfony project:
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$ cd my-project/ $ symfony server:start [OK] Web server listening on http://127.0.0.1:.... ... # Now, browse the given URL, or run this command: $ symfony open:local
Running the server this way makes it display the log messages in the console, so you won’t be able to run other commands at the same time. If you prefer, you can run the Symfony server in the background:
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$ cd my-project/ # start the server in the background $ symfony server:start -d # continue working and running other commands... # show the latest log messages $ symfony server:log
When the server starts it will check for common patterns like
public/index.php. If a file like this is found the
server will automatically start with PHP-FPM enabled. Otherwise the server will
start without PHP-FPM and will show a
Page not found page when trying to
.php file in the browser.
index.html and a front controller like e.g.
both present the server will still start with PHP-FPM enabled but the
index.html will take precedence over the front controller. This means
index.html file is present in
web, it will be
displayed instead of the
index.php which would show e.g. the Symfony
Browsing the secure version of your applications locally is important to detect problems with mixed content early, and to run libraries that only run in HTTPS. Traditionally this has been painful and complicated to set up, but the Symfony server automates everything. First, run this command:
$ symfony server:ca:install
This command creates a local certificate authority, registers it in your system
trust store, registers it in Firefox (this is required only for that browser)
and creates a default certificate for
127.0.0.1. In other
words, it does everything for you.
Before browsing your local application with HTTPS instead of HTTP, restart its server stopping and starting it again.
Different PHP Settings Per Project¶
Selecting a Different PHP Version¶
If you have multiple PHP versions installed on your computer, you can tell
Symfony which one to use creating a file called
.php-version at the project
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$ cd my-project/ # use a specific PHP version $ echo 7.2 > .php-version # use any PHP 7.x version available $ echo 7 > .php-version
The Symfony server traverses the directory structure up to the root
directory, so you can create a
.php-version file in some parent
directory to set the same PHP version for a group of projects under that
Run the command below if you don’t remember all the PHP versions installed on your computer:
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$ symfony local:php:list # You'll see all supported SAPIs (CGI, FastCGI, etc.) for each version. # FastCGI (php-fpm) is used when possible; then CGI (which acts as a FastCGI # server as well), and finally, the server falls back to plain CGI.
Overriding PHP Config Options Per Project¶
You can change the value of any PHP runtime config option per project by creating a
php.ini at the project root directory. Add only the options you want
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$ cd my-project/ # this project only overrides the default PHP timezone $ cat php.ini [Date] date.timezone = Asia/Tokyo
Running Commands with Different PHP Versions¶
When running different PHP versions, it is useful to use the main
command as a wrapper for the
php command. This allows you to always select
the most appropriate PHP version according to the project which is running the
commands. It also loads the env vars automatically, which is important when
running non-Symfony commands:
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# runs the command with the default PHP version $ php -r "..." # runs the command with the PHP version selected by the project # (or the default PHP version if the project didn't select one) $ symfony php -r "..."
Local Domain Names¶
By default, projects are accessible at some random port of the
local IP. However, sometimes it is preferable to associate a domain name to them:
- It’s more convenient when you work continuously on the same project because port numbers can change but domains don’t;
- The behavior of some applications depend on their domains/subdomains;
- To have stable endpoints, such as the local redirection URL for OAuth2.
Setting up the Local Proxy¶
Local domains are possible thanks to a local proxy provided by the Symfony server. If this is the first time you run the proxy, you must configure it as follows:
- Open the proxy settings of your operating system:
- Set the following URL as the value of the Automatic Proxy Configuration:
Now run this command to start the proxy:
$ symfony proxy:start
Some browsers (e.g. Chrome) require to re-apply proxy settings (clicking on
Re-apply settings button on the
or a full restart after starting the proxy. Otherwise, you’ll see a
“This webpage is not available” error (
Defining the Local Domain¶
By default, Symfony proposes
.wip (for Work in Progress) for the local
domains. You can define a local domain for your project as follows:
$ cd my-project/ $ symfony proxy:domain:attach my-domain
If you have installed the local proxy as explained in the previous section, you
can now browse
https://my-domain.wip to access your local project with the
new custom domain.
Browse the http://127.0.0.1:7080 URL to get the full list of local project directories, their custom domains, and port numbers.
When running console commands, add the
https_proxy env var to make custom
$ https_proxy=http://127.0.0.1:7080 curl https://my-domain.wip
Although env var names are always defined in uppercase, the
env var is treated differently than other env vars and its name must be
spelled in lowercase.
If you prefer to use a different TLD, edit the
~ means the path to your user directory) and change the
value of the
tld option from
wip to any other TLD.
Long-running commands, such as the ones that compile front-end web assets, block
the terminal and you can’t run other commands at the same time. The Symfony
server provides a
run command to wrap them as follows:
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# compile Webpack assets using Symfony Encore ... but do that in the # background to not block the terminal $ symfony run -d yarn encore dev --watch # continue working and running other commands... # from time to time, check the command logs if you want $ symfony server:log # and you can also check if the command is still running $ symfony server:status Web server listening on ... Command "yarn ..." running with PID ... # stop the web server (and all the associated commands) when you are finished $ symfony server:stop
The local Symfony server provides full Docker integration for projects that use it.
When the web server detects that Docker Compose is running for the project, it
automatically exposes environment variables according to the exposed port and
the name of the
Consider the following configuration:
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# docker-compose.yaml services: database: ports: 
The web server detects that a service exposing port
3306 is running for the
project. It understands that this is a MySQL service and creates environment
variables accordingly with the service name (
database) as a prefix:
docker-compose.yaml names do not match Symfony’s conventions, add a
label to override the environment variables prefix:
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# docker-compose.yaml services: db: ports:  labels: com.symfony.server.service-prefix: 'DATABASE'
In this example, the service is named
db, so environment variables would be
DB_, but as the
com.symfony.server.service-prefix is set
DATABASE, the web server creates environment variables starting with
DATABASE_ instead as expected by the default Symfony configuration.
Here is the list of supported services with their ports and default Symfony prefixes:
|Service||Port||Symfony default prefix|
|MailCatcher||1025/1080 or 25/80||
You can open web management interfaces for the services that expose them:
$ symfony open:local:webmail $ symfony open:local:rabbitmq
Or click on the links in the “Server” section of the web debug toolbar.
To debug and list all exported environment variables, run
For some services, the web server also exposes environment variables
understood by CLI tools related to the service. For instance, running
symfony run psql will connect you automatically to the PostgreSQL server
running in a container without having to specify the username, password, or
When Docker services are running, browse a page of your Symfony application and check the “Symfony Server” section in the web debug toolbar; you’ll see that “Docker Compose” is “Up”.
The local Symfony server provides full, but optional, integration with SymfonyCloud, a service optimized to run your Symfony applications on the cloud. It provides features such as creating environments, backups/snapshots, and even access to a copy of the production data from your local machine to help debug any issues.
This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.