Welcome to a beginner’s tutorial on how to run PHP scripts. So you may have some interest in learning PHP, but realized that one does not simply double click a PHP file to run it… Neither does directly opening it in a web browser work. Just how do we run PHP files then?
Long story short, there are 2 ways to run PHP scripts:
- Server API (SAPI) – Run PHP through a webserver. The more “commonly known” way amongst beginners.
- Install XAMPP on your computer.
- Create PHP scripts in the XAMPP/htdocs folder.
- Open the XAMPP control panel and start Apache.
- Open the web browser and access http://localhost/script.php
- Command Line (CLI) – Run PHP “independently” without a web server and browser.
- Download and install PHP.
- Simply launch the script in the command line (or terminal) – PHP PATH/TO/SCRIPT.PHP
That should cover the basics, but if you need more details – Read on!
REAL QUICK GUIDE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|SAPI PHP||CLI PHP||Useful Bits & Links|
SAPI PHP (WEBSERVER)
All right, let us now get started with the more commonly known method of “running PHP” – Setting up a webserver.
STEP 1) INSTALL XAMPP
Head over to the XAMPP homepage, simply download and run the installer. This package consists of the full webserver stack – Apache, MySQL, PHP, and PERL. It is the fastest and easiest way to set up a webserver.
STEP 2) START APACHE & MYSQL
Next, fire up the XAMPP Control Panel, and this is where you can switch the components on or off. Usually, we will only need the Apache web server and MySQL database server – So turn those on.
STEP 3) CREATE YOUR PHP SCRIPT
<?php echo "Hello World!";
If you have properly installed XAMPP, then the root folder for the HTTP documents will be located at
XAMPP/htdocs. Simply create your own “hello world” PHP script there.
STEP 4) “RUN PHP” FROM THE BROWSER
Finally, open your browser and navigate to
http://localhost/hello.php – Congratulations! You have successfully installed a web server stack and run your first PHP script.
EXTRA) CHANGING THE HTTP ROOT FOLDER
#DocumentRoot "D:/xampp/htdocs" #<Directory "D:/xampp/htdocs"> DocumentRoot "D:/http" <Directory "D:/http">
Don’t like the default root folder? You can change it by editing a few lines of configuration. Go to the XAMPP Control Panel, hit the config button, and choose “Apache httpd.conf”. Look for the document root section, and change it to wherever you like.
CLI PHP (COMMAND LINE)
Next, this is for you guys who want to “run PHP only”. That is, running PHP independently without a web server nor browser.
STEP 1) INDEPENDENT PHP INSTALLATION
Actually, the easy and lazy way is still installing XAMPP. Just don’t start the Apache web server, and only use PHP/MySQL. But if you want to install PHP from scratch:
- Windows users –
- Download PHP from the official PHP website.
- There are a few different versions to choose from, the thread-safe or non-thread-safe version does not really matter here when the webserver is not in the equation.
- Just get the appropriate X64 (64-bit) version, or X86 if you are still on 32-bits Windows.
- Lastly, remember that you will also need to install the Visual C++ Redistributable packages.
- Linux users –
- Just run
sudo apt-get install php
sudo yum install php… Whichever your package manager is.
- Just run
- Mac users –
- Good news for the Mac users, PHP is already pre-installed.
- If you need to upgrade to the latest version, run in the terminal:
curl -s https://php-osx.liip.ch/install.sh | bash -s X.X.
X.Xwith the latest version. For example, 7.2 or 7.3. That’s it.
STEP 2) PHP.INI CONFIGURATIONS (WINDOWS ONLY)
For the unfortunate Windows users – The PHP download comes in a zip file. Just unzip to wherever you want, open up the
php.ini file, change the extension directory accordingly.
extension_dir = "D:\php\ext"
Next, change the email settings if you plan on using it.
[mail function] ; For Win32 only. SMTP = mail.site.com smtp_port = 25 ; For Win32 only. sendmail_from = firstname.lastname@example.org
STEP 3) SET SYSTEM PATH (WINDOWS ONLY)
Another unfortunate step for Windows users. Start > Search and open “System Environment Variables” > This will open up “System Properties” > Click on “Environment Variables” > Under “System variables” section > Edit Path > Add
DRIVE:\PHP (where you have unzipped PHP into) > OK.
STEP 4) CREATE A PHP SCRIPT AND RUN
Finally, just create a test script and run it in the command line (or terminal).
<?php echo "Hello World";
E:\>php test.php Hello World!
EXTRA) PASSING IN ARGUMENTS
In the “normal web environment”, we can send
GET variables to the script. In the command line environment, we can also pass arguments in and access them via
E:\>php test.php foo bar Array (  => foo.php  => foo  => bar )
Yep – Use this wisely for your own command-line application.
USEFUL BITS & LINKS
That’s all for the code, and here is the download link as promised – Plus a small extra that may be useful to you.
INFOGRAPHIC CHEAT SHEET
LINKS & REFERENCES
Here are a few links to references and stuff, if you want to learn more.
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope that it has helped you with your project, and if you want to share anything with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy coding!