Can I Run PHP Without a Web Server?


Scott Campbell

Can I Run PHP Without a Web Server?

PHP is a popular server-side scripting language used for building dynamic websites and web applications. Normally, PHP code is executed on the server, and the output is sent to the client’s browser.

This requires a web server to process and serve PHP files. However, there are certain scenarios where you might want to run PHP without a web server. Let’s explore different options available for running PHP code directly on your computer.

1. Command Line Interface (CLI)

If you have PHP installed on your machine, you can use the Command Line Interface (CLI) to run PHP scripts directly without the need for a web server. To execute a PHP file in CLI mode, open your terminal or command prompt, navigate to the directory containing the PHP file, and type:

php filename.php

This will execute the PHP script and display the output in your terminal window. Using CLI allows you to run PHP scripts for various purposes like testing code snippets or running scheduled tasks.

2. Built-in Web Server

Starting from version 5.4, PHP provides a built-in web server that can be used for development purposes without installing any additional software like Apache or Nginx. You can start this web server from the command line by navigating to your project directory and running:

php -S localhost:8000

This command starts a development server listening on port 8000 of your local machine. You can then access your PHP files through http://localhost:8000 in your browser.


  • The built-in web server is not intended for production use and has limited functionality.
  • It is recommended to use a dedicated web server in a real production environment.

3. Localhost Development Environments

If you prefer a more comprehensive development environment, you can use software packages like XAMPP, WAMP, or MAMP. These packages provide an all-in-one solution that includes PHP, Apache/Nginx web server, and MySQL database.

They are easy to install and configure, making it simple to run PHP code on your local machine. Once installed, you can access your PHP files through a designated localhost URL.

Using localhost development environments allows you to replicate a production-like environment on your computer and test your PHP code with ease.


In summary, while PHP is primarily designed to run on web servers, there are several ways you can run PHP without the need for a traditional web server. Whether you choose the CLI for quick testing or opt for a complete local development environment, these options provide flexibility and convenience in developing and testing PHP code on your own machine.

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