What Is PHP Built-in Web Server?


Scott Campbell

What Is PHP Built-in Web Server?

PHP, which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, is a widely used scripting language for web development. One of the lesser-known features of PHP is its built-in web server. This powerful tool allows developers to run and test their PHP applications without the need for a traditional web server like Apache or Nginx.

Why use the PHP built-in web server?

The PHP built-in web server is a lightweight solution that simplifies the development process. It provides a quick and convenient way to test PHP scripts and applications locally before deploying them to a production environment. Whether you’re working on a small project or just want to experiment with some code, the built-in web server can be incredibly useful.

Getting started with the PHP built-in web server

To start using the PHP built-in web server, you need to have PHP installed on your machine. Most modern operating systems come with PHP pre-installed, but if it’s not already available, you can easily download and install it from the official PHP website.

Once you have PHP set up, open your command prompt or terminal and navigate to the directory where your PHP files are located using the “cd” command. Then, simply run the following command:

php -S localhost:8000

This command starts the built-in web server on your local machine, using port 8000 by default. You can choose any available port number as per your preference.

Once the server is running, open your favorite browser and enter “localhost:8000” (or whichever port number you chose) in the address bar. You should now see your PHP application running in the browser.

Additional options and features

The built-in web server offers several additional options that can enhance your development experience. For example, you can specify a different document root directory using the “-t” flag followed by the desired directory path.

php -S localhost:8000 -t public/

In this example, the web server will serve files from the “public” directory instead of the default root directory.

You can also enable PHP error reporting by using the “-d” flag followed by “display_errors=1”.

php -S localhost:8000 -d display_errors=1

This will display any errors or warnings directly in your browser, making it easier to debug your code.


The PHP built-in web server is a valuable tool for PHP developers. It provides a lightweight and convenient way to test and debug PHP applications locally without relying on external web servers.

With its additional options and features, it offers flexibility and ease of use. Whether you’re a beginner learning PHP or an experienced developer working on a new project, give the built-in web server a try and see how it can improve your development workflow.

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