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Command line arguments for the PHP CLI

The PHP command line interface or CLI allows you to run PHP scripts from the command line. It also has a number of flags that can be passed to it which allow you to see which modules are available, do a syntax check on a file, view PHP information etc. This post gives a basic list of the command line arguments available for the PHP CLI and in later posts I will look at some of the options in more detail.

To show all the options that are available, do this:

php --help

This will return a list of all the options available that can be passed to the PHP CLI. The following output comes from a default PHP install on a CentOS 5.0 machine:

Usage: php [options] [-f] <file> [--] [args...]
       php [options] -r <code> [--] [args...]
       php [options] [-B <begin_code>] -R <code> [-E <end_code>] [--] [args...]
       php [options] [-B <begin_code>] -F <file> [-E <end_code>] [--] [args...]
       php [options] -- [args...]
       php [options] -a

  -a               Run interactively
  -c <path>|<file> Look for php.ini file in this directory
  -n               No php.ini file will be used
  -d foo[=bar]     Define INI entry foo with value 'bar'
  -e               Generate extended information for debugger/profiler
  -f <file>        Parse <file>.
  -h               This help
  -i               PHP information
  -l               Syntax check only (lint)
  -m               Show compiled in modules
  -r <code>        Run PHP <code> without using script tags <?..?>
  -B <begin_code>  Run PHP <begin_code> before processing input lines
  -R <code>        Run PHP <code> for every input line
  -F <file>        Parse and execute <file> for every input line
  -E <end_code>    Run PHP <end_code> after processing all input lines
  -H               Hide any passed arguments from external tools.
  -s               Display colour syntax highlighted source.
  -v               Version number
  -w               Display source with stripped comments and whitespace.
  -z <file>        Load Zend extension <file>.

  args...          Arguments passed to script. Use -- args when first argument
                   starts with - or script is read from stdin

  --rf <name>      Show information about function <name>.
  --rc <name>      Show information about class <name>.
  --re <name>      Show information about extension <name>.

To run a PHP script you would simply call “php” followed by the script name, e.g.:

php myscript.php

To get the PHP version you would do this:

php -v

which will output something along the lines of this:

PHP 5.1.6 (cli) (built: Sep 20 2007 10:16:10)
Copyright (c) 1997-2006 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.1.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2006 Zend Technologies

That’s all for this post. In future posts I will examine some of the other flags in more detail.