PHP webserver

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Language: PHP

2.1.6 2013-06-15 17:00 UTC


Symfttpd is a command line tool to run a web server in your PHP project, aimed at lazy developers and sysadmins.

This version of symfttpd is under development, this documentation can be outdated or contain some errors.

spawn will setup and start a web server (lighttpd or nginx) with a minimal configuration to serve one PHP project. The server will not be run as a separate user, which is ideal for developers; also, the server logs will be written in the symfttpd's "log" directory and will include PHP errors.

genconf will generate all the rules necessary to setup a vhost in lighttpd. It leverages the include_shell directive which means no endless copy/pasting and easy updates (only restarting lighttpd is necessary).



As PHAR archive

Download the .phar file.

As requirement of your project

Add Symfttpd as a requirement of your project with Composer:

    "require-dev": {
        "benjam1/symfttpd": "2.1.*@"
    "config": {
        "bin-dir": "bin/"

Then you can use Symfttpd running bin/symfttpd.


You can run these commands to install symfttpd globally:

$ sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/symfttpd
$ sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/symfttpd


Clone this repository and checkout the latest tag.

benjamin:~/dev benjamin $ git clone git://
benjamin:~/dev benjamin $ cd symfttpd
benjamin:~/dev/symfttpd benjamin $ git checkout v2.0.0-dev

Install the vendors with composer

benjamin:~/dev/symfttpd benjamin $ curl -s | php
benjamin:~/dev/symfttpd benjamin $ php composer.phar install

Then compile symfttpd in your project to create an executable .phar file

In order to compile you have to set the phar.readonly setting to Off in you php.ini file.

benjamin:~/dev/project benjamin $ php box.phar build
benjamin:~/dev/project benjamin $ php symfttpd.phar --help
 help [--xml] [command_name]

 command               The command to execute
 command_name          The command name (default: 'help')

 --xml                 To output help as XML
 --help (-h)           Display this help message.
 --quiet (-q)          Do not output any message.
 --verbose (-v)        Increase verbosity of messages.
 --version (-V)        Display this application version.
 --ansi                Force ANSI output.
 --no-ansi             Disable ANSI output.
 --no-interaction (-n) Do not ask any interactive question.

 The help command displays help for a given command:

   php symfttpd.phar help list

 You can also output the help as XML by using the --xml option:

   php symfttpd.phar help --xml list



First of all you need to configure symfttpd with a symfttpd.conf.php file.

benjamin:~/dev/project benjamin $ php symfttpd.phar init

The init command is available since the version 2.1 of Symfttpd.

Symfttpd looks for the configuration file:

  • in your home directory, this file must be named .symfttpd.conf.php
  • in the root directory of your project (or in config/ for a symfony 1.x project)

By default symfttpd read the configuration from its own symfttpd.conf.php file.

What I have to configure?

The minimal information symfttpd needs is a project type and a project version.

// symfttpd.conf.php of a Symfony 2 project
$options['project_type']    = "symfony";
$options['project_version'] = "2";

This will tell Symfttpd to run a Lighttpd (using fastcgi) server in your Symfony 2 project.

You can check the reference for more options to configure.


If you don't want to configure a full-blown webserver, edit your host file, edit the configuration, have a web server running even when you don't need it, or deal with permissions, then this tool is for you.

Quick start

After configuring symfttpd you only have to run the following:

benjamin:~/dev/project benjamin $ php symfttpd.phar spawn -t

It will display something like that:

Symfttpd - version v2.0.0-dev
lighttpd started on, port 4042.

Available applications:

Press Ctrl+C to stop serving.
error: 2012-05-26 20:19:25: (log.c.166) server started 


You can alter the default configuration of the server, by using the symfttpd.conf.php mechanism. Check the reference for more options to configure.

Available options

  • --port=<port> or -p<port>: Use a different port (default is 4042) (useful for running multiple projects at the same time)
  • --bind=<port> or -b<ip>: Listen on a specific IP (default is
  • --all or -A: Listen on all interfaces (overrides --bind)
  • --tail or -t: Display server logs in the console (like the UNIX tail command would do)


If you don't want to copy/paste your server configs, handle regular expressions when you add files, or fight rewriting issues, then this tool is for you.

Quick start

Typical Lighttpd config:

$HTTP["host"] == "" {
  include_shell "php /path/to/symfttpd.phar genconf -p /path/to/"

or if you want a different default application:

$HTTP["host"] == "" {
  include_shell "php /path/to/symfttpd.phar genconf -p /path/to/ -d mobile"

Available options

  • type The config file type (config, rules, all). (default: 'rules')
  • --path (-p) Path of the web directory (default: current directory)
  • --output (-o) Directly output the generated configuration.
  • --port The port to listen (default: 4042)
  • --bind The address to bind (default: '')


How do I pronounce it?!

lighttpd being pronounced lighty, I recommend symfy.

Is Windows supported?

No, and it probably never will be.

Can I use genconf in production?

Yes. I'd say you should, since the command line options of genconf are thought for that particular use. genconf does not run symfony or any other external files, nor writes anything anywhere, so it is very little risk.

Can I use spawn in production?


Can I start spawn in the background?

Yes, just add & after your command.

php /path/to/symfttpd.phar spawn &

To stop a running symfttpd (backgrounding or not), just run:

php path/to/symfttpd.phar spawn --kill