A lightweight router for PHP projects

v1.2 2016-10-14 20:36 UTC

This package is not auto-updated.

Last update: 2021-05-15 01:01:30 UTC


PHP Router is a lightweight library to help with managing HTTP requests, responses and routing in order to build robust applications quickly. This library uses patterns most commonly found in popular Node.js libraries like Express and Hapi.

In order to glean the most benefit from implementing this pattern of routing, you may wish to make some adjustments to your Apache or Nginx configuration.


Install with Composer:

$ composer require guahanweb/php-router


Once you have installed and configured your project to use Composer's autoload, you can begin routing.

// Include the namespace
use GuahanWeb\Http;

// Get a router instance
$router = Http\Router::instance();

// Register a route
$router->get('/', function ($req, $res) {
    $res->send('Hello, world!');

// Tell the router to start


Routing is supported in the same basic pattern as Express.js. Provided an HTTP verb, route pattern and handler, the handler will be executed whenever the pattern and verb combination match the registered route.

Registering a route

A route may be registered one of two ways. The first is by explicit verb methods:

$router->get($route, $handler);
$router->post($route, $handler);
$router->put($route, $handler);
$router->delete($route, $handler);

A second option is to register one or more verbs (or all with a *) in a single registration call:

// multiple verbs
$router->route(['POST', 'PUT'], $route, $handler);

// wildcard for all supported verbs
$router->route('*', $route, $handler);

Route patterns and parameters

If you are wishing to capture parameters from your route URI, you may use brackets to name your parameters. These parameters will be applied as properties on the request object:

// capture a username
$router->get('/profile/{username}', function ($req, $res) {

You may also choose to greedily match blocks of the path for manual parsing. For instance, if we wanted to distinguish between a json extension to a URI agnostic of the inner match, we can do something like this:

// match a path with json extension
// URI: /api/v1/my_method/json
$router->get('/api/{path*}/json', function ($req, $res) {
    $res->send($req->path); // v1/my_method

This type of matching may be useful for doing a passthru to request static files not managed by Apache or Nginx configs:

// route all image requests to a handler
$router->get('/img/{image*}', function ($req, $res) {

Request and response objects

Each route handler will be passed two parameters: a request and a response object. These objects are able to be used to get detailed information and calculate the appropriate response. In most cases, a route handler should end with a call to $res->send().

Request Object

When a router is initialized, a new Http\Request object is created to be passed into the handler. This object contains a lot of pre-parsed attributes to help manage your response.

HTTP request type

The HTTP method (or verb) will be assigned to the request object and can be accessed by property:

echo $req->method;

Valid supported types are GET, POST, PUT and DELETE.

HTTP request headers

All request headers are accessible on the request object as well. Rather than using the native PHP getallheaders() method, we are using a custom polyfill to allow retrieval of the headers in both Apache and Nginx environments.

Some request headers will be used by the router to set default values on the response object. To access the headers, you may reference the headers property of the request object:

$router->post('/api/user', function ($req, $res) {
    if ($req->headers['Content-Type'] == 'application/json') {
        // request has JSON payload

Query string

The request object will pre-parse the query string and assign it to the query property. If you are doing logic based on expected query parameters, use this property.

$router->post('/calendar', function ($req, $res) {
    if (!isset($req->query['month'])) {
        $res->send('Please select a month!');
    } else {

Request URI

The fully matched URI is assigned to the uri property of the request object.

$router->get('/profile/{username}', function ($req, $res) {

In this example, if you then navigate to, you would get a response of /profile/guahanweb.

Request body (data payload)

Parsing the request body is somethig we have tried to optimize a little. Rather than always parsing the payload, we will statically parse it only when it has been requested the first time. In other words, the body will not be parsed until the first time the body attribute is referenced. If you reference the body property again, the payload will not be parsed a second time.

Additionally, there are a few assumptions that are made about the body based on the combination of HTTP verb and Content-Type header.


According to the HTTP/1.1 spec, GET and DELETE request bodies, if present, should not have any meaning. Therefore, the request object will short circuit any body parsing with a null value on these verbs.


The body for a PUT request will be read from STDIN. If the Content-Type of the request is application/json, the body will also be parsed for JSON content, and the resulting object will be returned.


The POST verb acts just like PUT with one additional caveat. In addition to a JSON payload, the POST verb can also take a Content-Type beginning with mulipart/form-data. In this case, since PHP has already processed the payload into the $_POST variable, the body will simply return that variable.

In both PUT and POST cases, if neither JSON nor form content are specified, the raw string of the body will be returned.

Response Object

The response object allows for granular control over the HTTP response sent back to the browser.


setHeader($k, $v)

Allows you to set or override default headers before the response is sent. The default content type is dependent upon the data being sent. If a string is passed, the content type defaults to text/html, but if an array or object is passed, the content will be JSON encoded and sent with application/json type instead.


Shortcut to set multiple headers at once. This method accepts an array of headers where the key is the header name and the value is the header content.

send($content, [$code])

This method will send the final built response back to the user. The optional $code parameter will allow you to specify status codes other than the default 200 Success response.

$router->route('*', '/admin', function ($req, $res) {
    $res->send('What do you think you are doing?', 500);

Here is an example of an endpoint that lets you examine properties of all requests from all verbs.

// examine request from any verbs
$router->route('*', '/info', function ($req, $res) {
        'method' => $req->method,
        'uri' => $req->uri,
        'query' => $req->query,
        'headers' => $req->headers,
        'body' => $req->body

Server Configuration

In order to make the most use out of manual routing, it is recommended that you configure your server to funnel all requests you are wanting to handle into a single PHP file.

Nginx example

If you are planning to use the PUT and DELETE verbs with your routing, you will need to be sure your Nginx has been built --with-webdav installed. Then, in your configuration, you will need to enable the additional methods:

dav_methods PUT DELETE;

I also recommend providing a base location from which Nginx can serve all your static content so that you only have to process PHP for protected content or things requiring additional logic.

location ~* ^/(css|js|img|font)/ {
    root /var/www/<my-project>/assets;

One other thing I like to do is only direct traffic that doesn't explicitly match another file on disk. So, a full configuration may look like this:

server {
    charset UTF-8;
    listen 80;
    server_name <project-domain>;
    access_log /var/www/logs/<project-domain>/access.log;

    location ~* ^/(css|js|img|font)/ {
        root /var/www/<project-domain>/assets;

    location / {
        root /var/www/<project-domain>;
        index index.php index.html index.htm;
        include /usr/local/etc/nginx/conf.d/php-fpm;

        dav_methods PUT DELETE;

        if (!-e $request_filename) {
            rewrite ^(.+)$ /index.php last;

        error_page 404 /index.php;


There are many different ways to solve this challenge, and I have simply looked into the model that best fits my personal preference. If you have ideas that may improve this project or simply want to let me know that it's helped you, please feel free to contact me.