WP-CLI testing framework

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WP-CLI testing framework


Quick links: Using | Contributing | Support


To make use of the WP-CLI testing framework, you need to complete the following steps from within the package you want to add them to:

  1. Add the testing framework as a development requirement:

    composer require --dev wp-cli/wp-cli-tests
  2. Add the required test scripts to the composer.json file:

    "scripts": {
        "behat": "run-behat-tests",
        "behat-rerun": "rerun-behat-tests",
        "lint": "run-linter-tests",
        "phpcs": "run-phpcs-tests",
        "phpcbf": "run-phpcbf-cleanup",
        "phpunit": "run-php-unit-tests",
        "prepare-tests": "install-package-tests",
        "test": [

    You can of course remove the ones you don't need.

  3. Optionally add a modified process timeout to the composer.json file to make sure scripts can run until their work is completed:

    "config": {
        "process-timeout": 1800

    The timeout is expressed in seconds.

  4. Optionally add a behat.yml file to the package root with the following content:

            - WP_CLI\Tests\Context\FeatureContext
            - features

    This will make sure that the automated Behat system works across all platforms. This is needed on Windows.

  5. Optionally add a phpcs.xml.dist file to the package root to enable code style and best practice checks using PHP_CodeSniffer.

    Example of a minimal custom ruleset based on the defaults set in the WP-CLI testing framework:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <ruleset name="WP-CLI-PROJECT-NAME">
    <description>Custom ruleset for WP-CLI PROJECT NAME</description>
        <!-- What to scan. -->
        <!-- Show progress. -->
        <arg value="p"/>
        <!-- Strip the filepaths down to the relevant bit. -->
        <arg name="basepath" value="./"/>
        <!-- Check up to 8 files simultaneously. -->
        <arg name="parallel" value="8"/>
        <!-- For help understanding the `testVersion` configuration setting:
             https://github.com/PHPCompatibility/PHPCompatibility#sniffing-your-code-for-compatibility-with-specific-php-versions -->
        <config name="testVersion" value="5.4-"/>
        <!-- Rules: Include the base ruleset for WP-CLI projects. -->
        <rule ref="WP_CLI_CS"/>

    All other PHPCS configuration options are, of course, available.

  6. Update your composer dependencies and regenerate your autoloader and binary folders:

    composer update

You are now ready to use the testing framework from within your package.

Launching the tests

You can use the following commands to control the tests:

  • composer prepare-tests - Set up the database that is needed for running the functional tests. This is only needed once.
  • composer test - Run all test suites.
  • composer lint - Run only the linting test suite.
  • composer phpcs - Run only the code sniffer test suite.
  • composer phpcbf - Run only the code sniffer cleanup.
  • composer phpunit - Run only the unit test suite.
  • composer behat - Run only the functional test suite.

Controlling what to test

To send one or more arguments to one of the test tools, prepend the argument(s) with a double dash. As an example, here's how to run the functional tests for a specific feature file only:

composer behat -- features/cli-info.feature

Prepending with the double dash is needed because the arguments would otherwise be sent to Composer itself, not the tool that Composer executes.

Controlling the test environment

WordPress Version

You can run the tests against a specific version of WordPress by setting the WP_VERSION environment variable.

This variable understands any numeric version, as well as the special terms latest and trunk.

Note: This only applies to the Behat functional tests. All other tests never load WordPress.

Here's how to run your tests against the latest trunk version of WordPress:

WP_VERSION=trunk composer behat

WP-CLI Binary

You can run the tests against a specific WP-CLI binary, instead of using the one that has been built in your project's vendor/bin folder.

This can be useful to run your tests against a specific Phar version of WP_CLI.

To do this, you can set the WP_CLI_BIN_DIR environment variable to point to a folder that contains an executable wp binary. Note: the binary has to be named wp to be properly recognized.

As an example, here's how to run your tests against a specific Phar version you've downloaded.

# Prepare the binary you've downloaded into the ~/wp-cli folder first.
mv ~/wp-cli/wp-cli-1.2.0.phar ~/wp-cli/wp
chmod +x ~/wp-cli/wp

WP_CLI_BIN_DIR=~/wp-cli composer behat

Setting up the tests in Travis CI

Basic rules for setting up the test framework with Travis CI:

  • composer prepare-tests needs to be called once per environment.
  • linting and sniffing is a static analysis, so it shouldn't depend on any specific environment. You should do this only once, as a separate stage, instead of per environment.
  • composer behat || composer behat-rerun causes the Behat tests to run in their entirety first, and in case their were failed scenarios, a second run is done with only the failed scenarios. This usually gets around intermittent issues like timeouts or similar.

Here's a basic setup of how you can configure Travis CI to work with the test framework (extract):

  - composer install
  - composer prepare-tests

  - composer phpunit
  - composer behat || composer behat-rerun

    - stage: sniff
        - composer lint
        - composer phpcs
      env: BUILD=sniff
    - stage: test
      php: 7.2
      env: WP_VERSION=latest
    - stage: test
      php: 7.2
      env: WP_VERSION=3.7.11
    - stage: test
      php: 7.2
      env: WP_VERSION=trunk

WP-CLI version

You can point the tests to a specific version of WP-CLI through the WP_CLI_BIN_DIR constant:

WP_CLI_BIN_DIR=~/my-custom-wp-cli/bin composer behat

WordPress version

If you want to run the feature tests against a specific WordPress version, you can use the WP_VERSION constant:

WP_VERSION=4.2 composer behat

The WP_VERSION constant also understands the latest and trunk as valid version targets.

The database credentials

By default, the tests are run in a database named wp_cli_test with the user also named wp_cli_test with password password1. This should be set up via the composer prepare-tests command.

The following environment variables can be set to override the default database credentials.

  • WP_CLI_TEST_DBHOST is the host to use and can include a port, i.e "" (defaults to "localhost")
  • WP_CLI_TEST_DBROOTUSER is the user that has permission to administer databases and users (defaults to "root").
  • WP_CLI_TEST_DBROOTPASS is the password to use for the above user (defaults to an empty password).
  • WP_CLI_TEST_DBNAME is the database that the tests run under (defaults to "wp_cli_test").
  • WP_CLI_TEST_DBUSER is the user that the tests run under (defaults to "wp_cli_test").
  • WP_CLI_TEST_DBPASS is the password to use for the above user (defaults to "password1").
  • WP_CLI_TEST_DBTYPE is the database engine type to use, i.e. "sqlite" for running tests on SQLite instead of MySQL (defaults to "mysql").

Environment variables can be set for the whole session via the following syntax: export WP_CLI_TEST_DBNAME=custom_db.

They can also be set for a single execution by prepending them before the Behat command: WP_CLI_TEST_DBNAME=custom_db composer behat.


We appreciate you taking the initiative to contribute to this project.

Contributing isn’t limited to just code. We encourage you to contribute in the way that best fits your abilities, by writing tutorials, giving a demo at your local meetup, helping other users with their support questions, or revising our documentation.

For a more thorough introduction, check out WP-CLI's guide to contributing. This package follows those policy and guidelines.

Reporting a bug

Think you’ve found a bug? We’d love for you to help us get it fixed.

Before you create a new issue, you should search existing issues to see if there’s an existing resolution to it, or if it’s already been fixed in a newer version.

Once you’ve done a bit of searching and discovered there isn’t an open or fixed issue for your bug, please create a new issue. Include as much detail as you can, and clear steps to reproduce if possible. For more guidance, review our bug report documentation.

Creating a pull request

Want to contribute a new feature? Please first open a new issue to discuss whether the feature is a good fit for the project.

Once you've decided to commit the time to seeing your pull request through, please follow our guidelines for creating a pull request to make sure it's a pleasant experience. See "Setting up" for details specific to working on this package locally.


GitHub issues aren't for general support questions, but there are other venues you can try: https://wp-cli.org/#support