PHP Behavioural differences on the command line


When running from the CLI, PHP exhibits some different behaviours than when run from a web server. These differences should be kept in mind, especially in the case where the same script might be run from both environments.

  • No directory change When running a script from a web server, the current working directory is always that of the script itself. The code require("./"); assumes the file is in the same directory as the script. On the command line, the current working directory is the directory you're in when you call the script. Scripts that are going to be called from the command line should always use absolute paths. (Note the magic constants __DIR__ and __FILE__ continue to work as expected, and return the location of the script.)
  • No output buffering The php.ini directives output_buffering and implicit_flush default to false and true, respectively. Buffering is still available, but must be explicitly enabled, otherwise output will always be displayed in real time.
  • No time limit The php.ini directive max_execution_time is set to zero, so scripts will not time out by default.
  • No HTML errors In the event you have enabled the php.ini directive html_errors, it will be ignored on the command line.
  • Different php.ini can be loaded. When you are using php from cli it can use different php.ini than web server do. You can know what file is using by running php --ini.