Setup XDebug in PhpStorm

PhpStorm is one of the good IDE for PHP application development available in current era. PHP Xdebug is a very strong tool for debugging, making the life easier for PHP developers to find out the logical mistakes.

Integration of Xdebug into PhpStorm will ease the trouble of debugging for PHP developers. You can easily setup Xdebug in PhpStorm by following these steps.



  • Setup Xdebug (if you haven’t done already). Find the steps here. You should be able to see Xdebug while checking the php version.

    $ php --version
    PHP (cli) ( NTS )
    Copyright (c) 1997-2016 The PHP Group
    Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2016 Zend Technologies
        with Zend OPcache v7.0.6-dev, Copyright (c) 1999-2016, by Zend Technologies
        with Xdebug v2.4.0, Copyright (c) 2002-2016, by Derick Rethans
  • Now, configure xdebug for debugging. You need to change the xdebug.ini file. You can find the location of file using this command using terminal: php --ini | grep xdebug.

Mine returned like this:

$ php --ini | grep xdebug
  • Just copy the path of the file and open in your favourite text editor (Sublime Text for me). Don’t forget to use sudo to edit the file otherwise, you won’t be able to save the changes you make.

    # for sublime text users
    $ sudo subl /etc/php/7.0/cli/conf.d/20-xdebug.ini
    # for gedit users
    $ sudo gedit /etc/php/7.0/cli/conf.d/20-xdebug.ini
    # for vim users
    $ sudo vim /etc/php/7.0/cli/conf.d/20-xdebug.ini
    # for atom users
    $ sudo atom /etc/php/7.0/cli/conf.d/20-xdebug.ini
  • Add these lines of code at the end of file.

    xdebug.remote_port="9000"   // Port for xdebug. Default is 9000.
  • Time to change things in PhpStorm. Navigate to File > Settings > Language & Frameworks > PHP. You will see the following screen.

    PhpStorm PHP

    Click on the ... in Interpreters option to see more. You will get this:

    PhpStorm PHP Debugger

    If you are not able to see Debugger: Xdebug 2.4.0, try to refresh by clicking the refresh button on the right of PHP exectable. Again, if not seen, check the status of Xdebug and try again.

    This shows that that Xdebug is ready in PhpStorm. Save before you exit!

  • Now, you need to set up a server. Navigate to File > Settings > Language & Framework > PHP > Servers.

    PhpStorm PHP Servers

    Let’s add a server. Click on + icon to add. You will get the same window changed to this:

    PhpStorm PHP Servers - Add new

    By default, it tries to create a unnamed server. Let’s change this to TEST_SERVER and fill the other fields as well as shown below.

    PhpStorm PHP Servers - Test Server

    Choose Xdebug as the Debugger option on the right. You can choose different port (default is 80).

    Save before you close the window!

  • Now a server is ready, configure debug options. Navigate to Run > Edit Configurations.

    PhpStorm PHP Servers - Configure Debug Options

    Add new option by clicking on + icon on top left. Choose PHP Web Application from number of options.

    PhpStorm PHP Servers - New Configuration

    You will get a unnamed configuration as shown below.

    PhpStorm PHP Servers - PHP Web Application

    Set up a configuration for TEST_SERVER created earlier. I have named it to TEST_CHROME.

    PhpStorm PHP Servers - New Configuration

    Choose the created server and appropriate browser available from the options. Also, you can see the url that will open in the browser.

    Click on OK to save this.

  • Now, open the project in PhpStorm.

  • Set a breakpoint where you want to check your logic. To set a breakpoint, just click on the left side of the line of code. Click on the position of red round mark. Click on th same position to remove the breakpoint.

    PhpStorm PHP Servers - PhpStorm Breakpoint

  • Now open the link in your browser in debugging mode by navigating Run > Debug 'TEST_CHROME'. The browser may ask you to install a JetBrains Extension (in Chrome) in your browser.

  • You will see a webpage opening in the browser you set in configuration. Navigate to the point where you want to check your logic. When you reach to the breakpoint, the browser will keep itself in the loading position. In the mean time, you will see PhpStorm being highlighted in taskbar or focused on top with the breakpoint highlighted with different color as shown below:

    PhpStorm PHP Servers - PhpStorm Highlighted Breakpoint

    You can see the debugging window right at the bottom part of PhpStorm window. You can find Step Over, Step Into, Step Out, Watch etc. controls in the Debugging Window.

See the shortcuts or set up your own shortcuts, they will help you a lot.

Hope you will feel ease to find any logical mistakes in your PHP code by debugging using Xdebug in PhpStorm.