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www.jetbrains.com/help/phpstorm/configuring-remote-interpreters.html
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Using a remote PHP interpreter instead of a local one lets us run our application and PHP-based tools on a production-like environment, be it the real production server or a virtualized one that uses a tool like Vagrant. Speaking of Vagrant, with remote PHP interpreters we can install only PhpStorm on our development machine, and run, debug and unit test our application on the Vagrant machine. In this tutorial, we'll see how we can work with remote PHP interpreters in PhpStorm.

Table of Contents

1. Registering a new PHP interpreter

A remote interpreter can be configured in a similar way as a local one. We can specify the PHP interpreter we want to use in Project File | Settings (or PhpStorm | Preferences for Mac) | Languages & Frameworks | PHP. This can be a local PHP installation or a remote PHP executable. Clicking ... next to the selected interpreter will open a list of registered PHP interpreters. Click the green + to add a new Remote....

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Once a remote PHP interpreter is registered and configured, we can set up our project to use it during development. Simply select it in the dropdown list in Project Settings | in File | Settings (or PhpStorm | Preferences for Mac) | Languages & Frameworks | PHP.

Once configured, all our Run/Debug configurations will make use of the configured PHP interpreter. Since we just configured a remote PHP interpreter as the one that should be used for our project, the following run configuration will always run on the remote server or Vagrant machine. All paths in Run/Debug Configuration should be local, they'll be automatically mapped to remote server local paths by the IDE.

3. Using the remote PHP interpreter

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Remote debugging of PHP CLI scripts is possible when the remote PHP interpreter and SFTP deployment server with proper mappings are configured. Mappings can be also fetched from valid .Vagrantfile.

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1. Make sure that remote PHP interpreter is configured and selected for current project in Settings/Preferences in File | Settings (or PhpStorm | Preferences for Mac) | Languages & Frameworks | PHP, and Xdebug extension is installed (read more on Xdebug installation).

2. Configure SFTP deployment server that matches Remote Interpreter settings in Settings/Preferences settings in File | Settings (or PhpStorm | Preferences for Mac) | Build, Execution, Deployment | Deployment with proper mappings (if you don't have it configured yet).

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Please note that remote debugging with remote PHP interpreters is currently available for Xdebug only (not for Zend Debugger).

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h3. Composer and Remote PHP Interpreters

{color:#333333}PHP interpreter is a project setting in PhpStorm: it will be used for all actions that require the PHP executable, for example for running the various{color} [Composer|http://getcomposer.org] {color:#333333}commands. When a remote PHP interpreter is configured, the{color} [PhpStorm:Composer Support in PhpStorm] {color:#333333}may break because the remote PHP interpreter will potentially not have access to the project path on our development machine.{color}

Through *{_}Project Settings \| PHP \| Composer{_}*, we can specify the PHP interpreter to use for running Composer commands.

!composer-remote-interpreter.png!

Once configured, PhpStorm will use the remote PHP interpreter for commands that can be run remote, for example running PHPUnit tests, and a local interpreter for Composer.

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PHPUnit and Remote PHP Interpreters

We can also run PHPUnit tests using remote PHP interpreters. To do so, configure a remote PHP interpreter first. Next, click the green + button in Project Settings | PHP | PHPUnit in File | Settings (or PhpStorm | Preferences for Mac) | Languages & Frameworks | PHP | Test Frameworks and add PHPUnit settings By Remote Interpreter.

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In some cases, for example when additional shared folders have been configured, it may be required to add the remote PHP interpreter from a SFTP deployment configuration (e.g. SFTP) and configure mappings manually. A mapping is the relation between the project folders, the folders on the remote server, and the URLs to access the data on the server over HTTP. These mappings are used to help PhpStorm find a file or folder in our project or on the remote server.

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Local path

Path on the remote server

Web path (URL)

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In the case where multiple folders should be mapped, which is common for frameworks like Symfony2, Zend Framework, Laravel or CakePHP that typically make use of two main folders, we can configure additional mappings:

Local path

Path on the remote server

Web path (URL)

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{pre}C:\Projects\MyProject\application{pre}

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Note the warning shown is because the /application path has no web path specified, which in this setup is perfectly fine.

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Note that when folders match multiple relevant mappings, the nearest one is applied.

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