PHP 8.0.26 Released!

Execution Operators

PHP supports one execution operator: backticks (``). Note that these are not single-quotes! PHP will attempt to execute the contents of the backticks as a shell command; the output will be returned (i.e., it won't simply be dumped to output; it can be assigned to a variable). Use of the backtick operator is identical to shell_exec().

<?php
$output 
= `ls -al`;
echo 
"<pre>$output</pre>";
?>

Note:

The backtick operator is disabled when shell_exec() is disabled.

Note:

Unlike some other languages, backticks have no special meaning within double-quoted strings.

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User Contributed Notes 3 notes

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140
robert
16 years ago
Just a general usage note.  I had a very difficult time solving a problem with my script, when I accidentally put one of these backticks at the beginning of a line, like so:

[lots of code]
`    $URL = "blah...";
[more code]

Since the backtick is right above the tab key, I probably just fat-fingered it while indenting the code.

What made this so hard to find, was that PHP reported a parse error about 50 or so lines *below* the line containing the backtick.  (There were no other backticks anywhere in my code.)  And the error message was rather cryptic:

Parse error: parse error, expecting `T_STRING' or `T_VARIABLE' or `T_NUM_STRING' in /blah.php on line 446

Just something to file away in case you're pulling your hair out trying to find an error that "isn't there."
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100
ohcc at 163 dot com
5 years ago
You can use variables within a pair of backticks (``).

<?php
    $host
= 'www.wuxiancheng.cn';
    echo `
ping -n 3 {$host}`;
?>
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0
paolo.bertani
22 days ago
If you want to avoid situations like the one described by @robert you may want to disable `shell_exec` and -as a consequence- the backtick operator.

To do this just edit the `php.ini` file and add `shell_exec` to the `disable_functions` setting:

    ; This directive allows you to disable certain functions.
    ; It receives a comma-delimited list of function names.
    ; https://php.net/disable-functions
    disable_functions = "shell_exec"

Then you can still use `exec()` to run terminal commands.
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