PHP 5.1.0 以降では、--with-readline オプションつきで PHP をコンパイルした場合に CLI SAPI で対話シェルが使えるようになりました。 対話シェルは、-a オプションで使うことができます。 PHP 7.1.0 以降では、readline エクステンション が有効であれば 対話シェルは Windows 上でも使用可能です。

対話シェルを使うと、PHP のコードを打ち込んで直接実行できるようになります。

例1 対話シェル上でのコードの実行

$ php -a
Interactive shell

php > echo 5+8;
php > function addTwo($n)
php > {
php { return $n + 2;
php { }
php > var_dump(addtwo(2));
php >

対話シェル上では、タブ補完機能を使って 関数や定数、クラス名、変数名、静的なメソッドコール、そしてクラス定数を補完することができます。

例2 タブ補完

補完候補が複数あるときにタブキーを二度押すと、 補完候補の一覧が表示されます。

php > strp[TAB][TAB]
strpbrk   strpos    strptime  
php > strp


php > strpt[TAB]ime(


php > $fooThisIsAReallyLongVariableName = 42;
php > $foo[TAB]ThisIsAReallyLongVariableName

対話シェル上では操作履歴が保存され、上矢印キーと下矢印キーで履歴にアクセスすることができます。 履歴の保存先は ~/.php_history ファイルです。

PHP 5.4.0 以降、CLI SAPI に二つの新たな php.ini 設定が追加されました。cli.pagercli.prompt です。cli.pager は、外部のプログラム (less など) を出力のページャとして指定することができます。 出力が画面に直接送られるかわりに、このページャに送られるようになります。 cli.prompt を指定すると、 php > プロンプトを変更することができます。

また、PHP 5.4.0 以降では、対話シェルの中で php.ini 項目を設定する際に短縮記法が使えるようにもなりました。

例3 対話シェル内での php.ini の設定

cli.prompt を設定します。

php > #cli.prompt=hello world :> 
hello world :>

バッククォートを使うと、PHP のコードの実行結果をプロンプトとして用いることができます。

php > #cli.prompt=`echo date('H:i:s');` php > 
15:49:35 php > echo 'hi';
15:49:43 php > sleep(2);
15:49:45 php >

ページャを less に設定します。

php > #cli.pager=less
php > phpinfo();
(出力が less に送られます)
php >

cli.prompt の設定は、次のようなエスケープシーケンスに対応しています。

cli.prompt のエスケープシーケンス
シーケンス 説明
\e プロンプトに色をつけます。たとえば \e[032m\v \e[031m\b \e[34m\> \e[0m のように使います。
\v PHP のバージョン。
\b PHP が今どのブロックにいるのかを示します。たとえば、 複数行コメントの中にいる場合は /* となります。 外側のスコープは php で表します。
\> プロンプト文字を示します。デフォルトでは > ですが、ブロックや文字列の途中にあるときは変わります。 ' " { ( > のような文字になることがあります。


auto_prepend_file および auto_append_file で インクルードされたファイルはこのモードでもパースされますが、 いくつかの制限があります。例えば、関数はそれがコールされる前に 定義されていなければなりません。


オートローディング は、PHP を CLI の対話モードで実行している場合は使用できません。

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User Contributed Notes 13 notes

Ryan P
7 years ago
Interactive Shell and Interactive Mode are not the same thing, despite the similar names and functionality.

If you type 'php -a' and get a response of 'Interactive Shell' followed by a 'php>' prompt, you have interactive shell available (PHP was compiled with readline support). If instead you get a response of 'Interactive mode enabled', you DO NOT have interactive shell available and this article does not apply to you.

You can also check 'php -m' and see if readline is listed in the output - if not, you don't have interactive shell.

Interactive mode is essentially like running php with stdin as the file input. You just type code, and when you're done (Ctrl-D), php executes whatever you typed as if it were a normal PHP (PHTML) file - hence you start in interactive mode with '<?php' in order to execute code.

Interactive shell evaluates every expression as you complete it (with ; or }), reports errors without terminating execution, and supports standard shell functionality via readline (history, tab completion, etc). It's an enhanced version of interactive mode that is ONLY available if you have the required libraries, and is an actual PHP shell that interprets everything you type as PHP code - using '<?php' will cause a parse error.

Finally, if you're running on Windows, you're probably screwed. From what I'm seeing in other comments here, you don't have readline, and without readline there is no interactive shell.
spencer at aninternetpresence dot net
8 years ago
In Windows, press Enter after your ending PHP tag and then hit Ctrl-Z to denote the end-of-file:

C:\>php -a
Interactive mode enabled

echo "Hello, world!";
Hello, world!

You can use the up and down arrows in interactive mode to recall previous code you ran.
2 years ago
For use interactive mode enabled on GNU/Linux on distros Debian/Ubuntu/LinuxMint you must install "php*-cli" and "php*-readline" packages from official repository.
>$sudo aptitude install php5-cli php5-readline

After that you can use interactive mode.
~ $ php -a
Interactive mode enabled

php >echo "hola mundo!\n";
hola mundo!
php >

I hope somebody help it!
9 years ago
It seems the interactive shell cannot be made to work in WIN environments at the moment. 

Using "php://stdin", it shouldn't be too difficult to roll your own.  You can partially mimic the shell by calling this simple script (Note: Window's cmd already has an input history calling feature using the up/down keys, and that functionality will still be available during execution here):


= fopen("php://stdin", "r");
$in = '';
$in != "quit") {
"php> ";
    eval (

Replace 'eval' with code to parse the input string, validate it using is_callable and other variable handling functions, catch fatal errors before they happen, allow line-by-line function defining, etc.  Though Readline is not available in Windows, for more tips and examples for workarounds, see http://www.php.net/manual/en/ref.readline.php
9 years ago
Just a few more notes to add...

1) Hitting return does literally mean "execute this command".  Semicolon to note end of line is still required.  Meaning, doing the following will produce a parse error:

php > print "test"
php > print "asdf";

Whereas doing the following is just fine:

php > print "test"
php > ."asdf";

2) Fatal errors may eject you from the shell:

name@local:~$ php -a
php > asdf();

Fatal Error: call to undefined function...

3) User defined functions are not saved in history from shell session to shell session.

4) Should be obvious, but to quit the shell, just type "quit" at the php prompt.

5) In a sense, the shell interaction can be thought of as linearly following a regular php file, except it's live and dynamic.  If you define a function that you've already defined earlier in your current shell, you will receive a fatal "function already defined" error only upon entering that closing bracket.  And, although "including" a toolset of custom functions or a couple of script addon php files is rather handy, should you edit those files and wish to "reinclude" it again, you'll cause a fatal "function x already defined" error.
lee8oi at gmail dot com
7 years ago
I use git-bash in windows to connect to my servers via SSH. When I use the interactive mode via 'php -a' command I have to hit ctrl+d twice to execute the entered code. Example:
(<ctrl+d> denotes hitting ctrl & D)

-bash$ php -a
Interactive mode enabled
echo 'hello world';
?><br />
hello world<br />

Note: this still displays the <br /> tag but without the tag your output would likely be attached to your bash prompt like this:

hello world-bash$
elijah at elijahlynn dot net
4 years ago
Bug #55496 Interactive mode doesn't force a newline before the prompt => https://bugs.php.net/bug.php?id=55496

Fixed on July 24th, 2014 @ http://git.php.net/?p=php-src.git;a=commit;h=71d3a69425449972f4efdf7228c6f7e49e090755

Until then, this will work:

php -dcli.prompt="\nphp> " -a
alexandrebr at gmail dot com
8 years ago
For those who (just like me) can't get it working, try to press CTRL+D after inserting some commands.

echo "Hello World!\r\n";
Hit CTRL+D here)
Hello World!

This is NOT interactive mode, but may help you.

To have the "-i" available, you'll need the following arguments while compiling PHP:
--with-readline e --with-libedit
alexmarcxyz at gmail dot com
1 year ago
While configuring php shell script, We need to take care of these commands, Abstract.php, Compiler.php, Indexer.php, Log.php, You can check more details about these commands at, https://www.cloudways.com/blog/php-shell-scripts-magent . Hope it will help your readers as well as I got help from your and this post.
1 year ago
If you delete your "~/.php_history", you MUST re-create the file manually!

Because after I deleted my history file, "php -a" (interactive mode) never saved any history anymore.

It only started working after I ran "touch ~/.php_history" to create an empty file. From then on, PHP is saving history again!

I thought this was a bit unusual. Normally, applications recreate their history files themselves. But just be aware of the fact that PHP works this way instead, guys and girls! :-)
wheat at wheatdesign dot com
1 year ago
If you're stuck on Widows or any other machine where PHP was not compiled with readline support, one solution is to use a web-based PHP CLI. I use this in training classes, especially the sort where people bring their own laptops and I can't assume they have PHP installed. The best one I've found--partly because of the UX and partly because it's free (no credit card required) and quick to setup, is http://repl.it
8 years ago
When building php on FreeBSD from ports one can add --with-readline option by manually editing the var CONFIGURE_ARGS in Makefile inside the php port directory and proceeding with build as usual.
Shane Harter
6 years ago
If you've ever wanted to build your own interactive shell, I released a project recently that makes it insanely easy to build awesome shell apps in PHP. It blends features from Zend2 and Symonfy2 with things like regex routing, state management, etc. Check it out here:

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