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This directory contains the Protocol Buffers runtime implementation via both a pure PHP package and a native c extension. The pure PHP package is intended to provide usability to wider range of PHP platforms, while the c extension is intended to provide higher performance. Both implementations provide the same runtime APIs and share the same generated code. Users don’t need to re-generate code for the same proto definition when they want to switch the implementation later.

Both implementations make use of generated PHP code that defines message and enum types in PHP. We strongly recommend using protoc's PHP generation support with .proto files. The build process in this directory only installs the extension/package; you need to install protoc as well to have PHP code generation functionality.


To use PHP runtime library requires:


C Extension


To install the c extension, the following tools are needed:

On Ubuntu, you can install them with:

sudo apt-get install -y php-pear php5-dev autoconf automake libtool make gcc

On other platforms, please use the corresponding package managing tool to install them before proceeding.

Installation from Source (Building extension)

To build the c extension, run the following command:

cd ext/google/protobuf
pear package
sudo pecl install protobuf-{VERSION}.tgz

Installation from PECL

When we release a version of Protocol Buffers, we will upload the extension to PECL. To use this pre-packaged extension, simply install it as you would any other extension:

sudo pecl install protobuf-{VERSION}

PHP Package

Installation from composer

Simply add "google/protobuf" to the 'require' section of composer.json in your project.


Once the extension or package is installed, if you wish to generate PHP code from a .proto file, you will also want to install the Protocol Buffers compiler (protoc), as described in this repository's main README file. The version of protoc included in the latest release supports the --php_out option to generate PHP code:

protoc --php_out=out_dir test.proto


For generated code: https://developers.google.com/protocol-buffers/docs/reference/php-generated

Known Issues


Docker Image

We provide a docker image for php development, which is also used in our automatic tests:

docker run --security-opt seccomp=unconfined -it protobuftesting/php_8dbe419c6df1a8b3af0ae3a267c112efb436b45c

Test Native PHP

# Download protobuf
git clone https://github.com/protocolbuffers/protobuf.git
cd protobuf

# Build protoc
make -j4

# Test native php
cd php
composer install
composer test

Test C Extension

After you have finished testing the native php, you can test the c extension:

cd tests
./test.sh 5.6 # The php runtime version.
              # We provide 5.5, 5.5-zts, 5.6, 5.6-zts, 7.0, 7.0-zts, 7.1, 7.1-zts, 7.2, 7.2-zts, 7.3 and 7.3-zts
              # ls /usr/local for more details

If you want to use gdb to debug the c extension, you can do: