Debugging PHP by monitoring errors in terminal

This is a super simple command but there is something about the following sequence of characters that I simply cannot retain in my brain.

tail -f /tmp/php-errors

This is a handy command to debug your PHP on your server where you may have errors hidden.

  • The tail command shows the end of a file.
  • The -f flag tells it to keep the file open, while you debug your code
  • The /tmp/php-error is ( I assume! ) a temporary error log file that stores PHP errors on the server.
  • .


If you use error_log(print_r(debug_backtrace(), true )) with this command, you can monitor the call stack in real time. Super useful when debugging!

5 thoughts on “Debugging PHP by monitoring errors in terminal

  1. This doesn’t even work… why would you post it? php doesn’t keep a file at tmp/php-errors. it would be useful to post where the actual php error log file lives.

    1. @eric, does it matter where the log file resides? The content of the log file is echo’d to your terminal in realtime, that is why the command is useful for debugging.

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