Ready to rock PHP 7.3 Docker LAMP Stack

I have built a full LAMP stack that comes with the following:

  • Apache
  • PHP 7.3.3
  • Mariadb
  • MailHog
  • XDebug
  • HTTPS Virtualhost with holding page

Here’s how you get a full LAMP stack up and running in no time at all, which will be identical on any platform.

Firstly, install Docker and Virtualbox if you don’t have them. Then create a default base VM.

docker-machine create --driver virtualbox default

OK. So, first thing you need to do is start your VM:

docker-machine start
docker-machine env
eval $(docker-machine env)

You should run eval $(docker-machine env) in any other terminal tabs you open too, this sets up environment vars for setting up docker. Take a note of that IP address, and edit your /etc/hosts file

Ok, lets clone the LAMP stack:

git clone
cd lamp

This is another one off, build the image.

docker-compose build

That’s it! Now start your docker image like this

docker-compose up

and you can finally open your browser to

Install your composer package somewhere outside vendor

And I don’t mean change the vendor folder name, that’s easy. I mean getting one package in a custom location, whereas the rest still go into vendor.

This will only work with packages that require composer/installers, so if it isn’t your own package and they don’t require that in, then you can stop reading.

Still here? Awesome. In your vendor package, you need to add the installer

composer require composer/installers

Now in your composer.json, change (or add) the type. The package we just required in is actually to help various CMS’es and frameworks, so you must supply a valid type. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter which we choose, as we override the install path anyway.

"type": "ppi-module",

Commit that, and then go to your main project. In the composer.json, add the following:

"extra": {
"installer-paths": {
"/some/custom/path": ["your/package"]

Now when you run composer install, you’ll see everything but your package in the vendor folder, and your custom package in its custom location! 😀

Setting up a multi user XDebug proxy

I absolutely love XDebug, it’s a tool that no PHP developer should go without! I constantly find myself in contracts where the workplace aren’t using it, and I end up installing and configuring it for them. However, using XDebug alone will only allow one connection at a time. This is fine when we are are developing in an isolated environment, but in many offices an entire team of developers could be working on a server at once! The solution to this is to add an XDebug proxy!

I will assume for this tutorial that you already have XDebug working and can connect with one user.

The first step is to download the debugger proxy itself to the machine running PHP. This can be found here

Now, before you click on the PHP download, DON’T. You actually want the Python one. Download the package for your OS. If you use Linux or Mac, you’ll need python installed too. Windows comes with a binary .exe so Python isn’t required.

Depending whether you are using PHP-FPM or not will determine which port XDebug is currently listening on. PHP-FPM itself runs on port 9000, so if you are using that, your XDebug port will probably be 9001. If you are using PHP as an apache module or whatever, XDebug will probably be listening on port 9000. For the purposes of this article I will assume XDebug is listening on port 9000.

To start the proxy on Windows:

.\pydbgpproxy.exe -d -i

To start the proxy on Linux:

export PYTHONPATH=<_Komodo install directory_>/lib/support/dbgp/pythonlib;$PYTHONPATH
cd <_Komodo install directory_>/lib/support/dbgp/bin
python pydbgpproxy -d -i

To start the proxy on OS X:

export PYTHONPATH=<_Komodo install directory_>/Contents/SharedSupport/dbgp/pythonlib;$PYTHONPATH
cd <_Komodo install directory_>/Contents/SharedSupport/dbgp/bin
python pydbgpproxy -d -i

The options;

-d is the debugger itself, listening on port 9000 on the same machine

-i is the IDE listener port. The IP itself is actually the external IP of this same machine.

If it’s running, you should see something like this:

proxy> .\pydbgpproxy.exe -d -i
INFO: dbgp.proxy: starting proxy listeners. appid: 8080
INFO: dbgp.proxy: dbgp listener on
INFO: dbgp.proxy: IDE listener on

Now back in PHPStorm (or some inferior product) Goto the DBGp Proxy settings in the tools menu, and select configure. Put your name in the IDE key box, the IP of the PHP server, and port 9001.

Again in the tool DBGp proxy, and click Register IDE. If successful, you should be able to see lines like this:

INFO: dbgp.proxy: Server:onConnect ('', 60748) [proxyinit -p 9000 -k DEREK -m 1 ]
INFO: dbgp.proxy: Server:onConnect ('', 60996) [proxyinit -p 9000 -k KPATIL -m 1 ]

And that’s it! Now two or more developers can simultaneously use XDebug at the same time. Have fun!

Debugging a Memcached server

Is your Memcached instance working correctly? Who the hell knows? Well, we will in a minute.

Open your terminal, and use the ancient telnet to connect to your server on the correct port (usually 11211):

$ telnet 11211
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.

Next we reset existing stats then turn on stats collection:

stats reset
stats detail on

Now, make a request on your website that will call memcache.

Finally, turn stats collection off, then dump the stats collected. If you have output, your memcached server is successfully caching your keys!

stats detail off
stats detail dump
PREFIX User get 3 hit 2 set 1 del 0
PREFIX Trade get 1 hit 0 set 1 del 0
PREFIX Currency get 1 hit 0 set 0 del 0
PREFIX Orders get 2 hit 0 set 2 del 0
PREFIX Prices get 2 hit 0 set 0 del 0

To get out of telnet, you type quit.

Codeception Acceptance tests with Javascript

I had an issue on this old legacy site in work where I was writing a basic acceptance test where it clicks all the links in the top section of the home page. The problem was that one of the links opened another window using JavaScript. So I had to reconfigure Codeception to get it running.

There are various different drivers that codeception uses, PhpBrowser which doesn’t do JS, Selenium WebDriver does, and you have several options; you could install Selenium, chrome headless browser, or phantomjs. I chose phantomjs, as it was easiest (for me) to get up and running on a non X Server.

First up, you’ll need phantomjs. Go download it, unpack the zip, move the folder somewhere, and then symlink the bin/phantomjs to /usr/bin/phantomjs.

Next, launch phantomjs like so:

phantomjs --webdriver=4444 --ignore-ssl-errors=true --ssl-protocol=any

Now, in your YAML:

# Codeception Test Suite Configuration

# suite for acceptance tests.
# Run the following command FIRST:
# phantomjs --webdriver=4444 --ignore-ssl-errors=true --ssl-protocol=any


class_name: WebGuy
         - WebDriver
         - WebHelper
             url: 'https://USER:PASS@YOUR_URL_HERE'
             browser: phantomjs
                 acceptSslCerts: true

If you have a site using HTTP Basic Auth, put USER:PASSWORD@ in yopur URL, if not, remove it.

Now in your acceptance test, you can write:

$i->click('Nouvel abonnement');

Note that, in your Javascript, when you run the open window function, you specify a name. This is the name you use, and not the title from the HTML <head> section!

And there you have it! We can now test with javascript functionality!