Symfony on OSX El Capitan

Setting up Symfony on El Capitan, using Apache.

I recently updated my laptop to Apple’s newest OS, El Capitan, and unfortunately due to their new rootless feature, the setup I had working for web development had been reset. For this reason, I thought I’d really quickly show how easy it is to setup an Apple laptop to develop Symfony websites. This guide should also work for previous versions of OSX as well.

Step 1: Enable Apache

Luckily Apple hasn’t decided (yet) to remove Apache from the operating system, so getting a webserver setup is a doddle. Load up Terminal, and in the console type the following:

sudo apachectl start

This should be enough to get your local webserver up and running! To check it works, open up your fave web browser and go to ““. Hopefully you should see something like this:

Step 2: Enable PHP, alias and rewrite Apache modules

Next we need to enable a few Apache modules that we’ll need to run our website. To do this, you’ll need to open up /etc/apache2/httpd.conf in your favourite editor as root, and uncomment a few lines. In the example below I use nano as it’s pretty simple to use, but vim is also a good option.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Find the following lines, and remove the prepended # to enable:

LoadModule alias_module libexec/apache2/
LoadModule rewrite_module libexec/apache2/
LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/

Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

You’ll then need to restart your Apache daemon with the following command:

sudo apachectl restart

Step 3: Create a Symfony application

Create yourself a new symfony application, following the instructions here. I used the symfony installer, so the following commands in Terminal should get you a new symfony app setup:

sudo curl -LsS -o /usr/local/bin/symfony
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/symfony

symfony new my_new_project

You should now have a new folder called my_new_project with everything you need!

Step 4: Setup an Alias.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to develop more than one site at once, and potentially have them located at different places on your hard drive. To do this, I use Apache alias’ to forward requests to the correct sub-site. If you followed the previous steps, you should now have the httpd-vhosts.conf file being included in the Apache configuration. Open this file using sudo, and replace with the following:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot "/Library/WebServer/Documents"
    ServerName localhost

    Alias /my_new_project /path/to/my_new_project/web
    <Directory /path/to/my_new_project/web>
        Require all granted

        <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
            RewriteEngine On
            RewriteBase /my_new_project

            RewriteCond %{ENV:REDIRECT_STATUS} ^$
            RewriteRule ^app\.php(/(.*)|$) %{CONTEXT_PREFIX}/$2 [R=301,L]

            RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f
            RewriteRule .? - [L]

            RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI}::$1 ^(/.+)(.+)::\2$
            RewriteRule ^(.*) - [E=BASE:%1]
            RewriteRule .? %{ENV:BASE}app.php [L]


    ErrorLog "/private/var/log/apache2/localhost-error_log"
    CustomLog "/private/var/log/apache2/localhost-access_log" common

You can obviously add more alias’ as you create more applications.

Step 5: Setting up PHP

If you now go to http://localhost/my_new_project you’ll probably see an error message with something like this:

Warning: date_default_timezone_get(): It is not safe to rely on the system’s timezone settings. You are required to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone ‘UTC’ for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone.

To fix this, you need to create a php.ini, and then set the date.timezone variable. There’s a default php.ini file in /etc/php.ini.default, so in Terminal, run the following:

sudo cp /etc/php.ini.default /etc/php.ini
sudo nano /etc/php.ini

Next, search for the line with “date.timezone” and remove the semi-colon from the start of the line, setting the variable to something like “Europe/London”.

date.timezone = Europe/London

Save the file and this should then fix the PHP errors. You should now have a fully fledged Symfony application running!

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