Globally install PHP command-line tools with Composer

We are spoiled with all the great PHP command-line tools available these days. PHPUnit and Codeception for testing and Phinx for migrations, just to name a few. With Composer its easy to add to your project, but then you end up having to issue commands like php /path/to/my/project/vendor/bin/phpunit when you would prefer to issue phpunit. Also, it’s annoying to have to manually add PHPUnit to every project you work on. Here is a better solution:

  1. Create a dummy Composer project within your home directory
  2. Add its vendor/bin directory to your path


In your home directory create a directory called composer-packages which contains the following composer.json file:

    "require": {
        "phpunit/phpunit": "3.7.*",
        "codeception/codeception": "*",
        "robmorgan/phinx": "*"

In that directory run composer install

Then, add the following line to your .bashrc:

export PATH=~/composer-packages/vendor/bin:$PATH

After restarting your terminal, you can issue codecept, phpunit or phinx from any directory on your computer. Cool!


In my setup, for bonus points, all this stuff lives in my dotfiles on GitHub. Since every machine I work on has a clone of my dotfiles, with just one composer update I can have all my PHP tools globally installed on any machine.