I recently came cross debugging in PHP. I know from my own experience that a lot of people are still using echo/print, var_dump to debug code. Nothing wrong but sometimes when you scratch you head wondering what’s inside that tiny variable, a proper debug tool can help you straight away.

There are a few big gun IDEs such as eclipse or NetBean, however for light weight tool, I configured NotePad++ with plugin DBGp. My environment is NotePad++ on Windows, connects to Apache+PHP on a Ubuntu Virtual Machine.

Below are some tips on configuration:

  • Enable Samba on Ubuntu VM so that NotePad++ can access files on the Ubuntu VM.
  • Install xdebug on php server site.

On Ubuntu, sudo apt-get php5-xdebug install

Configure /etc/php/apache2/php.ini with following lines



xdebug.remote_host= (this is the Windows PC where NotePad++ runs)



  • Install NotePad++ and DBGp

DBGp configuration:

remote server IP: IP of Ubuntu VM

IDE KEY: XDEBUG_ECLIPSE, same as the above

Remote Path: file:///var/www/xxx/public/ where xxx is the site’s domain name. Note file:// with the extra / 

Local Path: z:xxxpublic

  • Install Xdebug helper(Chrome extension)

Then you’re ready to start debugging. In NotePad++, open any php file, set up a break point, enable “Debugger” (top in DBGp) menu then in Chrome, enable “Debug”(“Xdebug helper”), then type the URI in Chrome and you’ll notice NotePad++ blinks when means xdebug has intercepted the communication and starts working!

PHP debugging

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