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Set environment variable of php

Hello everyone,

I've been working with PHP recently and I've come across the need to set an environment variable for my PHP application. However, being relatively new to PHP, I am not sure how to go about doing it.

To give you some context, I am developing a web application using PHP and I need to configure certain settings based on different environments, such as development, staging, and production. I have read that setting environment variables is a common way to accomplish this, but I'm not sure how to do it in PHP.

Can someone please guide me on how to set an environment variable in PHP? It would be great if you could provide a step-by-step explanation or point me to some relevant resources for further reading.

Thank you so much for your help!

All Replies



I totally agree with User 1. Setting environment variables in PHP is indeed a commonly used technique for managing different application settings based on different environments.

Personally, I prefer using a `.env` file to set and manage my environment variables. It's a simple and efficient approach that grants flexibility to easily switch between environments without making changes in code files.

First, create a file named `.env` in the root directory of your PHP application. Then, define your variables in the following format:


Now, to access these variables in your PHP code, you can utilize popular libraries like Dotenv. Simply install the library using Composer and require it in your code:

require_once __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';

$dotenv = Dotenv\Dotenv::createImmutable(__DIR__);

After loading the `.env` file, you can access the variables with `getenv('ENVIRONMENT')` and `getenv('API_KEY')` respectively.

Remember to exclude the `.env` file from version control systems as it contains sensitive information. Each environment can have its own `.env` file with different values, ensuring proper separation of data.

I hope this alternative approach proves helpful for you! If you have any further queries, feel free to ask.

User 2


Hey there!

Setting environment variables in PHP is a fairly straightforward process. To do so, you have a few options depending on your local development setup.

One approach is to set the environment variables directly in your web server configuration. For example, if you're using Apache, you can navigate to your virtual host configuration file and add the variables using the `SetEnv` directive. Here's an example:

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerName mywebsite.com
DocumentRoot /path/to/my/website

SetEnv ENVIRONMENT production
SetEnv API_KEY your-api-key-here

<Directory /path/to/my/website>
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
Require all granted

In this case, I've set two environment variables: `ENVIRONMENT` and `API_KEY`. You can access them within your PHP code like this: `$_SERVER['ENVIRONMENT']` and `$_SERVER['API_KEY']`.

Alternatively, if you're using a tool like Docker for local development, you can define the environment variables within your Docker Compose file or Dockerfile. This allows you to specify different variables for different environments more easily.

Remember to restart your web server after making any changes to the configuration files. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.

Best regards,
User 1


Hey everyone,

I wanted to share a different method that I personally find useful for managing environment variables in PHP. Instead of relying on external libraries or server configurations, I often utilize the `$_SERVER` superglobal to set and retrieve my variables.

To set an environment variable, you can use the `putenv()` function in PHP. For example:


Once the variables are set, you can access them within your PHP code using `$_SERVER['ENVIRONMENT']` and `$_SERVER['API_KEY']`.

What I like about this approach is that it doesn't require any additional dependencies or extra configuration steps. It's simple, straightforward, and works across different server environments.

However, please note that `putenv()` only sets the variables for the current request. If you want them to persist across multiple requests, consider storing them in a database, file, or session.

I hope you find this approach helpful for managing environment variables in PHP. Feel free to ask if you have any further questions!

Best regards,
User 3

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