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PHP functions
Learn how to run serverless PHP functions on AWS Lambda using Bref.
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What are runtimes?
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HTTP applications

The simplest way to write a lambda is to write one in the form of a PHP function:


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

lambda(function (array $event) {
    return 'Hello ' . ($event['name'] ?? 'world');

This form is very similar to lambdas written in other languages, for example JavaScript:

exports.myHandler = async function (event, context) {
   return "Hello " +;

The function

A function can be defined by calling Bref's lambda() function and passing it a callable. The callable can be an anonymous function or any kind of callable supported by PHP.


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

lambda(function (array $event) {
    return /* response */;

The function:

  • takes an $event parameter which contains data from the event that triggered the function (list of examples here)
  • can optionally return a response: the response must be serializable to JSON

There must be only one function defined per PHP file.


The function is invoked with the $event parameter as well a $context parameter that can be optionally declared if you want to use it:


use Bref\Context\Context;

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

lambda(function (array $event, Context $context) {
    return /* response */;

The Context object is inspired from the context parameter in other languages and provides information about the current lambda invocation (the request ID, the X-Ray trace ID, etc.).

SAM configuration

Below is a minimal template.yaml to deploy a function. To create it automatically run vendor/bin/bref init.

AWSTemplateFormatVersion: '2010-09-09'
Transform: 'AWS::Serverless-2016-10-31'
        Type: AWS::Serverless::Function
            FunctionName: 'my-function'
            CodeUri: .
            Handler: index.php # the name of your PHP file
            Runtime: provided
                - 'arn:aws:lambda:<region>:209497400698:layer:php-73:<version>'

The runtime to use is php. To learn more check out the runtimes documentation.


A PHP function must be invoked via the AWS Lambda API. If you instead want to write a classic HTTP application read the HTTP guide.


A PHP function can be triggered manually from the CLI using the bref invoke command:

$ vendor/bin/bref invoke <function-name>
START RequestId: 3afca641-112c-11e9-bd8b-7108ee29dd18 Version: $LATEST
END RequestId: 3afca641-112c-11e9-bd8b-7108ee29dd18
REPORT RequestId: c42dce1e-112c-11e9-bed8-3f4bd1a349e2	Duration: 201.14 ms	Billed Duration: 300 ms 	Memory Size: 128 MB	Max Memory Used: 39 MB

"Hello world"

The logs will be displayed above the function's result encoded as JSON.

To pass event data to the lambda use the --event option. For example:

vendor/bin/bref invoke <function-name> --event='{"name": "John" }'

Run vendor/bin/bref invoke --help to learn more about the invoke command.

From PHP applications

A PHP function can be triggered from another PHP application using the AWS PHP SDK:

$lambda = new \Aws\Lambda\LambdaClient([
    'version' => 'latest',
    'region' => <region>,

$result = $lambda->invoke([
    'FunctionName' => '<function-name>',
    'InvocationType' => 'RequestResponse',
    'LogType' => 'None',
    'Payload' => json_encode(/* event data */),

$result = json_decode($result->get('Payload')->getContents(), true);
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