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Instrument headless chrome/chromium instances from PHP


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Chrome PHP

Latest Stable Version License

This library lets you start playing with chrome/chromium in headless mode from PHP.

Can be used synchronously and asynchronously!


  • Open Chrome or Chromium browser from php
  • Create pages and navigate to pages
  • Take screenshots
  • Evaluate javascript on the page
  • Make PDF
  • Emulate mouse
  • Emulate keyboard
  • Always IDE friendly

Happy browsing!


Requires PHP 7.4-8.3 and a Chrome/Chromium 65+ executable.

Note that the library is only tested on Linux but is compatible with macOS and Windows.


The library can be installed with Composer and is available on packagist under chrome-php/chrome:

$ composer require chrome-php/chrome


It uses a simple and understandable API to start Chrome, to open pages, take screenshots, crawl websites... and almost everything that you can do with Chrome as a human.

use HeadlessChromium\BrowserFactory;

$browserFactory = new BrowserFactory();

// starts headless Chrome
$browser = $browserFactory->createBrowser();

try {
    // creates a new page and navigate to an URL
    $page = $browser->createPage();

    // get page title
    $pageTitle = $page->evaluate('document.title')->getReturnValue();

    // screenshot - Say "Cheese"! 😄

    // pdf
    $page->pdf(['printBackground' => false])->saveToFile('/foo/bar.pdf');
} finally {
    // bye

Using different Chrome executable

When starting, the factory will look for the environment variable "CHROME_PATH" to use as the Chrome executable. If the variable is not found, it will try to guess the correct executable path according to your OS or use "chrome" as the default.

You are also able to explicitly set up any executable of your choice when creating a new object. For instance "chromium-browser":

use HeadlessChromium\BrowserFactory;

// replace default 'chrome' with 'chromium-browser'
$browserFactory = new BrowserFactory('chromium-browser');


The following example disables headless mode to ease debugging

use HeadlessChromium\BrowserFactory;

$browserFactory = new BrowserFactory();

$browser = $browserFactory->createBrowser([
    'headless' => false, // disable headless mode

Other debug options:

    'connectionDelay' => 0.8,            // add 0.8 second of delay between each instruction sent to Chrome,
    'debugLogger'     => 'php://stdout', // will enable verbose mode

About debugLogger: this can be any of a resource string, a resource, or an object implementing LoggerInterface from Psr\Log (such as monolog or apix/log).


Browser Factory

Options set directly in the createBrowser method will be used only for a single browser creation. The default options will be ignored.

use HeadlessChromium\BrowserFactory;

$browserFactory = new BrowserFactory();
$browser = $browserFactory->createBrowser([
    'windowSize'   => [1920, 1000],
    'enableImages' => false,

// this browser will be created without any options
$browser2 = $browserFactory->createBrowser();

Options set using the setOptions and addOptions methods will persist.

    'windowSize' => [1920, 1000],

// both browser will have the same 'windowSize' option
$browser1 = $browserFactory->createBrowser();
$browser2 = $browserFactory->createBrowser();

$browserFactory->addOptions(['enableImages' => false]);

// this browser will have both the 'windowSize' and 'enableImages' options
$browser3 = $browserFactory->createBrowser();

$browserFactory->addOptions(['enableImages' => true]);

// this browser will have the previous 'windowSize', but 'enableImages' will be true
$browser4 = $browserFactory->createBrowser();

Available options

Here are the options available for the browser factory:

Option name Default Description
connectionDelay 0 Delay to apply between each operation for debugging purposes
customFlags none An array of flags to pass to the command line. Eg: ['--option1', '--option2=someValue']
debugLogger null A string (e.g "php://stdout"), or resource, or PSR-3 logger instance to print debug messages
disableNotifications false Disable browser notifications
enableImages true Toggles loading of images
envVariables none An array of environment variables to pass to the process (example DISPLAY variable)
headers none An array of custom HTTP headers
headless true Enable or disable headless mode
ignoreCertificateErrors false Set Chrome to ignore SSL errors
keepAlive false Set to true to keep alive the Chrome instance when the script terminates
noSandbox false Enable no sandbox mode, useful to run in a docker container
noProxyServer false Don't use a proxy server, always make direct connections. Overrides other proxy settings.
proxyBypassList none Specifies a list of hosts for whom we bypass proxy settings and use direct connections
proxyServer none Proxy server to use. usage: (authorisation with credentials does not work)
sendSyncDefaultTimeout 5000 Default timeout (ms) for sending sync messages
startupTimeout 30 Maximum time in seconds to wait for Chrome to start
userAgent none User agent to use for the whole browser (see page API for alternative)
userDataDir none Chrome user data dir (default: a new empty dir is generated temporarily)
userCrashDumpsDir none The directory crashpad should store dumps in (crash reporter will be enabled automatically)
windowSize none Size of the window. usage: $width, $height - see also Page::setViewport
excludedSwitches none An array of Chrome flags that should be removed from the default set (example --enable-automation)

Persistent Browser

This example shows how to share a single instance of Chrome for multiple scripts.

The first time the script is started we use the browser factory in order to start Chrome, afterwards we save the uri to connect to this browser in the file system.

The next calls to the script will read the uri from that file in order to connect to the Chrome instance instead of creating a new one. If Chrome was closed or crashed, a new instance is started again.

use \HeadlessChromium\BrowserFactory;
use \HeadlessChromium\Exception\BrowserConnectionFailed;

// path to the file to store websocket's uri
$socket = \file_get_contents('/tmp/chrome-php-demo-socket');

try {
    $browser = BrowserFactory::connectToBrowser($socket);
} catch (BrowserConnectionFailed $e) {
    // The browser was probably closed, start it again
    $factory = new BrowserFactory();
    $browser = $factory->createBrowser([
        'keepAlive' => true,

    // save the uri to be able to connect again to browser
    \file_put_contents($socketFile, $browser->getSocketUri(), LOCK_EX);

Browser API

Create a new page (tab)

$page = $browser->createPage();

Get opened pages (tabs)

$pages = $browser->getPages();

Close the browser


Set a script to evaluate before every page created by this browser will navigate

$browser->setPagePreScript('// Simulate navigator permissions;
const originalQuery = window.navigator.permissions.query;
window.navigator.permissions.query = (parameters) => ( === 'notifications' ?
        Promise.resolve({ state: Notification.permission }) :

Page API

Navigate to an URL

// navigate
$navigation = $page->navigate('');

// wait for the page to be loaded

When using $navigation->waitForNavigation() you will wait for 30sec until the page event "loaded" is triggered. You can change the timeout or the event to listen for:

use HeadlessChromium\Page;

// wait 10secs for the event "DOMContentLoaded" to be triggered
$navigation->waitForNavigation(Page::DOM_CONTENT_LOADED, 10000);

Available events (in the order they trigger):

  • Page::DOM_CONTENT_LOADED: dom has completely loaded
  • Page::FIRST_CONTENTFUL_PAINT: triggered when the first non-white content element is painted on the screen
  • Page::FIRST_IMAGE_PAINT: triggered when the first image is painted on the screen
  • Page::FIRST_MEANINGFUL_PAINT: triggered when the primary content of a page is visible to the user
  • Page::FIRST_PAINT: triggered when any pixel on the screen is painted, including the browser's default background color
  • Page::INIT: connection to DevTools protocol is initialized
  • Page::INTERACTIVE_TIME: scripts have finished loading and the main thread is no longer blocked by rendering or other tasks
  • Page::LOAD: (default) page and all resources are loaded
  • Page::NETWORK_IDLE: page has loaded, and no network activity has occurred for at least 500ms

When you want to wait for the page to navigate 2 main issues may occur. First, the page is too long to load and second, the page you were waiting to be loaded has been replaced. The good news is that you can handle those issues using a good old try-catch:

use HeadlessChromium\Exception\OperationTimedOut;
use HeadlessChromium\Exception\NavigationExpired;

try {
} catch (OperationTimedOut $e) {
    // too long to load
} catch (NavigationExpired $e) {
    // An other page was loaded

Evaluate script on the page

Once the page has completed the navigation you can evaluate arbitrary script on this page:

// navigate
$navigation = $page->navigate('');

// wait for the page to be loaded

// evaluate script in the browser
$evaluation = $page->evaluate('document.documentElement.innerHTML');

// wait for the value to return and get it
$value = $evaluation->getReturnValue();

Sometimes the script you evaluate will click a link or submit a form, in this case, the page will reload and you will want to wait for the new page to reload.

You can achieve this by using $page->evaluate('some js that will reload the page')->waitForPageReload(). An example is available in form-submit.php

Call a function

This is an alternative to evaluate that allows calling a given function with the given arguments in the page context:

$evaluation = $page->callFunction(
    "function(a, b) {\n = a + b;\n}",
    [1, 2]

$value = $evaluation->getReturnValue();

Add a script tag

That's useful if you want to add jQuery (or anything else) to the page:

    'content' => file_get_contents('path/to/jquery.js')


You can also use an URL to feed the src attribute:

    'url' => ''


Set the page HTML

You can manually inject html to a page using the setHtml method.

// Basic

// Specific timeout & event
$page->setHtml('<p>text</p>', 10000, Page::NETWORK_IDLE);

When a page's HTML is updated, we'll wait for the page to unload. You can specify how long to wait and which event to wait for through two optional parameters. This defaults to 3000ms and the "load" event.

Note that this method will not append to the current page HTML, it will completely replace it.

Get the page HTML

You can get the page HTML as a string using the getHtml method.

$html = $page->getHtml();

Add a script to evaluate upon page navigation

$page->addPreScript('// Simulate navigator permissions;
const originalQuery = window.navigator.permissions.query;
window.navigator.permissions.query = (parameters) => ( === 'notifications' ?
        Promise.resolve({ state: Notification.permission }) :

If your script needs the dom to be fully populated before it runs then you can use the option "onLoad":

$page->addPreScript($script, ['onLoad' => true]);

Set viewport size

This feature allows changing the size of the viewport (emulation) for the current page without affecting the size of all the browser's pages (see also option "windowSize" of BrowserFactory::createBrowser).

$width = 600;
$height = 300;
$page->setViewport($width, $height)
    ->await(); // wait for the operation to complete

Make a screenshot

// navigate
$navigation = $page->navigate('');

// wait for the page to be loaded

// take a screenshot
$screenshot = $page->screenshot([
    'format'  => 'jpeg',  // default to 'png' - possible values: 'png', 'jpeg', 'webp'
    'quality' => 80,      // only when format is 'jpeg' or 'webp' - default 100
    'optimizeForSpeed' => true // default to 'false' - Optimize image encoding for speed, not for resulting size

// save the screenshot

Screenshot an area on a page

You can use the option "clip" to choose an area on a page for the screenshot

use HeadlessChromium\Clip;

// navigate
$navigation = $page->navigate('');

// wait for the page to be loaded

// create a rectangle by specifying to left corner coordinates + width and height
$x = 10;
$y = 10;
$width = 100;
$height = 100;
$clip = new Clip($x, $y, $width, $height);

// take the screenshot (in memory binaries)
$screenshot = $page->screenshot([
    'clip'  => $clip,

// save the screenshot

Full-page screenshot

You can also take a screenshot for the full-page layout (not only the viewport) using $page->getFullPageClip with attribute captureBeyondViewport = true

// navigate
$navigation = $page->navigate('');

// wait for the page to be loaded

$screenshot = $page->screenshot([
    'captureBeyondViewport' => true,
    'clip' => $page->getFullPageClip(),
    'format' => 'jpeg', // default to 'png' - possible values: 'png', 'jpeg', 'webp'

// save the screenshot

Print as PDF

// navigate
$navigation = $page->navigate('');

// wait for the page to be loaded

$options = [
    'landscape'           => true,             // default to false
    'printBackground'     => true,             // default to false
    'displayHeaderFooter' => true,             // default to false
    'preferCSSPageSize'   => true,             // default to false (reads parameters directly from @page)
    'marginTop'           => 0.0,              // defaults to ~0.4 (must be a float, value in inches)
    'marginBottom'        => 1.4,              // defaults to ~0.4 (must be a float, value in inches)
    'marginLeft'          => 5.0,              // defaults to ~0.4 (must be a float, value in inches)
    'marginRight'         => 1.0,              // defaults to ~0.4 (must be a float, value in inches)
    'paperWidth'          => 6.0,              // defaults to 8.5 (must be a float, value in inches)
    'paperHeight'         => 6.0,              // defaults to 11.0 (must be a float, value in inches)
    'headerTemplate'      => '<div>foo</div>', // see details above
    'footerTemplate'      => '<div>foo</div>', // see details above
    'scale'               => 1.2,              // defaults to 1.0 (must be a float)

// print as pdf (in memory binaries)
$pdf = $page->pdf($options);

// save the pdf

// or directly output pdf without saving
header('Content-Description: File Transfer');
header('Content-Type: application/pdf');
header('Content-Disposition: inline; filename=filename.pdf');
header('Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary');
header('Expires: 0');
header('Cache-Control: must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0');
header('Pragma: public');

echo base64_decode($pdf->getBase64());

Options headerTemplate and footerTemplate:

Should be valid HTML markup with the following classes used to inject printing values into them:

  • date: formatted print date
  • title: document title
  • url: document location
  • pageNumber: current page number
  • totalPages: total pages in the document

Save downloads

You can set the path to save downloaded files.

// After creating a page.

Mouse API

The mouse API is dependent on the page instance and allows you to control the mouse's moves, clicks and scroll.

    ->move(10, 20)                             // Moves mouse to position x=10; y=20
    ->click()                                  // left-click on position set above
    ->move(100, 200, ['steps' => 5])           // move mouse to x=100; y=200 in 5 equal steps
    ->click(['button' => Mouse::BUTTON_RIGHT]; // right-click on position set above

// given the last click was on a link, the next step will wait
// for the page to load after the link was clicked

You can emulate the mouse wheel to scroll up and down in a page, frame, or element.

    ->scrollDown(100) // scroll down 100px
    ->scrollUp(50);   // scroll up 50px

Finding elements

The find method will search for elements using querySelector and move the cursor to a random position over it.

try {
    $page->mouse()->find('#a')->click(); // find and click at an element with id "a"

    $page->mouse()->find('.a', 10); // find the 10th or last element with class "a"
} catch (ElementNotFoundException $exception) {
    // element not found

This method will attempt to scroll right and down to bring the element to the visible screen. If the element is inside an internal scrollable section, try moving the mouse to inside that section first.

Keyboard API

The keyboard API is dependent on the page instance and allows you to type like a real user.

    ->typeRawKey('Tab') // type a raw key, such as Tab
    ->typeText('bar');  // type the text "bar"

To impersonate a real user you may want to add a delay between each keystroke using the setKeyInterval method:

$page->keyboard()->setKeyInterval(10); // sets a delay of 10 milliseconds between keystrokes

Key combinations

The methods press, type, and release can be used to send key combinations such as ctrl + v.

// ctrl + a to select all text
    ->press('control') // key names are case insensitive and trimmed
        ->type('a')    // press and release

// ctrl + c to copy and ctrl + v to paste it twice
    ->press('Ctrl') // alias for Control
        ->type('V') // upper and lower cases should behave the same way
    ->release();    // release all

You can press the same key several times in sequence, this is the equivalent to a user pressing and holding the key. The release event, however, will be sent only once per key.

Key aliases

Key Aliases
Control Control, Ctrl, Ctr
Alt Alt, AltGr, Alt Gr
Meta Meta, Command, Cmd
Shift Shift

Cookie API

You can set and get cookies for a page:

Set Cookie

use HeadlessChromium\Cookies\Cookie;

$page = $browser->createPage();

// example 1: set cookies for a given domain

    Cookie::create('name', 'value', [
        'domain' => '',
        'expires' => time() + 3600 // expires in 1 hour

// example 2: set cookies for the current page


    Cookie::create('name', 'value', ['expires'])

Get Cookies

use HeadlessChromium\Cookies\Cookie;

$page = $browser->createPage();

// example 1: get all cookies for the browser

$cookies = $page->getAllCookies();

// example 2: get cookies for the current page

$cookies = $page->getCookies();

// filter cookies with name == 'foo'
$cookiesFoo = $cookies->filterBy('name', 'foo');

// find first cookie with name == 'bar'
$cookieBar = $cookies->findOneBy('name', 'bar');
if ($cookieBar) {
    // do something

Set user agent

You can set up a user-agent per page:

$page->setUserAgent('my user-agent');

See also BrowserFactory option userAgent to set up it for the whole browser.

Advanced usage

The library ships with tools that hide all the communication logic but you can use the tools used internally to communicate directly with Chrome debug protocol.


use HeadlessChromium\Communication\Connection;
use HeadlessChromium\Communication\Message;

// Chrome devtools URI
$webSocketUri = 'ws://';

// create a connection
$connection = new Connection($webSocketUri);

// send method "Target.activateTarget"
$responseReader = $connection->sendMessage(new Message('Target.activateTarget', ['targetId' => 'xxx']));

// wait up to 1000ms for a response
$response = $responseReader->waitForResponse(1000);

Create a session and send a message to the target

// given a target id
$targetId = 'yyy';

// create a session for this target (attachToTarget)
$session = $connection->createSession($targetId);

// send message to this target (Target.sendMessageToTarget)
$response = $session->sendMessageSync(new Message('Page.reload'));


You can ease the debugging by setting a delay before each operation is made:

  $connection->setConnectionDelay(500); // wait for 500ms between each operation to ease debugging

Browser (standalone)

use HeadlessChromium\Communication\Connection;
use HeadlessChromium\Browser;

// Chrome devtools URI
$webSocketUri = 'ws://';

// create connection given a WebSocket URI
$connection = new Connection($webSocketUri);

// create browser
$browser = new Browser($connection);

Interacting with DOM

Find one element on a page by CSS selector:

$page = $browser->createPage();

$elem = $page->dom()->querySelector('#index_email');

Find all elements inside another element by CSS selector:

$elem = $page->dom()->querySelector('#index_email');

Find all elements on a page by XPath selector:

$page = $browser->createPage();

$elem = $page->dom()->search('//div/*/a');

Wait for an element by CSS selector:

$page = $browser->createPage();


If a string is passed to Page::waitUntilContainsElement, an instance of CSSSelector is created for you by Page::waitForElement. To use other selectors, you can pass an instance of the required Selector.

Wait for element by XPath selector:

use HeadlessChromium\Dom\Selector\XPathSelector;

$page = $browser->createPage();

$page->waitUntilContainsElement(new XPathSelector('//div[contains(text(), "content")]'));

You can send out a text to an element or click on it:

$elem->sendKeys('Sample text');

You can upload file to file from the input:


You can get element text or attribute:

$text = $elem->getText();
$attr = $elem->getAttribute('class');


See for contribution details.


This project is licensed under the The MIT License (MIT).