Composer is a tool for dependency management in PHP. It allows you to declare the libraries your project depends on and it will manage (install/update) them for you.
Composer is not a package manager in the same sense as Yum or Apt are. Yes,
it deals with "packages" or libraries, but it manages them on a per-project
basis, installing them in a directory (e.g.
vendor) inside your project. By
default it does not install anything globally. Thus, it is a dependency
manager. It does however support a "global" project for convenience via the
- You have a project that depends on a number of libraries.
- Some of those libraries depend on other libraries.
- Enables you to declare the libraries you depend on.
- Finds out which versions of which packages can and need to be installed, and installs them (meaning it downloads them into your project).
See the Basic usage chapter for more details on declaring dependencies.
Composer requires PHP 5.3.2+ to run. A few sensitive php settings and compile flags are also required, but when using the installer you will be warned about any incompatibilities.
To install packages from sources instead of simple zip archives, you will need git, svn, fossil or hg depending on how the package is version-controlled.
Composer is multi-platform and we strive to make it run equally well on Windows, Linux and OSX.
Installation - Linux / Unix / OSX
Downloading the Composer Executable
Composer offers a convenient installer that you can execute directly from the commandline. Feel free to download this file or review it on GitHub if you wish to know more about the inner workings of the installer. The source is plain PHP.
There are in short, two ways to install Composer. Locally as part of your project, or globally as a system wide executable.
Installing Composer locally is a matter of just running the installer in your project directory. See the Download page for instructions.
The installer will just check a few PHP settings and then download
composer.phar to your working directory. This file is the Composer binary. It
is a PHAR (PHP archive), which is an archive format for PHP which can be run on
the command line, amongst other things.
Now just run
php composer.phar in order to run Composer.
You can install Composer to a specific directory by using the
option and additionally (re)name it as well using the
--filename option. When
running the installer when following
the Download page instructions add the
php composer-setup.php --install-dir=bin --filename=composer
Now just run
php bin/composer in order to run Composer.
You can place the Composer PHAR anywhere you wish. If you put it in a directory
that is part of your
PATH, you can access it globally. On unixy systems you
can even make it executable and invoke it without directly using the
After running the installer following the Download page instructions you can run this to move composer.phar to a directory that is in your path:
mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer
Note: If the above fails due to permissions, you may need to run it again with sudo.
Note: On some versions of OSX the
/usrdirectory does not exist by default. If you receive the error "/usr/local/bin/composer: No such file or directory" then you must create the directory manually before proceeding:
mkdir -p /usr/local/bin.
Note: For information on changing your PATH, please read the Wikipedia article and/or use Google.
Now just run
composer in order to run Composer instead of
Installation - Windows
Using the Installer
This is the easiest way to get Composer set up on your machine.
Download and run
Composer-Setup.exe. It will
install the latest Composer version and set up your PATH so that you can just
composer from any directory in your command line.
Note: Close your current terminal. Test usage with a new terminal: This is important since the PATH only gets loaded when the terminal starts.
Change to a directory on your
PATH and run the installer following
the Download page instructions
Create a new
composer.bat file alongside
C:\bin>echo @php "%~dp0composer.phar" %*>composer.bat
Add the directory to your PATH environment variable if it isn't already. For information on changing your PATH variable, please see this article and/or use Google.
Close your current terminal. Test usage with a new terminal:
C:\Users\username>composer -V Composer version 1.0.0 2016-01-10 20:34:53
Now that you've installed Composer, you are ready to use it! Head on over to the next chapter for a short and simple demonstration.