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ci-phpunit-test for CodeIgniter 3.x

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An easier way to use PHPUnit with CodeIgniter 3.x.

  • You don't have to modify CodeIgniter core files at all.
  • You can write controller tests easily.
  • Nothing is untestable, maybe.
  • Well documented.

Screenshot: Running tests on NetBeans 8.1


  • PHP 5.4.0 or later (5.6 or later is recommended)
  • CodeIgniter 3.x
  • PHPUnit 4.3 to 7.5 (4.8 or later is recommended)
    • If you want to use PHPUnit 8 or later, please use ci-phpunit-test 2.x.
    • If you use PHPUnit 6.0, please use ci-phpunit-test v0.14.0 or later.
    • You can download old version of phpunit.phar from


  • NetBeans
    • Go to Project Properties > Testing > PHPUnit, check Use Custom Test Suite checkbox, and select application/tests/_ci_phpunit_test/TestSuiteProvider.php.

Change Log

See Change Log.

Folder Structure

├── application/
│   └── tests/
│        ├── _ci_phpunit_test/ ... don't touch! files ci-phpunit-test uses
│        ├── Bootstrap.php     ... bootstrap file for PHPUnit
│        ├── DbTestCase.php    ... DbTestCase class
│        ├── TestCase.php      ... TestCase class
│        ├── controllers/      ... put your controller tests
│        ├── libraries/        ... put your library tests
│        ├── mocks/
│        │   └── libraries/    ... mock libraries
│        ├── models/           ... put your model tests
│        └── phpunit.xml       ... config file for PHPUnit
└── vendor/


  1. Download latest ci-phpunit-test from
  2. Unzip and copy application/tests folder into your application folder in CodeIgniter project.

That's it.

Installation via Composer

If you like Composer:

$ cd /path/to/codeigniter/
$ composer require kenjis/ci-phpunit-test --dev

And run install.php:

$ php vendor/kenjis/ci-phpunit-test/install.php --from-composer
  • The above command always overwrites existing files.
  • You must run it at CodeIgniter project root folder.
  • Please remove the line <exclude>./_ci_phpunit_test/</exclude> in tests/phpunit.xml.
  • You can specify your application and public folder with option arguments, if you use custom folder paths.
$ php vendor/kenjis/ci-phpunit-test/install.php -a <application_dir> -p <public_dir>


  1. Download latest ci-phpunit-test from
  2. Unzip and replace application/tests/_ci_phpunit_test folder.
  3. Read Change Log.

Upgrading via Composer

If you like Composer:

$ cd /path/to/codeigniter/
$ composer update kenjis/ci-phpunit-test

If you're upgrading from a previous version of ci-phpunit-test that created an application/test/_ci_phpunit_test directory and now want to directly use ci-phpunit-test from Composer, you have a couple of additional steps:

  1. Delete the old test library directory: rm -rf /path/to/codeigniter/application/tests/_ci_phpunit_test
  2. Edit the application/tests/Bootstrap.php file. At the bottom of the "set the main path constants" section, add the following:
    define('CI_PHPUNIT_TESTPATH', implode(
        [dirname(APPPATH), 'vendor', 'kenjis', 'ci-phpunit-test', 'application', 'tests', '_ci_phpunit_test']
    And replace any references to __DIR__ . '/_ci_phpunit_test/ or TESTPATH . '_ci_phpunit_test with CI_PHPUNIT_TESTPATH . '. (So, for example, __DIR__ . '/_ci_phpunit_test/CIPHPUnitTest.php' would become CI_PHPUNIT_TESTPATH . '/CIPHPUnitTest.php'.)

Read Change Log.

How to Run Tests

You have to install PHPUnit before running tests.

Note: You must run phpunit command in application/tests folder.

$ cd /path/to/codeigniter/
$ cd application/tests/
$ phpunit
PHPUnit 4.8.31 by Sebastian Bergmann and contributors.


Time: 341 ms, Memory: 5.50Mb

OK (3 tests, 3 assertions)

Generating code coverage report in Clover XML format ... done

Generating code coverage report in HTML format ... done

To generate coverage report, Xdebug is needed.

If you want to run a single test case file:

$ phpunit models/Category_model_test.php

How to Write Tests

As an example, a test case class for Inventory_model would be as follows:


class Inventory_model_test extends TestCase
    public function setUp()
        $this->obj = $this->CI->Inventory_model;

    public function test_get_category_list()
        $expected = [
            1 => 'Book',
            2 => 'CD',
            3 => 'DVD',
        $list = $this->obj->get_category_list();
        foreach ($list as $category) {
            $this->assertEquals($expected[$category->id], $category->name);

    public function test_get_category_name()
        $actual = $this->obj->get_category_name(1);
        $expected = 'Book';
        $this->assertEquals($expected, $actual);

As an example, a test case class for Welcome controller would be as follows:


class Welcome_test extends TestCase
    public function test_index()
        $output = $this->request('GET', 'welcome/index');
            '<title>Welcome to CodeIgniter</title>', $output

See How to Write Tests for details.

Function/Class Reference

See Function and Class Reference.


See Tips.

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