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The AWS SDK for PHP 2 enables PHP developers to build solutions with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Glacier, and more. With the AWS SDK for PHP 2, developers can get started in minutes with a single, downloadable .phar file, or by using Composer.

This latest addition to the AWS SDKs family provides developers with a more modern, extensible, easy to use, and performant AWS client for PHP. This new version is built on top of Guzzle, a PHP HTTP client framework, which provides increased performance, persistent connection management, and an extensible plug-in system. The AWS SDK for PHP 2 requires PHP 5.3.2.

Table of Contents

  1. New Features
  2. Before Using the SDK
  3. Installing the SDK
  4. Using the SDK
  5. Additional Information

New Features

  • PHP 5.3 namespaces
  • Follows PSR-0, PSR-1, and PSR-2 standards
  • Built on Guzzle and utilizes the Guzzle feature set
  • Persistent connection management for both serial and parallel requests
  • Event hooks (via Symfony2 EventDispatcher) for event-driven, custom behavior
  • Request and response entity bodies are stored in php://temp streams to reduce memory usage
  • Transient networking and cURL failures are automatically retried using truncated exponential backoff
  • Plug-ins for over-the-wire logging and response caching
  • "Waiter" objects that allow you to poll a resource until it is in a desired state
  • Resource iterator objects for easily iterating over paginated responses
  • Service-specific sets of exceptions
  • Modelled responses with a simpler interface
  • Grouped constants (Enums) for service parameter options
  • Flexible request batching system
  • Service builder/container that supports easy configuration and dependency injection
  • Full unit test suite with extensive code coverage
  • Composer support for installing and autoloading SDK dependencies
  • Phing build.xml for installing dev tools, driving testing, and producing .phar files
  • Powerful Amazon DynamoDB batch write system
  • Powerful Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Glacier multipart upload system
  • Redesigned DynamoDB Session Handler
  • Improved multi-region support

Before Using the SDK

There is some basic information you need to know before you get started using the SDK.

Signing Up for AWS

Before you begin, you need to create an account. When you sign up for AWS, AWS signs your account up for all services. You are charged only for the services you use.

To sign up for AWS

  1. Go to and click Sign Up Now.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions.

AWS sends you a confirmation email after the sign-up process is complete. At any time, you can view your current account activity and manage your account at From the My Account page, you can view current charges and account activity and download usage reports.

To view your AWS credentials

  1. Go to
  2. Click My Account/Console, and then click Security Credentials.
  3. Under Your Account, click Security Credentials.
  4. In the spaces provided, type your user name and password, and then click Sign in using our secure server.
  5. Under Access Credentials, on the Access Keys tab, your access key ID is displayed. To view your secret key, under Secret Access Key, click Show.

Your secret key must remain a secret that is known only by you and AWS. Keep it confidential in order to protect your account. Store it securely in a safe place, and never email it. Do not share it outside your organization, even if an inquiry appears to come from AWS or No one who legitimately represents Amazon will ever ask you for your secret key.

Getting your AWS credentials

In order to use the AWS SDK for PHP, you need your AWS Access Key ID and Secret Access Key.

To get your AWS Access Key ID and Secret Access Key

  • Go to
  • Click Account and then click Security Credentials. The Security Credentials page displays (you might be prompted to log in).
  • Scroll down to Access Credentials and make sure the Access Keys tab is selected. The AWS Access Key ID appears in the Access Key column.
  • To view the Secret Access Key, click Show.

Important: your Secret Access Key is a secret, which only you and AWS should know. It is important to keep it confidential to protect your account. Store it securely in a safe place. Never include it in your requests to AWS, and never e-mail it to anyone. Do not share it outside your organization, even if an inquiry appears to come from AWS or No one who legitimately represents Amazon will ever ask you for your Secret Access Key.

Minimum requirements

Aside from a baseline understanding of object-oriented programming in PHP (including PHP 5.3 namespaces), there are a few minimum system requirements to start using the AWS SDK for PHP 2. The extensions listed are common and are installed with PHP 5.3 by default in most environments.

  • Minimum requirements
    • PHP 5.3.2+ compiled with the cURL extension
    • A recent version of cURL 7.16.2+ compiled with OpenSSL and zlib
  • To use Amazon CloudFront private distributions, you must have the OpenSSL PHP extension (which is not the same as any low-level OpenSSL libraries you may have installed on your system) to sign private CloudFront URLs.
  • To improve the overall performance of your PHP environment, as well as to enable in-memory caching, it is highly recommended that you install an opcode cache such as APC, XCache, or another extension that can be used by Doctrine\Common\Cache.

Installing the SDK

Installing via Composer

Using Composer is the recommended way to install the AWS SDK for PHP 2. Composer is dependency management tool for PHP that allows you to declare the dependencies your project needs and installs them into your project. In order to use the AWS SDK for PHP 2 through Composer, you must do the following:

  1. Add "aws/aws-sdk-php" as a dependency in your project's composer.json file.

            "require": {
                "aws/aws-sdk-php": "2.*"

    Consider tightening your dependencies to a known version when deploying mission critical applications (e.g., 2.0.*).

  2. Download and install Composer.

     curl -s "" | php
  3. Install your dependencies.

     php composer.phar install
  4. Require Composer's autoloader.

    Composer also prepares an autoload file that's capable of autoloading all of the classes in any of the libraries that it downloads. To use it, just add the following line to your code's bootstrap process.

     require '/path/to/sdk/vendor/autoload.php';

You can find out more on how to install Composer, configure autoloading, and other best-practices for defining dependencies at

Installing via Phar

Each release of the AWS SDK for PHP ships with a pre-packaged phar file containing all of the classes and dependencies you need to run the SDK. Additionally, the phar file automatically registers a class autoloader for the AWS SDK for PHP and all of its dependencies when included. Bundled with the phar file are the following required and suggested libraries:

You can download the packaged Phar at Simply include it in your scripts to get started:

require 'aws.phar';

Installing via PEAR

PEAR, which stands for PHP Extension and Application Repository, is a framework and distribution system for reusable PHP components. It is the PHP equivalent of other package management solutions like Yum that install packages system-wide.

PEAR packages are easy to install, and are available in your PHP environment path so that they are accessible to any PHP project. PEAR packages are not specific to your project, but rather to the machine they're installed on.

From the command-line, you can install the SDK with PEAR as follows. Note: You may need to use sudo for the following command.

pear -D auto_discover=1 install

Once the SDK has been installed via PEAR, you can load the phar into your project with:

require 'AWSSDKforPHP/aws.phar';

Using the SDK

Quick Start

You can quickly get up and running by using a web service client's factory method to instantiate clients as needed.


// Include the SDK along with your other project dependencies
// using the Composer autoloader
require 'vendor/autoload.php';

use Aws\DynamoDb\DynamoDbClient;
use Aws\Common\Enum\Region;

// Instantiate the DynamoDB client with your AWS credentials
$client = DynamoDbClient::factory(array(
    'key'    => 'your-aws-access-key-id',
    'secret' => 'your-aws-secret-access-key',
    'region' => Region::US_WEST_2

$table = 'posts';

// Create a "posts" table
$result = $client->createTable(array(
    'TableName' => $table,
    'KeySchema' => array(
        'HashKeyElement' => array(
            'AttributeName' => 'slug',
            'AttributeType' => 'S'
    'ProvisionedThroughput' => array(
        'ReadCapacityUnits'  => 10,
        'WriteCapacityUnits' => 5

// Wait until the table is created and active
$client->waitUntil('TableExists', $table);

echo "The {$table} table has been created.\n";

Note: Instantiating a client without providing credentials causes the client to attempt to retrieve IAM Instance Profile credentials.

The preceding syntax for creating a table should look familiar to those who have used the first AWS SDK. One difference is that every service operation (or "command") now accepts only a single array as an argument.

The createTable() method doesn't actually exist on the client. It is implemented using the __call() magic method of the client and acts as a shortcut to instantiate a command, execute the command, and retrieve the result.


// The shortcut via __call
$result = $client->createTable(array(/* ... */));

// The command based syntax
$command = $client->getCommand('CreateTable', array(/* ... */));
$result = $command->getResult();

When using the command based syntax, the return value is a "Command" object, which encapsulates the request and response of the call to AWS. From the command object, you can call the getResult() method (as in the preceding example) or the execute() method to get the parsed result, or you can call the getResponse() method if you need to get information about the response (e.g., the status code or the raw response).

The command object can also be useful when you want to manipulate the request before execution or need to execute several commands in parallel. It also supports a chainable syntax.


$result = $client->getCommand('ListTables')
    ->set('Limit', 5)
    ->set('ExclusiveStartTableName', 'some-table-name')

Using the Service Builder

When using the SDK, you have the option to use individual factory methods for each client or the Aws\Common\Aws class to build your clients. The Aws\Common\Aws class is a service builder and dependency injection container for the SDK and is the recommended way for instantiating clients. The service builder allows you to share configuration options between multiple services and pre-wires short service names with the appropriate client class.

The following example shows how to use the service builder to retrieve a Aws\DynamoDb\DynamoDbClient and perform the GetItem operation using the command syntax.

Passing an associative array of parameters as the first or second argument of Aws\Common\Aws::factory() treats the parameters as shared across all clients generated by the builder. In the example, we tell the service builder to use the same credentials for every client.

Note: Unlike the prior SDK, service clients throw exceptions for failed requests. Be sure to use try and catch blocks appropriately.


// Include the SDK using the phar
require 'aws.phar';

use Aws\Common\Aws;
use Aws\Common\Enum\Region;
use Aws\DynamoDb\Exception\DynamoDbException;

// Create a service building using shared credentials for each service
$aws = Aws::factory(array(
    'key'    => 'your-aws-access-key-id',
    'secret' => 'your-aws-secret-access-key',
    'region' => Region::US_WEST_2

// Retrieve the DynamoDB client by its short name from the service builder
$client = $aws->get('dynamodb');

// Get an item from the "posts"
try {
    $result = $client->getItem(array(
        'TableName' => 'posts',
        'Key' => $client->formatAttributes(array(
            'HashKeyElement' => 'using-dynamodb-with-the-php-sdk'
        'ConsistentRead' => true

} catch (DynamoDbException $e) {
    echo 'The item could not be retrieved.';

Passing an associative array of parameters to the first or second argument of Aws\Common\Aws::factory() will treat the parameters as shared parameters across all clients generated by the builder. In the above example, we are telling the service builder to use the same credentials for every client.


When passing an array of parameters to the first argument of Aws\Common\Aws::factory(), the service builder loads the default aws-config.php file and merge the array of shared parameters into the default configuration.

Excerpt from src/Aws/Common/Resources/aws-config.php:

return array(
    'services' => array(
        'default_settings' => array(
            'params' => array()
        'dynamodb' => array(
            'extends' => 'default_settings',
            'class'   => 'Aws\DynamoDb\DynamoDbClient'
        's3' => array(
            'extends' => 'default_settings',
            'class'   => 'Aws\S3\S3Client'

The aws-config.php file provides default configuration settings for associating client classes with service names. This file tells the Aws\Common\Aws service builder which class to instantiate when you reference a client by name.

None of the service configurations have defined key or secret settings. Unless you wish to use IAM Instance Profile credentials, you will need to supply credentials to the service builder in order to use access credentials with each client. For example, the code sample in Using the Service Builder is using the default aws-config.json file and merging shared credentials into each client by passing an array into the first argument of Aws\Common\Aws::factory().

Using a Custom Configuration File

You can use a custom configuration file that allows you to create custom named clients with pre-configured settings.

Let's say you want to use the default aws-config.php settings, but you want to supply your keys using a configuration file. Each service defined in the default configuration file extends from default_settings service. You can create a custom configuration file that extends the default configuration file and add credentials to the default_settings service:

return array(
    'includes' => array('_aws'),
    'services' => array(
        'default_settings' => array(
            'params' => array(
                'key'    => 'your-aws-access-key-id',
                'secret' => 'your-aws-secret-access-key',
                'region' => 'us-west-2'

You can use your custom configuration file with the Aws\Common\Aws class by passing the full path to the configuration file in the first argument of the factory() method:


require 'aws.phar';
use Aws\Common\Aws;

$aws = Aws::factory('/path/to/custom/config.php');

You can create custom named services if you need to use multiple accounts with the same service:

return array(
    'includes' => array('_aws'),
    'services' => array(
        'foo.dynamodb' => array(
            'extends' => 'dynamodb',
            'params'  => array(
                'key'    => 'your-aws-access-key-id-for-foo',
                'secret' => 'your-aws-secret-access-key-for-foo',
                'region' => 'us-west-2'
        'bar.dynamodb' => array(
            'extends' => 'dynamodb',
            'params'  => array(
                'key'    => 'your-aws-access-key-id-for-bar',
                'secret' => 'your-aws-secret-access-key-for-bar',
                'region' => 'us-west-2'

If you prefer JSON syntax, you can define your configuration in JSON format instead of PHP.

    "includes": ["_aws"],
    "services": {
        "default_settings": {
            "params": {
                "key": "your-aws-access-key-id",
                "secret": "your-aws-secret-access-key",
                "region": "us-west-2"

Additional Information