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Running Tests



phpBB unit tests use the PHPUnit framework (see for more information). Version 3.5 or higher is required to run the tests. PHPUnit can be installed via Composer together with other development dependencies as follows.

$ cd phpBB
$ php ../composer.phar install --dev
$ cd ..

PHP extensions

Unit tests use several PHP extensions that board code does not use. Currently the following PHP extensions must be installed and enabled to run unit tests:

  • ctype (also a PHPUnit dependency)
  • dom (PHPUnit dependency)
  • json (also a phpBB dependency)

Some of the functionality in phpBB and/or the test suite uses additional PHP extensions. If these extensions are not loaded, respective tests will be skipped:

  • apc (APC cache driver, php5 only)
  • apcu (APCu cache driver - native API, php7+)
  • apcu_bc, apcu (APCu cache driver - APC API, php7+)
  • bz2 (compress tests)
  • mysql, pdo_mysql (MySQL database driver)
  • mysqli, pdo_mysql (MySQLi database driver)
  • pcntl (flock class)
  • pdo (any database tests)
  • pgsql, pdo_pgsql (PostgreSQL database driver)
  • redis (, Redis cache driver)
  • simplexml (any database tests)
  • sqlite, pdo_sqlite (SQLite database driver, requires SQLite 2.x support in pdo_sqlite)
  • zlib (compress tests)

Database Tests

By default all tests requiring a database connection will use sqlite. If you do not have sqlite installed the tests will be skipped. If you wish to run the tests on a different database you have to create a test_config.php file within your tests directory following the same format as phpBB's config.php. Testing makes use of a separate database defined in this config file and before running the tests each time this database is deleted. An example for mysqli can be found below. More information on configuration options can be found on the wiki (see below).

$dbms = 'phpbb\db\driver\mysqli';
$dbhost = 'localhost';
$dbport = '';
$dbname = 'database';
$dbuser = 'user';
$dbpasswd = 'password';

It is possible to have multiple test_config.php files, for example if you are testing on multiple databases. You can specify which test_config.php file to use in the environment as follows:

$ PHPBB_TEST_CONFIG=tests/test_config.php phpunit

Alternatively you can specify parameters in the environment, so e.g. the following will run PHPUnit with the same parameters as in the shown test_config.php file:

$ PHPBB_TEST_DBMS='mysqli' PHPBB_TEST_DBHOST='localhost' \
  PHPBB_TEST_DBPASSWD='password' phpunit

Special Database Cases

In order to run tests on some of the databases that we support, it will be necessary to provide a custom DSN string in test_config.php. This is only needed for MSSQL 2000+ (PHP module) and MSSQL via ODBC. The variable must be named $custom_dsn.

Example MSSQL:

$custom_dsn = "Driver={SQL Server Native Client 10.0};Server=$dbhost;Database=$dbname";

The other fields in test_config.php should be filled out as you would normally to connect to that database in phpBB.

Additionally, you will need to be running the DbUnit fork from


In order to run tests for the Redis cache driver, at least one of Redis host or port must be specified in test configuration. This can be done via test_config.php as follows:

$phpbb_redis_host = 'localhost';
$phpbb_redis_port = 6379;

Or via environment variables as follows:



Once the prerequisites are installed, run the tests from the project root directory (above phpBB):

$ phpBB/vendor/bin/phpunit

To generate an xml log file, run:

$ phpBB/vendor/bin/phpunit --log-junit tests/tmp/log/log.xml

If you are getting a memory exhausted error after running a few tests, you can try running:

$ phpBB/vendor/bin/phpunit -d memory_limit=2048M

Slow tests

Certain tests, such as the DNS tests tend to be slow. Thus these tests are in the slow group, which is excluded by default. You can enable slow tests by copying the phpunit.xml.all file to phpunit.xml. If you only want the slow tests, run:

$ phpBB/vendor/bin/phpunit --group slow

If you want all tests, run:

$ phpBB/vendor/bin/phpunit --group __nogroup__,functional,slow

Functional tests

Functional tests test software the way a user would. They simulate a user browsing the website, but they do these steps in an automated way. phpBB allows you to write such tests.


Running the tests requires your phpBB3 repository to be accessible through a local web server. You will need to supply the URL to the webserver in the 'tests/test_config.php' file. This is as simple as defining the '$phpbb_functional_url' variable, which contains the URL for the directory containing the board. Make sure you include the trailing slash. Note that without extensive changes to the test framework, you cannot use a board outside of the repository on which to run tests.

$phpbb_functional_url = 'http://localhost/phpBB3/';

Functional tests are automatically run, if '$phpbb_functional_url' is configured. If you only want the functional tests, run:

$ phpBB/vendor/bin/phpunit --group functional

This will change your board's config.php file, but it makes a backup at config_dev.php, so you can restore it after the test run is complete.

UI tests

UI tests are functional tests that also support running JavaScript in a headless browser. These should be used when functionality that is only executed using JS needs to be tested. They require a running PhantomJS WebDriver instance. The executable can either be downloaded from PhantomJS or alternatively be installed with npm:

$ npm install -g phantomjs-prebuilt

You might have to run the command as superuser / administrator on some systems. Afterwards, a new WebDriver instance can be started via command line:

$ phantomjs --webdriver=

Port 8910 is the default port that will be used by UI tests to connect to the WebDriver instance.

More Information

Further information is available on phpbb wiki:

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