PHP Memory Usage and Performance Improvements Tips

Memory usage and performance improvements make everybody happier, from end-user to cloud and infrastructure engineers. And they are all right, and this is an optimization that we should try to achieve as much as possible.

I am also keeping this page for a reference to my future self because we cannot rely too much on our memory, and that will be a good reference I want to re-visit. I will make constant updates on this page. Let's have fun.

Use objects with declared properties over array

Arrays have a larger footprint to avoid constant memory pointers reassignments. It then reserves large amounts of memory when more elements or indexes are added.

Image for array vs object memory usage

Be careful to self-referencing that would prevent garbage collector from work

Garbage collector is working as expected when the internal reference count (how may times a value is used) reaches zero:

$x = "foobar";    // refcount = 1
$y = $x;            // refcount = 2
unset($x);      // refcount = 1
unset($y);      // refcount = 0 -> garbage collector will be happy ==> Destroy!

But self-referencing can be tricky:

$x = [];            // refcount = 1
$x[0] =& $x;    // refcount = 2
unset($x);      // refcount = 1
                    // It will never come to zero due to cycle

Cycle collector will eventually destroy it, but it will hang on memory for a while anyway.

PHP Benchmarking was constructed as a way to open people's eyes to the fact that not every PHP code snippet will run at the same speed. You may be surprised at the results that this page generates, but that is ok. This page was also created so that you would be able to find discovery in these statistics and then maybe re-run these tests in your own server environment to play around with this idea yourself, by using the code examples (these code examples are automatically generated and as the code in my .php files change, so do they).

PHP benchmarks and optimizations

Collection of tests and benchmarks for common operations in PHP. Tests run on several versions of PHP. There is an option to compare different solutions for the same problem to compare performances between them, such as checking values with isset against !empty.

PHP Test Coverage Using Bitbucket and Codacy


In computer science, code coverage is a measure used to describe the degree to which the source code of a program is tested by a particular test suite. A program with high code coverage has been more thoroughly tested and has a lower chance of containing software bugs than a program with low code coverage.

Testing is an unavoidable process for building a trustful software. Unfortunately, in PHP world we have a massive number of legacy software still running today that are very valuable but born in an age where testing was skipped for various reasons.

As today we are refactoring those untested systems into tested ones or we are creating new projects already focusing on having tests, we can go one step further and measure the code coverage, leveraging bug protection and code quality.

You can use these steps for a legacy project, a new project, a well-covered project, a poorly covered project; no matter the state of your project.

We are considering a PHP project using Bitbucket Pipelines as our CI and Codacy for monitoring our test coverage reports but the main concepts could be easily used when using other tools.

Table of contents:

  1. Dependencies installation
  2. PHPUnit configuration
  3. Set up Codacy project API token
  4. Pipelines configuration

1. Dependencies installation

Use composer to install dependencies:

composer require --dev phpunit/php-code-coverage codacy/coverage

Installation results would be similar to:

Using version ^1.4 for codacy/coverage
./composer.json has been updated
Loading composer repositories with package information
Updating dependencies (including require-dev)
Package operations: 3 installs, 0 updates, 0 removals
  - Installing symfony/process (v5.0.4): Downloading (100%)
  - Installing gitonomy/gitlib (v1.2.0): Downloading (100%)
  - Installing codacy/coverage (1.4.3): Downloading (100%)
Writing lock file
Generating autoload files
ocramius/package-versions:  Generating version class...
ocramius/package-versions: ...done generating version class

2. PHPUnit configuration

We need to configure at least whitelist and logging sections. They are required to code coverage.

Whitelist is the section that determines which files will be considered as your available code and how existent tests cover this code.

As I want that all my code loaded and analyzes by PHPUnit, I will set processUncoveredFilesFromWhitelist. Considering that all my code is under ./src folder:

    <!-- ... -->
        <!-- ... -->
        <whitelist processUncoveredFilesFromWhitelist="true">
            <directory suffix=".php">./src</directory>

Logging is where we configure logging of the test execution. Clover configuration is enough for now:

    <!-- ... -->
      <log type="coverage-clover" target="/tmp/coverage.xml"/>

You should now run your tests locally to ensure that you can fix everything that will be analyzed by PHPUnit. All errors have to be fixed. One example that might appear:

Fatal error: Interface 'InterfaceClass' not found in /var/www/src/Example/Application/ClassService.php on line 5



namespace Example;

class ClassService implements InterfaceClass {
    /* */

I have a class extending from another but I missed the import for the parent class.


namespace Example;

use Example\Domain\InterfaceClass;

class ClassService implements InterfaceClass {
    /* */

And now I am good. After fixing all errors that might appear (and discovering some dead classes...), we test results and report generation message:

OK (10 tests, 17 assertions)

Generating code coverage report in Clover XML format ... done [5.71 seconds]

This has already configured code coverage. We will use Codacy as a tool to keep track of code coverage status, representing them in a beautiful dashboard and some other tools such as a check for new pull requests.

3. Set up Codacy project API token

For sending coverage results to Codacy, we need the project API token. This is located at Settings > Integrations tab.

If there is already a code, you can use it. Otherwise, generate one. A project token would look like something as:

a9564ebc3289b7a14551baf8ad5ec60a // not real

We will use this as an environment variable at Bitbucket. At your project in Bitbucket, go to Configurations > Pipelines > Repository Variables. In my case, I used:

Value: a9564ebc3289b7a14551baf8ad5ec60a

I want the value securely encrypted. Then I mark "Secure".

Right now we have Codacy token and the value enabled to use as an environment variable at our pipeline.

4. Pipelines configuration

For Pipelines now you should provide API token as an environment variable:


Enable xdebug:

  - pecl install xdebug-2.9.2 && docker-php-ext-enable xdebug

And execute codacycoverage to send saved report to Codacy:

  - src/vendor/bin/codacycoverage clover /tmp/coverage.xml

Considering one of my legacy projects that I am adding code coverage, this could be my unit test step:

  • using alpine
  • source code (whitelisted) at site/src
  • logfile generated at /tmp/unit-clover.xml
  • g++ gcc make git php7-dev are required to install and enable xdebug
    - step: &step-unit-tests
        name: unit tests
        image: php:7.2-alpine
          - composer
          - apk add --no-cache g++ gcc make git php7-dev
          - pecl install xdebug-2.9.2 && docker-php-ext-enable xdebug
          - site/src/vendor/bin/phpunit -c tests/Unit/phpunit.xml
          - site/src/vendor/bin/codacycoverage clover /tmp/unit-clover.xml

After being successfully executed by pipelines, you may see the results at your Codacy dashboard.

Now code with love.
And coverage.

Useful links:

Tropeçando 83

PostgreSQL Tuning: Key Things to Drive Performance

Performance is one of the key requirements in software architecture design, and has been the focus of PostgreSQL developers since its beginnings

Illuminate your career

If you are a developer, this article is for you.

5 Things You Have Never Done with a REST Specification

How to to Backup Linux with Snapshots

While working on different web projects I have accumulated a large pool of tools and services to facilitate the work of developers, system administrators and DevOps
One of the first challenges, that every developer faces at the end of each project is backup configuration and maintenance of media files, UGC, databases, application and servers' data (e.g. configuration files).

Awesome PHP

A curated list of amazingly awesome PHP libraries, resources and shiny things.

Tropeçando 78

Replicação: o que mudou

Detalhes das mudanças na replicação do PostgreSQL desde a versão 9.0 até a 9.6.

What the hell are Generics and would I want them in PHP?

So everyone is talking about this hip “new” kid on the block for PHP: Generics. The RFC is on the table and a lot of people are getting all excited about it, but you don’t fully see the excitement? Let’s explore what it’s all about!

The Easy Way to Setup PostgreSQL 10 Logical Replication

PostgreSQL workings in one picture

With the below illustration I attempted to capture key processes that encompass Postgres workflow. Here is a quick overview.

Speeding up Application Development with Bootstrap

Bootstrap is one of the best and most used HTML/CSS/JS front-end frameworks. Almost any web developer who has made a website or two has heard of this popular framework. It offers so many ready-made components and resources, Bootstrap can significantly speed up your application development.

Tropeçando 76

Crie um proxy SOCKS em um servidor Linux com SSH para ignorar filtros de conteúdo

O método mais rápido para melhorar o desempenho de qualquer Servidor de Aplicações Web PHP usando MySQL ou PostgreSQL

Getting first and last values per group

Every so often someone needs solution to getting first (or couple of first) values for given column. Or last. For some cases (when there is not many groups) you can use recursive queries. But it's not always the best choice. Let's try to implement first() and last() aggregates, so these could be easily used by anybody.

Deep dive into postgres stats: pg_stat_database

In this post we continue our discussion about postgres stats. This time we’ll be focusing on pg_stat_database. As mentioned in postgres documentation, this view contains one row for each database in the cluster, showing database-wide statistics. It is well known that postgres may have several databases within single instance, hence this view contains stats about all of them.

Roadmap to becoming a web developer in 2017

Tropeçando 75

Dply – Serviço permite criar um servidor Linux na nuvem que fica disponível por 2 horas gratuitamente

Promise Anti-patterns

Promises are very simple once you get your head around them, but there are a few gotchas that can leave you with your head scratching. Here are a few that got me.

PG Phriday: Why Postgres

Generic HTTP Error Handling in AngularJS

Lately during development at one of our clients, Ravello Systems, we decided we wanted better HTTP error handling.

Basically, our perfect solution would have generic handlers for errors, and most calls in the code will not have to do any special work for handling errors. This means that things like authentication problems, server unavailability issues, etc. will be handled in one place — like adding a generic “something went wrong” modal.

The Fastest Method to Evaluate Tune the Performance of Any PHP Web Application Server using MySQL or PostgreSQL

In the Web development world, we often have the problem of choosing the right server to use in the production environment of a Web application.

Maybe we need to buy a new server to handle the expected load, or maybe the customer wants to deploy in an existing server.

In any case, if after deploying and running the application it will show poor performance, then we need to ask the team what we can do to make the application faster or use a better server.

Therefore we need to determine if the application is performing well. Read this article to learn how to quickly determine the performance of an application on the current server.

Postgres 9.6 Features

The Definitive Guide to DateTime Manipulation

As a software developer, you can’t run away from date manipulation. Almost every app a developer builds will have some component where date/time needs to be obtained from the user, stored in a database, and displayed back to the user. – My personal OS report

The script collects a lot of information about the running system and save the output of each commands in a text file, and saves copies of important files in a directory named files. At the end of the script everything is compressed with tar in the global directory.

Faster PostgreSQL Counting

Everybody counts, but not always quickly. This article is a close look into how PostgreSQL optimizes counting. If you know the tricks there are ways to count rows orders of magnitude faster than you do already.

Tropeçando 71

PG Phriday: Displaced Durability

Há tabelas que possuem dados com os quais você não se importa de perdê-los. São situações de dados transientes, como áreas de dados passageiros, tabelas temporárias persistentes, tabelas com dados crus de importação. Por quê não aproveitar o fato do PostgreSQL oferecer a opção de ser UNLOGGED? Ainda mais porque pode-se evitar usar recursos do servidor desnecessariamente.

Check your pg_dump compression levels

Ao realizar backups do banco PostgreSQL, há muitas situações em que encontramos uma sobrecarga inesperada e o nível de compressão escolhido para fazer o backup pode ter ação direta sobre isso. Como a compressão nem sempre é tão importante, não esquecer este detalhe pode poupar incômodos desnecessários em operações de backup que não as rotineiras.

How to install an Opensource VPN Server on Linux

Instalação de VPN própria para assegurar o controle do tráfego em conexões.

Filtrando e validando dados no PHP com filter_var()

Entrada de dados é uma característica de quase a totalidade dos sistema ou sites. É indispensável, para segurança dos dados, filtrar esta entrada a fim de evitar invasões, roubo de dados ou inconsistência. No PHP, aprenda a fazer isso usando filter_var().

FFmpeg no Ubuntu: veja como instalar esse pacote no 14.04/14.10 via repositório

Trabalhando com logs no PostgreSQL

Dicas de configurações de log em servidores PostgreSQL. As informações contidas em logs são essenciais em muitos problemas e importantes para a saúde da aplicação e do sistema de banco de dados.

Codility – PermMissingElem

I scored 100% in #php on @Codility!

Training ticket

ID: trainingWEF9F8-YEU
Time limit: 120 min.

Status: closed
Created on: 2016-01-17 03:25 UTC
Started on: 2016-01-17 03:25 UTC
Finished on: 2016-01-17 03:40 UTC

Training ticket (real finishing time)

ID: trainingCSVQV7-4KF
Time limit: 120 min.

Status: closed
Created on: 2016-01-17 04:29 UTC
Started on: 2016-01-17 04:29 UTC
Finished on: 2016-01-17 04:30 UTC