Enabling Code Coverage in PHPUnit using Xdebug and Composer

PHPUnit is a robust testing framework for PHP developers, allowing them to write unit tests for their codebase and ensure it functions as expected. To make the most of PHPUnit, developers often enable code coverage, which provides valuable insights into the percentage of code executed during test runs. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up PHPUnit, enabling code coverage using Xdebug, and automating the configuration with Composer.


Before we begin, ensure that you have the following installed on your system:

  1. PHP (version 7.x or later)
  2. Composer (dependency management tool)
  3. Xdebug (PHP extension for code coverage)

Step 1: Installing PHPUnit via Composer

The first step is to install PHPUnit in your project using Composer. Create a composer.json file in the root of your project (if not already present) and add the following dependencies:

    "require-dev": {
        "phpunit/phpunit": "^9.0"

Save the file and run the following command in your terminal to install PHPUnit:

composer install

PHPUnit will now be installed along with its dependencies in the vendor directory.

Step 2: Writing PHPUnit Tests

Create a tests directory in your project’s root to store your PHPUnit test files. Each test file should be suffixed with Test.php, and test methods should verify the behavior of your code. For example:

// src/MyClass.php
class MyClass {
    public function add($a, $b) {
        return $a + $b;

// tests/MyClassTest.php
use PHPUnit\Framework\TestCase;

class MyClassTest extends TestCase {
    public function testAdd() {
        $myClass = new MyClass();
        $result = $myClass->add(2, 3);
        $this->assertEquals(5, $result);

Step 3: Setting up Xdebug for Code Coverage

Xdebug is essential for collecting code coverage data. Ensure Xdebug is installed on your system by running:

php -m | grep xdebug

If you don’t see any output, you may need to install Xdebug using a package manager like pecl.

Step 4: Enabling Code Coverage

To enable code coverage, add the following configuration to your php.ini file:


Ensure Xdebug is enabled in both the CLI and web server versions of PHP. Restart the web server and PHP-FPM service to apply the changes.

Step 5: Manual Code Coverage Report

To manually generate a code coverage report, run PHPUnit with the --coverage-html option:

./vendor/bin/phpunit --coverage-html coverage-report

Open the generated index.html file in the coverage-report directory to view the code coverage report.

Step 6: Automating Code Coverage with Composer

To automate code coverage setup using Composer, add the following script to your composer.json file:

  "scripts": {
    "test-covers": [
	    "@putenv XDEBUG_MODE=coverage",
            "composer install -q",
            "vendor/bin/phpunit --coverage-html coverage-report"

Now, whenever you run composer test-covers, PHPUnit will automatically enable code coverage using Xdebug.



1. PHPUnit Official Documentation:

  • Website: https://phpunit.de/documentation.html
  • PHPUnit documentation is a comprehensive resource that covers everything you need to know about PHPUnit, including installation, writing tests, and advanced features.

2. Xdebug Official Website:

  • Website: https://xdebug.org/
  • Xdebug’s official website provides detailed documentation, installation instructions, and configuration options for enabling code coverage and other debugging features.

3. Composer Official Website:

  • Website: https://getcomposer.org/
  • Composer’s official website is the go-to place for all things related to Composer. It offers documentation, usage examples, and a comprehensive list of available commands and options.

4. PHPUnit with Code Coverage Tutorial:

5. PHPUnit Code Coverage Analysis with Xdebug:

6. PHPUnit Best Practices:

7. PHPUnit and Composer:

8. PHPUnit and Continuous Integration (CI):

By exploring these linked resources, you can deepen your knowledge and expertise in using PHPUnit, Xdebug, and Composer effectively to write high-quality tests and maintain robust PHP applications. Happy coding and testing!


Enabling code coverage in PHPUnit using Xdebug is an essential practice for maintaining high-quality PHP codebases. With the help of Composer, you can streamline the setup process and ensure consistent code coverage across different environments and developers.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to write effective tests and gain valuable insights into the coverage of your PHP code, making it easier to identify potential issues and maintain a robust and reliable application. Happy testing!