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Blackfire Environments

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Now that our site is deployed - woo! - how can we get Blackfire working on it? Well... we already know the answer. If you find the Blackfire Install page... it makes it easy: I want to install on "a server"... and let's pretend it uses Ubuntu.

Getting Blackfire installed on your production machine is as easy as running the commands below to install the Blackfire PHP extension - the Probe, install the Agent and configure the agent with our server id and token. Easy peasy!

Hello: Environments

But.... some Blackfire account levels - offer a kick-butt feature called environments. If you have access to Blackfire environments - or if you're able to get a "plan" that offers environments, I highly recommend them.


Blackfire environments require a Premium plan or higher.

An environment is basically an isolated Blackfire account. When you have an environment, you send your profiles to that environment. The first advantage is that you can invite multiple people to an environment, which means that anyone can profile your production site and see other profiles made by people on your team. It also has other superpowers - ahem, builds - that really make it shine.

Understanding Organizations

So let's create an environment! Go back to https://blackfire.io and click on the "Environments" tab. Actually, click on the "Organizations" tab... that's where this all starts. Blackfire organizations are a bit like GitHub organizations. With GitHub, you can subscribe to a "plan" directly on your personal account or you can create an organization, have it subscribe & pay for a plan, and then invite individual users to the organization. Blackfire organizations work exactly like that. And if you want to use environments, you need to create an organization and subscribe to a Blackfire plan through that organization.

This did confuse me a bit at first. Basically, unless you just want the lowest Blackfire paid plan, you should probably always create an organization and subscribe to Blackfire through it. It just has a few more features than subscribing with your personal account.

Creating an Environment

Anyways, I've already got an organization set up and subscribed to a plan. Once you have an organization, you can click into it to create a new environment. I already have one for SymfonyCasts.com production. Click to create a new one. Let's call it: "Sasquatch Sightings Production".

For the "Environment Endpoint", it wants the URL to the site. Again, if this were a real project, I would attach a real domain... but copy the weird domain name, and paste. Select your timezone, sip some coffee, and... "Create environment"!

On the second step, it asks us to provide URLs to test... and it starts with just one: the homepage. We're going to talk more about this soon, so just leave it. I'll also uncheck the build notifications - more on those later.

Environment vs Personal Server Credentials

Hit "Save settings" and... we're done! It rewards us with a shiny new "Server Id" and "Server Token".

This is super important. No matter how you install Blackfire on a server, you eventually need to configure the "Server id" and "Server Token". This is basically a username & password that tells Blackfire which account a profile should be sent to.

When you register with Blackfire, it immediately created a "Server Id" and "Server Token" connected with your personal account. We used that when we installed Blackfire on our local machine. But now that we have an environment, it has its own Server Id and token. The drop-down on the Install page is allowing us to choose which credentials we want to see on this page.

Locally, we should still use our personal credentials: it keeps things cleaner. But on production, we should use the new environment's Server Id and Token. The install page gives us all the commands we need using those credentials.

Oh, and by the way: if you have a "free" personal account... but are attached to an organization with a paid plan, any profiles you create with your personal Server Id and Token will inherit the features from that organization's plan. That lets us use our personal credentials locally and still get all the Blackfire features we're paying for. One exception to that rule, unfortunately, is "Add-Ons".

Configuring Blackfire on SymfonyCloud

Ok, let's get our production machine set up. I'll select "Symfony Cloud" as my host... which takes me to a dedicated page on this topic.

Let's see... step one is, instead of installing Blackfire with something like apt-get, we'll add a line to .symfony.cloud.yaml. I already have an extensions key... so just add blackfire:

42 lines | .symfony.cloud.yaml
// ... lines 1 - 4
// ... lines 7 - 10
- blackfire
// ... lines 12 - 42

Boom! Blackfire is installed. Add this file to Git... and commit it:

git add .
git commit -m "adding blackfire extension"

The other step is to configure Blackfire. Once again, it has a drop-down to select between my personal credentials and credentials for an enivornment. Select our "Sasquatch production" environment. Cool! This gives us a command to set two SymfonyCloud variables. Copy that, move over, and paste:


Ok... we're good! To make both changes take effect, deploy!

symfony deploy --bypass-checks

I'll fast-forward. Once this finishes... move over and refresh. Ok... everything still works. Now, moment of truth: open the Blackfire browser extension and create a new profile. It's working! I'll call it: [Recording] First profile in production.

Next, let's... look at this profile! It will contain a few new things and some data that is much more relevant now that we're on production.