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Deployment: The Art of Uploading your Code

This wouldn’t be much of a tutorial if we didn’t at least help show you how to share your project with the world! There are a lot of neat deployment tools out there and I’m sorry, we’re not going to show you any of them. At least not in this screencast. Instead, we’ll go through the exact steps you’ll need for deployment. If you want to automate them, awesome!

To keep things simple, I’m going to “deploy” to a different directory right on my local machine. So, just pretend this is our server and I’ve already ssh’ed into it.

We already have MySQL, PHP and Apache up and running.

Step 1) Upload the Files

First, we’ve gotta get the files up to the server! The easiest way is just to clone your git repository right on the server. To do this, you’ll need to push your code somewhere accessible, like GitHub. The finished code for this tutorial already lives on GitHub, under a branch called episode4-finish.

Let’s clone this repository:

git clone

Move into the directory. If your code lives anywhere other than the master branch, you’ll need to switch to that branch:

git checkout -b episode4-finish origin/episode4-finish

GitHub might ask you to authenticate yourself or give you some public key error. If that happens, you’ll need to register the public key of your server as a deploy key for your repository. This is what gives your server permission to access the code.

GitHub has great articles on deploy keys and generating a public key.

Step 2) Configuring the Web Server

Code, check! Next, let’s configure the web server. I’m using Apache, but Symfony has a cookbook article about using Nginx. Find your Apache configuration and add a new VirtualHost that points to the web/ directory of our project. In our case, /var/www/

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/

    <Directory /var/www/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymlinks
        AllowOverride All

        # Use these 2 lines for Apache 2.3 and below
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all

        # Use this line for Apache 2.4 and above
        Require all granted

    ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/events_error.log
    CustomLog /var/log/apache2/events_access.log combined

The VirtualHost is pretty simple and needs ServerName, DocumentRoot and Directory keys.

Restart your webserver. For many servers, this is done by calling service restart apache:

sudo service restart apache2

Project: First-Time Setup

Code, check! VirtualHost, check!

Since this is the first time we’ve deployed, we need to do some one-time setup.

First, download Composer and use it to install our vendor files:

curl -sS | php
php composer.phar install

At the end, it’ll ask you for values to fill into your parameters.yml file. You’ll need to have a database user and password ready.

Speaking of, let’s create the database and insert the schema. I’ll even run the fixtures to give our site some starting data:

php app/console doctrine:database:create
php app/console doctrine:schema:create
php app/console doctrine:fixtures:load

In this pretend scenario, I’ve already pointed the DNS for to my server. So let’s try it:

It’s alive! And with a big error, which might just show up as the white screen of death on your server. Symfony can’t write to the cache directory. We need to do a one-time chmod on it and the logs dir:

sudo chmod -R 777 app/cache/ app/logs/

Let’s try again. Ok, we have a site, and we can even login as Wayne. But it’s missing all the styles. Ah, right, dump the assetic assets:

php app/console assetic:dump --env=prod

Crap! Scroll up. This failed when trying to run uglifycss. I don’t have Uglifycss installed on this machine yet. To get ugly Just run npm install to fix this.

php app/console assetic:dump --env=prod

Now, the dump works, AND the site looks great!

Things to do on each Deploy

On your next deploy, things will be even easier. Here’s a simple guide:

  1. Update your Code. With our method, that’s as simple as running a git pull:
git pull origin
  1. Just in case we added any new libraries to Composer, run the install command:
php composer.phar install
  1. Update your database schema. The easy, but maybe dangerous way is with the schema update console command:
php app/console doctrine:schema:update --force

Why dangerous? Let’s say you rename a property from name to firstName. Instead of renaming the column, this task may just drop name and add firstName. That would mean that you’d lose all that data!

There’s a library called Doctrine Migrations that helps do this safely.

  1. Clear your production cache:
php app/console cache:clear --env=prod
  1. Dump your Assetic assets:
php app/console assetic:dump --env=prod

That’s it! As your site grows, you may have more and more things you need to setup. But for now, it’s simple.

Performance Setup you Need

One more thing. There are a few really easy wins to maximize Symfony’s performance.

First, when you deploy, dump Composer’s optimized autoloader:

php composer.phar dump-autoload --optimize

This helps Composer’s autoloader find classes faster, sometimes much faster. And hey, there’s no downside at all to this!


If you add the –optimize-autoloader flag, Composer will generate a class map, which will give your whole application a performance boost. Using the APC ClassLoader may give you an even bigger boost.

Next, make sure you have a byte code cache installed on your server. For PHP 5.4 and earlier, this was called APC. For 5.5 and later, it’s called OPcache. In the background, these cache the compiled PHP files, making your site much faster. Again, there’s no downside here - make sure you have one of these on your server.

And on that note, PHP typically gets faster from version to version. So staying on the latest version is good for more than just security and features. Thanks PHPeeps!

Ok, that’s it! Now google around for some deployment tools to automate this!

Leave a comment!

  • 2019-02-14 weaverryan

    Yo Peter Kosak!

    Yes, I think we're going to cover a lot of this... sort of in several different tutorials. Let's take a look:

    1) Our main deployment tutorial is this: - it uses Ansistrano (basically Ansible). But even if you don't want to use Ansible, we *really* went into deep detail about all the pieces of deploying a Symfony app. It's built in Symfony 3, but the only real difference between Symfony 4 are the environment variables. Which... unless you're deploying to an environment that really makes using real env vars easy, I still recommend just creating a .env.local file on production for your production variables. So this is ultimately no different than parameters.yml (which is what we cover in that tutorial).

    > 2) Another topic that I dont understand is where uploaded documents are suppose to be stored

    Well... you're in luck! This tutorial starts next week:

    But, to answer your question a little bit... it depends :). First, you can decide to store them in the cloud - like S3. When you do that, you can make each file public or private. If it's public... you can just link to it. If it's private, you can create a signed URL when you want to allow someone temporary access. We'll cover that in the tutorial. If you just want to keep it simple and upload to your server, then if you want the files to be public - put them in something like public/uploads. Done! This directory will be ignored by git and when you deploy, this directory simply won't be touched (e.g. you could do a simple "git pull" on the directory, and because that directory is ignored, nothing happens to it). If you need your files to be private (e.g. require login, or something), then I recommend putting them into var/uploads (this directory would be ignored, just like public/uploads). Then, you'll need to create a route/controller that a user can go to to download that file. You'll check the credentials then use the BinaryFileResponse to stream that file to the user.

    If I've missed anything else on the upload topic - let me know. The tutorial is not fully written yet and I don't want to miss any great topics!


  • 2019-02-13 Peter Kosak

    Any plan to make couple of videos for Symfony4 project? I would like to see Manual deployment, Github deployment & automated tool deployment. Another topic that I dont understand is where uploaded documents are suppose to be stored? I dont want to make them public therefor I need somehow to move it 1 level up and how this would work with manual deployment I have no idea.

  • 2018-09-24 Diego Aguiar

    You're welcome :)

  • 2018-09-21 Christophe Lablancherie

    Oh god ok ! I thought it was obvious to put "true" on the kernel when we go to prod.

    Thanks !

  • 2018-09-21 Diego Aguiar

    Aha! can you see the error?


    This line $kernel = new AppKernel('prod', true);
    You must set to "false" the debugging flag on prod environment


  • 2018-09-21 Christophe Lablancherie
    I've done it, and it seems that we are in prod :/
    By the way i'm totally agree with you, i have to see "an ugly" page :/

    Here the app.php page

    use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Request;

    require __DIR__.'/../vendor/autoload.php';
    if (PHP_VERSION_ID < 70000) {
    include_once __DIR__.'/../var/bootstrap.php.cache';

    $kernel = new AppKernel('prod', true);
    if (PHP_VERSION_ID < 70000) {
    //$kernel = new AppCache($kernel);

    // When using the HttpCache, you need to call the method in your front controller instead of relying on the configuration parameter
    $request = Request::createFromGlobals();
    $response = $kernel->handle($request);
    $kernel->terminate($request, $response);

  • 2018-09-21 Diego Aguiar

    Wait, I think you are not hitting prod's environment, you should not see the error details, just an ugly page with a white background. Could you double check that? Review your "web/app.php" and at any controller's action just dump this $this->getParameter('kernel.environment');

  • 2018-09-21 Christophe Lablancherie

    Hum my Exception page are there :
    app > Resources > TwigBundle > views > Exception > error404.html.twig
    app > Resources > TwigBundle > views > Exception > error500.html.twig

  • 2018-09-21 Diego Aguiar

    Oh, I think it's because of the name of your folder, it should be called "Exception" and the templates should be pre-fixed with "error", then the number


  • 2018-09-21 Christophe Lablancherie

    Hi Diego Aguiar , i hit the prod environnement, and yes i clear the cache everytime i do a change, but look i receive a 404 exception but the page look like dev template :/

  • 2018-09-21 Diego Aguiar

    Hey Christophe Lablancherie

    Are you hitting the dev or prod environment? If it's prod environment, then everytime you make a change you have to clear the cache.
    If it is dev's, then you can access to your error pages by going to localhost:8000/app_dev.php/_error/404 where "404" is the code of the error


  • 2018-09-21 Christophe Lablancherie

    Hi everyone :)

    I have one problem with my SF 3.4 deployment. Well the app works BUT the errors page override doesn't.

    I have put my pages in app/Resources/views/TwigBundle/views/exceptions but nothing changes.

    I have delete the app_dev.php and set an environnement variable with SYMFONY_ENV=prod but nothing change too....

    Did i forget something ? :/


  • 2017-09-07 Victor Bocharsky

    We also have a short screencast about deployment, check it out, I think it could be helpful for you:


  • 2017-09-07 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Mohamed,

    I'm working on this Ansistrano deploy tutorial right now, we're going to start releasing it after Webpack JS course which is releasing right now. I think it could be in the next month, maybe the end of this month. But we do not have more precise release date.

    If you have some questions in particular during your deploy, i.e. if you have stuck on some step and can't move forward - you can ask your questions here and we'll try to help you in order you can move forward.


  • 2017-09-06 Mohamed

    Hi Victor,

    Thank you for your help,
    its really unclear steps for me, still can get how to deploy symfony applications which makes all the work i have done is useless so far.

    I just wont to know when will you going to release a screencast about how to deploy Symfony apps.

    I really like the way how you explain things in details.

    Thank you


  • 2017-08-09 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Mohamed,

    That's a bit tricky to deploy Symfony with this PhpStorm feature. I just worry about your local cache folder, does it move to the prod server too? Because it could cause problems, most likely you have different paths on the server and your local machine. Anyway, after you upload the project to the prod server - you need to clear the cache. You can do it with Symfony console command or just "rm -rf var/cache/*" should work fine, but in this case your won't be warmed up, some users could feel a delay before seeing your website. Also, you can have permissions problems. But don't forget about logs! Use "tail -f var/logs/prod.log" to watch the logs, if there's an error - you'll see it there. So there're plenty of possible problems, but without seeing more specific errors it's difficult to help you. Try to find an error first and we'll help you to handle it.

    P.S. We'll release a screencast which explains how to deploy Symfony apps properly: . This way is much much more robust than one you have right now. Also, take a look at this checklist when deploy Symfony application:


  • 2017-08-08 Mohamed

    Hi Guys,
    Thank you for your help,
    just i'm trying to upload small project i'm working on right now
    I did the deployment configration on Phpstorm i uploaded the project folder on the server, i can see the files on the server, also before uploading i changed parameters settings to the server details. but no thing worked
    i believe maybe there is some thing i should have done before uploading .
    please if possible help with the deployment steps

    many thanks


  • 2015-06-15 Theravadan

    Thank you very much. it all makes sense.

  • 2015-06-12 weaverryan


    If you use migrations ( then you'll be able to review the SQL in your new migration file to make sure it works. For example, if you renamed a column and the generated migration did a "drop and add" instead of a rename, you could modify that SQL until you're happy with it.

    Then, when you deploy, you *never* run doctrine:schema:update - you only ever run doctrine:migrations:migrate. If you need to rename a table, then you will have already made sure that your new migration file performs this rename. If you've done everything correct, then after your migrations run, you production database will be perfectly in-sync. In other words, if you *did* run doctrine:schema:update --dump-sql after migrations, it should come back with no changes to be made. Does that make sense? Getting the workflow correct is really important :).

    About multiple bundles and only one migration_versions table, that is by design and a good thing! Sure, you may have multiple bundles, but you only have one database, and so it makes sense to only have one set of migration files. Now, imagine that I install a third-party bundle that gives me 2 new tables. This bundle will *not* ship with its own migration file to add these 2 tables. And, that's ok! As soon as you've installed the bundle, you can run doctrine:migrations:diff, and this will cause a new migration file to be generated with the CREATE TABLE for those 2 new tables.

    Does it all make sense? Let me know!

  • 2015-06-10 Theravadan

    Hi Guys,
    you mention about doctrine migrations being a safer way for renaming the table columns, but how would you make sure that update schema does not break your database?
    In other words how do you tell update schema not to drop this table because there is a fix in doctrine migrations for example?
    Also another question is how do you deal with having multiple bundles having their own migrations, since there is only one migration_versions table?

    Thanks a million!