Tracing PHP Applications
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Tracing PHP Applications

Compatibility Requirements

For a full list of supported libraries and language versions, visit the Compatibility Requirements page.

Installation and getting started

Follow the Quickstart instructions within the Datadog app for the best experience, including:

  • Step-by-step instructions scoped to your deployment configuration (hosts, Docker, Kubernetes, or Amazon ECS).
  • Dynamically set service, env, and version tags.
  • Enable App Analytics during setup.

For descriptions of terminology used in APM, take a look at the official documentation.

For details about open-source contributions to the PHP tracer, refer to the contributing guide.

Setup the Datadog Agent

The PHP APM tracer sends trace data through the Datadog Agent.

Install and configure the Datadog Agent. See the additional documentation for tracing Docker applications or Kubernetes applications.

For Agent version 7.18.0 and above, APM is enabled by default for all environments without further action. If you are running an older version of the agent, make sure the Agent has APM enabled.

Install the extension

Install the PHP extension using one of the precompiled packages for supported distributions.

Once downloaded, install the package with one of the commands below.

# using RPM package (RHEL/Centos 6+, Fedora 20+)
rpm -ivh datadog-php-tracer.rpm

# using DEB package (Debian Jessie+ , Ubuntu 14.04+ on supported PHP versions)
dpkg -i datadog-php-tracer.deb

# using APK package (Alpine)
apk add datadog-php-tracer.apk --allow-untrusted

The extension will be installed for the default PHP version. To install the extension for a specific PHP version, use the DD_TRACE_PHP_BIN environment variable to set the location of the target PHP binary before installing.

export DD_TRACE_PHP_BIN=$(which php-fpm7)

Restart PHP (PHP-FPM or the Apache SAPI) and then visit a tracing-enabled endpoint of your application. View the APM UI to see the traces.

Note: It might take a few minutes before traces appear in the UI. If traces still do not appear after a few minutes, create a phpinfo() page from the host machine and scroll down to the “ddtrace” section. Failed diagnostic checks will appear here to help identify any issues.

If you can’t find your distribution, you can manually install the PHP extension.

Automatic Instrumentation

Tracing is automatically enabled by default. Once the extension is installed, ddtrace traces your application and sends traces to the Agent.

Datadog supports all web frameworks out of the box. Automatic instrumentation works by modifying PHP’s runtime to wrap certain functions and methods to trace them. The PHP tracer supports automatic instrumentation for several libraries.

Automatic instrumentation captures:

  • Method execution time
  • Relevant trace data, such as URL and status response codes for web requests or SQL queries for database access
  • Unhandled exceptions, including stacktraces if available
  • A total count of traces (e.g., web requests) flowing through the system

Note: If your application does not use Composer nor an autoloader registered with spl_autoload_register(), set the environment variable, DD_TRACE_NO_AUTOLOADER=true, to enable automatic instrumentation.

Change Agent Hostname

Configure your application level tracers to submit traces to a custom Agent hostname:

The PHP tracer automatically looks for and initializes with the ENV variables DD_AGENT_HOST and DD_TRACE_AGENT_PORT.

See tracer configuration for more information on how to set these variables.


The PHP tracer can be configured using environment variables.

Note: If you use code auto-instrumentation (the recommended approach) be aware that the instrumenting code is executed before any user code. As a result, the environment variables below must be set at the server level and be available to the PHP runtime before any user code is executed. For example, putenv() and .env files would not work.


For Apache with php-fpm, use the env directory in your www.conf configuration file to configure the php tracer, for example:

; Example of passing the host environment variable SOME_ENV
; to the PHP process as DD_AGENT_HOST
; Example of passing the value 'my-app' to the PHP
; process as DD_SERVICE
env[DD_SERVICE] = my-app

Alternatively, you can use SetEnv from the server config, virtual host, directory, or .htaccess file.



For NGINX, use the env directive in the php-fpm’s www.conf file, for example:

; Example of passing the host environment variable SOME_ENV
; to the PHP process as DD_AGENT_HOST
; Example of passing the value 'my-app' to the PHP
; process as DD_SERVICE
env[DD_SERVICE] = my-app

Note: If you have enabled APM for your NGINX server, make sure you have properly configured the opentracing_fastcgi_propagate_context setting for distributed tracing to properly work. See NGINX APM configuration for more details.

PHP CLI server

Set in the command line to start the server.

DD_TRACE_DEBUG=true php -S localhost:8888

Environment Variable Configuration

Env variableDefaultNote
DD_AGENT_HOSTlocalhostThe Agent host name
DD_AUTOFINISH_SPANSfalseWhether spans are automatically finished when the tracer is flushed
DD_DISTRIBUTED_TRACINGtrueWhether to enable distributed tracing
DD_ENVnullSet an application’s environment, for example: prod, pre-prod, stage. Added in version 0.47.0.
DD_PRIORITY_SAMPLINGtrueWhether to enable priority sampling
DD_SERVICEnullThe default app name. For versions <0.47.0 this is DD_SERVICE_NAME.
DD_SERVICE_MAPPINGnullChange the default name of an APM integration. Rename one or more integrations at a time, for example: DD_SERVICE_MAPPING=pdo:payments-db,mysqli:orders-db (see Integration names).
DD_TRACE_AGENT_ATTEMPT_RETRY_TIME_MSEC5000IPC-based configurable circuit breaker retry time (in milliseconds)
DD_TRACE_AGENT_CONNECT_TIMEOUT100Maximum time the allowed for Agent connection setup (in milliseconds)
DD_TRACE_AGENT_CONNECT_TIMEOUT100The Agent connection timeout (in milliseconds)
DD_TRACE_AGENT_MAX_CONSECUTIVE_FAILURES3IPC-based configurable circuit breaker max consecutive failures
DD_TRACE_AGENT_PORT8126The Agent port number
DD_TRACE_AGENT_TIMEOUT500The Agent request transfer timeout (in milliseconds)
DD_TRACE_AGENT_URLnullThe Agent URL; takes precedence over DD_AGENT_HOST and DD_TRACE_AGENT_PORT; for example: https://localhost:8126. Added in version 0.47.1.
DD_TRACE_ANALYTICS_ENABLEDfalseFlag to enable app analytics for relevant spans in web integrations
DD_TRACE_AUTO_FLUSH_ENABLEDfalseAutomatically flush the tracer when all the spans are closed; set to true in conjunction with DD_TRACE_GENERATE_ROOT_SPAN=0 to trace long-running processes
DD_TRACE_CLI_ENABLEDfalseEnable tracing of PHP scripts from the CLI
DD_TRACE_DEBUGfalseEnable debug mode for the tracer
DD_TRACE_ENABLEDtrueEnable the tracer globally
DD_TRACE_GENERATE_ROOT_SPANtrueAutomatically generate a top-level span; set to false in conjunction with DD_TRACE_AUTO_FLUSH_ENABLED=1 to trace long-running processes
DD_TAGSnullTags to be set on all spans, for example: key1:value1,key2:value2. Added in version 0.47.0
DD_TRACE_HTTP_CLIENT_SPLIT_BY_DOMAINfalseSet the service name of HTTP requests to host-<hostname>, for example a curl_exec() call to has the service name instead of the default service name of curl.
DD_TRACE_<INTEGRATION>_ANALYTICS_ENABLEDfalseA flag to enable app analytics for relevant spans in a specific integration (see Integration names). For versions < 0.47.1, this parameter is DD_<INTEGRATION>_ANALYTICS_ENABLED.
DD_TRACE_<INTEGRATION>_ANALYTICS_SAMPLE_RATE1.0Set the app analytics sample rate for relevant spans in a specific integration (see Integration names). For versions < 0.47.1, this parameter is DD_<INTEGRATION>_ANALYTICS_SAMPLE_RATE.
DD_TRACE_<INTEGRATION>_ENABLEDtrueEnable or disable an integration; all integrations are enabled by default (see Integration names). For versions < 0.47.1, this parameter is DD_INTEGRATIONS_DISABLED which takes a CSV list of integrations to disable, for example: curl,mysqli.
DD_TRACE_MEASURE_COMPILE_TIMEtrueRecord the compile time of the request (in milliseconds) onto the top-level span
DD_TRACE_NO_AUTOLOADERfalseSet to true to enable auto instrumentation for applications that do not use an autoloader
DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_FRAGMENT_REGEXnullCSV of regexes that identifies path fragments corresponding to IDs (see Map resource names to normalized URI).
DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING_INCOMINGnullCSV of URI mappings to normalize resource naming for incoming requests (see Map resource names to normalized URI).
DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING_OUTGOINGnullCSV of URI mappings to normalize resource naming for outgoing requests (see Map resource names to normalized URI).
DD_TRACE_SAMPLE_RATE1.0The sampling rate for the traces (defaults to: between 0.0 and 1.0). For versions < 0.36.0, this parameter is DD_SAMPLING_RATE.
DD_TRACE_SAMPLING_RULESnullA JSON encoded string to configure the sampling rate. Examples: Set the sample rate to 20%: [{"sample_rate": 0.2}]. Set the sample rate to 10% for services starting with ‘a’ and span name ‘b’ and set the sample rate to 20% for all other services: [{"service": "a.*", "name": "b", "sample_rate": 0.1}, {"sample_rate": 0.2}] (see Integration names).
DD_TRACE_URL_AS_RESOURCE_NAMES_ENABLEDtrueEnable URL’s as resource names (see Map resource names to normalized URI).
DD_VERSIONnullSet an application’s version in traces and logs, for example: 1.2.3, 6c44da20, 2020.02.13. Added in version 0.47.0.

Integration names

The table below specifies the default service names for each integration. Change the service names with DD_SERVICE_MAPPING.

Use the name when setting integration-specific configuration such as, DD_TRACE_<INTEGRATION>_ANALYTICS_ENABLED, for example: Laravel is DD_TRACE_LARAVEL_ANALYTICS_ENABLED.

IntegrationService Name

Map resource names to normalized URI

Deprecation notice: As of version 0.47.0 the legacy setting DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING is deprecated. It still works for the foreseeable future but it is strongly encouraged that you use the new settings outlined in this paragraph to avoid issues when legacy support is removed. Note that setting any of the following: DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_FRAGMENT_REGEX, DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING_INCOMING, and DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING_OUTGOING will opt-in to the new resource normalization approach and any value in DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING will be ignored.

For HTTP server and client integrations, the URL is used to form the trace resource name in the format <HTTP_REQUEST_METHOD> <NORMALIZED_URL>, with the query string removed from the URL. This allows better visibility in any custom framework that is not automatically instrumented by normalizing the URLs and grouping together generic endpoints under one resource.

HTTP RequestResource Name
GET request to /foo?a=1&b=2GET /foo
POST request to /bar?foo=barPOST /bar

Numeric IDs, UUIDs (with and without dashes), and 32-to-512-bit hexadecimal hashes are automatically replaced with a ? character.

URL (GET request)Resource Name
/user/123/showGET /user/?/show
/widget/b7a992e0-3300-4030-8617-84553b11c993GET /widget/?
/api/v2/b7a992e033004030861784553b11c993/123GET /api/v2/?/?
/book/0dbf3596GET /book/?

You can turn this functionality OFF using DD_TRACE_URL_AS_RESOURCE_NAMES_ENABLED=false.

Custom URL-To-Resource Mapping

There are a few cases that are not covered by the automatic normalization that is applied.

URL (GET request)Expected Resource Name
/using/prefix/id123/for/idGET /using/prefix/?/for/id
/articles/slug-of-titleGET /articles/?
/cities/new-york/riversGET /cities/?/rivers
/nested/cities/new-york/riversGET /nested/cities/?/rivers

There are two classes of scenarios that are not covered by automatic normalization:

  • The path fragment to normalize has a reproducible patter nand can be present in any part of the url, for example id<number> in the example above. This scenario is covered by the setting DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_FRAGMENT_REGEX below.
  • The path fragment can be anything, and the previous path fragment indicates that a value has to be normalized. For example /cities/new-york tells us that new-york has to be normalized as it is the name of a city. This scenario is covered by settings DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING_INCOMING and DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING_OUTGOING for incoming and outgoing requests respectively.

This setting is a CSV of regex that are applied to every path fragment independently. For example setting DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_FRAGMENT_REGEX to ^id\d+$ for the first example /using/prefix/id123/for/id would apply the regex to all framents using, prefix, id123, for, and id. The final normalized resorce name would be GET /using/prefix/?/for/id.

Note that multiple regular expressions separated by a comma can be added ^id\d+$,code\d+$ and that the comma character , is not escaped, hence it cannot be used in the regular expression.


This setting is a CSV of patterns that can contain a wildcard *. For example, adding the pattern cities/* means that everytime the fragment cities is found while analyzing a URL, then the next fragment, if any, will be replaced with ?. Patterns are applied at any depth, so applying the following rule will both normalize /cities/new-york and /nested/cities/new-york in the table above.

Patterns can be applied to a part of a specific fragment. For example path/*-fix would normalize the url /some/path/changing-fix/nested to /some/path/?-fix/nested

Note that DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING_INCOMING applies to only incoming requests (for example web frameworks) while DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_MAPPING_OUTGOING only applies to outgoing requests (for example curl and guzzle requests).


To upgrade the PHP tracer, download the latest release and follow the same steps as installing the extension.

Note: If you are using second level caching in OPcache by setting the parameter opcache.file_cache, remove the cache folder.


To remove the PHP tracer:

  1. For php-fpm, stop the php-fpm service, otherwise stop the Apache web server.
  2. Unlink files 98-ddtrace.ini and 99-ddtrace-custom.ini from your php configuration folder.
  3. For php-fpm, restart php-fpm service, otherwise restart the Apache web server.

Note: If you are using second level caching in OPcache by setting the parameter opcache.file_cache, remove the cache folder.

Further Reading