Tracing PHP Applications

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 ingesting 100% of traces 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.

Configure the Datadog Agent for APM

Install and configure the Datadog Agent to receive traces from your now instrumented application. By default the Datadog Agent is enabled in your datadog.yaml file under apm_config with enabled: true and listens for trace traffic at localhost:8126. For containerized environments, follow the links below to enable trace collection within the Datadog Agent.

  1. Set apm_non_local_traffic: true in the apm_config section of your main datadog.yaml configuration file.

  2. See the specific setup instructions to ensure that the Agent is configured to receive traces in a containerized environment:

  1. After having instrumented your application, the tracing client sends traces to localhost:8126 by default. If this is not the correct host and port change it by setting the below env variables:


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

  1. Set DD_SITE in the Datadog Agent to to ensure the Agent sends data to the right Datadog location.

To set up Datadog APM in AWS Lambda, see the Tracing Serverless Functions documentation.

Tracing is available for a number of other environments, such as Heroku, Cloud Foundry, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Azure App Services Extension.

For other environments, please refer to the Integrations documentation for that environment and contact support if you are encountering any setup issues.

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.


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

Default: localhost
The Agent host name
Default: false
Whether spans are automatically finished when the tracer is flushed
Default: true
Whether to enable distributed tracing
Default: null
Set an application’s environment, for example: prod, pre-prod, stage. Added in version 0.47.0.
Default: true
Whether to enable priority sampling
Default: null
The default app name. For versions <0.47.0 this is DD_SERVICE_NAME.
Default: null
Change 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).
Default: 5000
IPC-based configurable circuit breaker retry time (in milliseconds)
Default: 100
Maximum time the allowed for Agent connection setup (in milliseconds)
Default: 100
The Agent connection timeout (in milliseconds)
Default: 3
IPC-based configurable circuit breaker max consecutive failures
Default: 8126
The Agent port number
Default: 500
The Agent request transfer timeout (in milliseconds)
Default: null
The Agent URL; takes precedence over DD_AGENT_HOST and DD_TRACE_AGENT_PORT; for example: https://localhost:8126. Added in version 0.47.1.
Default: false
Automatically 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
Default: false
Enable tracing of PHP scripts from the CLI
Default: false
Enable debug mode for the tracer
Default: true
Enable the tracer globally
Default: true
Automatically generate a top-level span; set to false in conjunction with DD_TRACE_AUTO_FLUSH_ENABLED=1 to trace long-running processes
Default: null
Tags to be set on all spans, for example: key1:value1,key2:value2. Added in version 0.47.0
Default: null
CSV of header names that are reported on the root span as tags.
Default: false
Set 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.
Default: false
Set the service name of Redis clients operations to redis-<hostname>. Added in version 0.51.0
Default: true
Enable 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.
Default: true
Record the compile time of the request (in milliseconds) onto the top-level span
Default: false
Set to true to enable auto instrumentation for applications that do not use an autoloader
Default: null
CSV of regexes that identifies path fragments corresponding to IDs (see Map resource names to normalized URI).
Default: null
CSV of URI mappings to normalize resource naming for incoming requests (see Map resource names to normalized URI).
Default: null
CSV of URI mappings to normalize resource naming for outgoing requests (see Map resource names to normalized URI).
Default: false
Works for Linux. Set to true to retain capabilities on Datadog background threads when you change the effective user ID. This option does not affect most setups, but some modules - to date Datadog is only aware of Apache’s mod-ruid2 - may invoke setuid() or similar syscalls, leading to crashes or loss of functionality as it loses capabilities.

Note: Enabling this option may compromise security. This option, standalone, does not pose a security risk. However, an attacker being able to exploit a vulnerability in PHP or web server may be able to escalate privileges with relative ease, if the web server or PHP were started with full capabilities, as the background threads will retain their original capabilities. Datadog recommends restricting the capabilities of the web server with the setcap utility.

Default: 1.0
The sampling rate for the traces (defaults to: between 0.0 and 1.0). For versions < 0.36.0, this parameter is DD_SAMPLING_RATE.
Default: null
A 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). Note that the JSON object must be included in single quotes (') to avoid problems with escaping of the double quote (") character.|
Default: true
Enable URL’s as resource names (see Map resource names to normalized URI).
Default: null
Set 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>_ENABLED, for example: Laravel is DD_TRACE_LARAVEL_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 pattern and 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 one or more regular expressions that are applied to every path fragment independently. For example, setting DD_TRACE_RESOURCE_URI_FRAGMENT_REGEX to ^id\d+$ for a path of /using/prefix/id123/for/id applies the regex to each of the fragments: using, prefix, id123, for, and id.

URLregexExpected Resource Name
/using/prefix/id123/for/id^id\d+$GET /using/prefix/?/for/id

Note that because the format of this variable is a CSV, the comma character , is not escaped and cannot be used in your regular expressions.


This setting is a CSV of patterns that can contain a wildcard *. For example, adding the pattern cities/* means that every time 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).

open_basedir restrictions

When open_basedir setting is used, then /opt/datadog-php should be added to the list of allowed directories. When the application runs in a docker container, the path /proc/self should also be added to the list of allowed directories.


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

Once the installation is completed restart PHP (PHP-FPM or the Apache SAPI).

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.

Troubleshooting an application crash

In the unusual event of an application crash caused by the PHP tracer, typically because of a segmentation fault, the best thing to do is obtain a core dump or a Valgrind trace and contact Datadog support.

Obtaining a core dump

Obtaining a core dump for PHP applications can be tricky, especially on PHP-FPM. Here are a few tips to help you obtain a core dump:

  1. Determine whether the PHP-FPM generated a core dump by looking in the application error log:
    • Search for (SIGSEGV - core dumped) because a message like this means it has been dumped: WARNING: [pool www] child <pid> exited on signal 11 (SIGSEGV - core dumped) after <duration> seconds from start.
    • Search for (SIGSEGV) because a message like this indicates that the core was not dumped: WARNING: [pool www] child <pid> exited on signal 11 (SIGSEGV) after <duration> seconds from start.
  2. Locate the core dump by running cat /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern. The default value is typically core, meaning that a file named core will be generated in the web root folder.

If no core dump was generated, check the following configurations and change them as needed:

  1. If /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern contains a path including nested directories, ensure the full directory path exists.
  2. If the user running the PHP-FPM pool workers is something other than root (a common user name is www-data) give that user write permissions to the core dumps directory.
  3. Ensure that the value of /proc/sys/fs/suid_dumpable is not 0. Set it to 1 or 2 unless you run PHP-FPM workers pool as root. Check your options with your system administrator.
  4. Ensure you have a suitable rlimit_core in the PHP-FPM pool configuration section. You can set it to unlimited: rlimit_core = unlimited.
  5. Ensure you have a suitable ulimit set in your system. You can set it to unlimited: ulimit -c unlimited.
  6. If your application runs in a Docker container, changes to /proc/sys/* have to be done to the host machine. Contact your system administrator to know the options available to you. If you are able to, try recreating the issue in your testing or staging environments.

Obtaining a Valgrind trace

To gain more details about the crash, run the application with Valgrind. Unlike core dumps, this approach always works in an unprivileged container.

Note: An application that runs through Valgrind is orders of magnitude slower than when running natively. This method is recommended for non-production environments.

Install Valgrind with your package manager. Run the application with Valgrind enough to generate a few requests.

For a CLI application, run:

USE_ZEND_ALLOC=0 valgrind -- php path/to/script.php
When running php-fpm run:
USE_ZEND_ALLOC=0 valgrind --trace-children=yes -- php-fpm -F --fpm-config <CONFIG_FILE_PATH> <MORE_OPTIONS>
When using Apache, run:
(. /etc/apache2/envvars; USE_ZEND_ALLOC=0 valgrind --trace-children=yes -- apache2 -X)`

Obtaining a strace

Some issues are caused by external factors, so it can be valuable to have a strace.

Note: An application that runs through strace is orders of magnitude slower than when running natively. This method is recommended for non-production environments.

Install strace with your package manager. When generating a strace to send to Datadog Support, ensure you use the -f option to follow child processes.

For a CLI application, run:

strace -f php path/to/script.php

For php-fpm, run:

strace -f php-fpm -F --fpm-config <CONFIG_FILE_PATH> <MORE_OPTIONS>

For Apache, run:

(. /etc/apache2/envvars; strace -f apache2 -X)

Further Reading