To get started using ext-php-rs you will need both a Rust toolchain and a PHP development environment. We'll cover each of these below.

Rust toolchain

First, make sure you have rust installed on your system. If you haven't already done so you can do so by following the instructions here. ext-php-rs runs on both the stable and nightly versions so you can choose whichever one fits you best.

PHP development environment

In order to develop PHP extensions, you'll need the following installed on your system:

  1. The PHP CLI executable itself
  2. The PHP development headers
  3. The php-config binary

While the easiest way to get started is to use the packages provided by your distribution, we recommend building PHP from source.

NB: To use ext-php-rs you'll need at least PHP 8.0.

Using a package manager

# Debian and derivatives
apt install php-dev
# Arch Linux
pacman -S php
# Fedora
dnf install php-devel
# Homebrew
brew install php

Compiling PHP from source

Please refer to this PHP internals book chapter for an in-depth guide on how to build PHP from source.

TL;DR; use the following commands to build a minimal development version with debug symbols enabled.

# clone the php-src repository
git clone
cd php-src
# by default you will be on the master branch, which is the current
# development version. You can check out a stable branch instead:
git checkout PHP-8.1
./configure --prefix="${PREFIX}" \
    --enable-debug \
    --disable-all --disable-cgi
make -j "$(nproc)"
make install

The PHP CLI binary should now be located at ${PREFIX}/bin/php and the php-config binary at ${PREFIX}/bin/php-config.

Next steps

Now that we have our development environment in place, let's go build an extension !