How to Debug PHP Applications with NetBeans IDE and Xdebug on Windows?

NetBeans logo After having tried many IDEs for PHP development, including Eclipse and Komodo Edit, I have found myself the most comfortable and productive with the excellent NetBeans IDE.

You can start building PHP applications with NetBeans right out-of-the-box by simply downloading NetBeans for PHP (version 6.8 is the latest as of this post). Debugging with it requires an additional download of Xdebug.

Here is a quick and step-by-step guide to quickly start developing and debugging your PHP application projects with NetBeans + Xdebug:

1. Download and install NetBeans IDE for PHP.

2. Download Xdebug (it’s a small DLL library file).

Advice: Among the plethora of download links available on that page, let me tell you that you generally wouldn’t want the ‘non-thread-safe’ version, so ignore that; go for the latest non-beta version. I downloaded 5.2 VC6 (32 bit) of Xdebug 2.0.5.

3. Next you need to make changes to php.ini found in apache\\bin folder (the location of your apache folder may vary depending on your installation, look for it).

Find “[Zend]” section in your php.ini file, which should look like the following:


Xdebug is not compatible with Zend Optimizer, so comment out lines 2 to 5 (by prefixing the line with a semi-colon), and add the following lines under [Zend] section heading:


Note: Remember to change the path and filename to match your Xdebug path and version.

4. Restart Apache (if using XAMPP: Open the XAMPP Control Panel and first stop, then start Apache).

5. To verify if Xdebug is configured properly for debugging, create a php file containing this one line:

Save it in your htdocs folder [phpinfo.php], and open it in your browser [http://localhost/phpinfo.php]. If Xdebug is loaded successfully, you should see something like this:

Xdebug info with phpinfo()

That is it! Now you are ready to debug your applications with Xdebug using NetBeans IDE. Simply open your PHP project in NetBeans and press Ctrl + F5 or click Debug project button in NetBeans in the toolbar.

A detailed guide on configuring Xdebug with NetBeans can be found on this wiki:

Happy coding! 🙂

4 thoughts on “How to Debug PHP Applications with NetBeans IDE and Xdebug on Windows?

  1. Pingback: How to Debug PHP Applications with NetBeans IDE and Xdebug on Windows? | Tea Break

  2. Omni Dominus

    Hi, I’ve instaled NB IDE 6.8. I downloaded XAMPP 1.7.3 and xdebug 2.0.5 5.2 VC6 (32 bit). I did the steps above but even when i try to load the phpinfo.php file in the htdocs folder i get a 404 Error. Actualy I was checking and i don’t have the php.ini in the XAMPP/apache/bin folder, the only php.ini file that i have is at XAMPP/php folder. Am i missing a file or something?

  3. Angie Ciolli

    hello,what an excellent article this is,I found it on bing and I like it very much,I agree with what you have said, lots of things will be learned form your site,but I still have some questions with the last part,can you explain it for me ?I will appreciate your answer,and I will be back again!

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