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php – Launch XDebug in Netbeans on an external request

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment


I’m using Netbeans 6.7 and XDebug to debug a PHP site on my machine, launching the request from within Netbeans (Project->Debug). This works fine, and is very useful.

My question is: Is it possible to attach the debugger to any request that comes in, rather just those I launch from within Netbeans?

ie, instead of clicking “Debug”, put Netbeans into a mode whereby the debugger is launched and attaches to the next request that comes in.

I have a feeling this may be a stupid question, but if it is possible, that’d be great.

Edit: A bit more information

My system (Ubuntu 9.04) is set up as follows:

Contents of /etc/php5/conf.d/xdebug.ini



Netbeans PHP debugging options are at the defaults:

Debugger Port: 9000
Session ID: netbeans-xdebug
Stop at the First Line: ticked

My /etc/hosts file redirects www.mywebsite.com to localhost

If I click on the debug button in Netbeans, then Firefox is launched with the address http://www.mywebsite.com?XDEBUG_SESSION_START=netbeans-xdebug, and the debugger works as expected.

But if I just browse to http://www.mywebsite.com?XDEBUG_SESSION_START=netbeans-xdebug, this doesn’t start the debugger in Netbeans.

I’ve also tried setting xdebug.remote_host=www.mywebsite.com , but that makes no difference.

Also, I’ve enabled xdebug.remote_log, and that’s showing information for when I start from within netbeans, but nothing for external requests. So I don’t think XDebug is seeing the external requests at all.

How to&Answers:

go to project properties > run configuration > advanced > debug url and check do not open web browser (*). do not set the host under debugger proxy. save these settings. in the project window, on your project: right mouse click > debug (this starts listening for debug connections). no browser is started. enter http://www.mywebsite.com?XDEBUG_SESSION_START=netbeans-xdebug in your browser. it should break in netbeans. at least that’s what happens here 🙂

(*) you might also have to set a path mapping – for me, it works without


By default xdebug will not attempt to connect to the remote host when the ‘XDEBUG_SESSION_START’ Cookie/URL argument wasn’t specified.
You can enable xdebug to be “always on”, by setting the xdebug.remote_autostart to 1 in the php.ini.

Furthermore, you would have to start the PHP debugger in NetBeans for this to work. I haven’t found a better solution yet, but you can have the PHP debugger listening for incoming connections by starting to debug a random file (use CTRL+SHIFT+F5 to start debugging a file) and then continuing (by pressing F5) once it stopped at the breakpoint. The Netbeans debugger should run until you actually stop it.

Update: due to NetBeans checking the session id (XDEBUG_SESSION_START), you have to set the idekey variable too. eg:

xdebug.remote_autostart = 1
xdebug.idekey = "netbeans-xdebug"


I had a similar problem (on NetBeans, Mac OSX), after upgrading PHP and compiling/installing xdebug. phpinfo showed xdebug as loaded, but it still wouldn’t connect, and after trying everything listed above still had no success. Then I tried reducing the number of parameters set in my PHP.ini file back to the minimum required. This seemed to sort the problem out for me.

; REMOVED (commented) the following
; xdebug.remote_log=/myfile.log
;xdebug.extended_info = off

I also renamed the default xdebug.idekey from netbeans-xdebug to default, then back again.

After restarting Apache, xdebug started working again: I’m not sure what exactly fixed it, but a good starting point might be to just start with the minimum number of xdebug settings in your php.ini file, then slowly add more if you need them. I suspect it may have had something to do with the trace settings, but can’t be sure.

The basic settings I ended up using were:


It’s also a good idea to compile debugclient (in the xdebug source package), and check debugging on the command line as this will tell you whether xdebug can at least run independently of your IDE.


Not sure about Netbeans, but any other IDE I have used is always listening for a debug connection. You can start a new debug session from xdebug by appending the query string ?XDEBUG_SESSION_START=name to the url. If Netbeans is listening, this should then kick off a new debug session.

See http://xdebug.org/docs/remote#browser_session for more details