(PHP 4, PHP 5)

shell_execВыполняет команду через шелл и возвращает полный вывод в виде строки


string shell_exec ( string $cmd )

Эта функция идентична оператору обратный апостроф.

Список параметров


Команда, которая будет выполнена.

Возвращаемые значения

Вывод исполняемой команды или NULL, если произошла ошибка.


Пример #1 Пример использования shell_exec()

shell_exec('ls -lart');



Эта функция недоступна в безопасном режиме.

Смотрите также

  • exec() - Исполняет внешнюю программу
  • escapeshellcmd() - Экранирует метасимволы командной строки


shell_exec is extremely useful as a substitute for the virtual() function where unavailable (Microsoft IIS for example). All you have to do is remove the content type string sent in the header:

$mstrng ereg_replace"Content-type: text/html"""$mstrng );

This works fine for me as a substitute for SSI or the virtual() func.

Anton Babadjanov
2002-03-30 14:57:38
As far as error checking on the last example.  Several of the shells have the && operator, so you just string your commands together using it instead of ; If at any time any of the programs fail, you will return without running the rest
2003-04-14 17:18:07
Just a quick reminder for those trying to use shell_exec on a unix-type platform and can't seem to get it to work. PHP executes as the web user on the system (generally www for Apache), so you need to make sure that the web user has rights to whatever files or directories that you are trying to use in the shell_exec command. Other wise, it won't appear to be doing anything.
2003-12-03 14:19:32
I have PHP (CGI) and Apache. I also shell_exec() shell scripts which use PHP CLI. This combination destroys the string value returned from the call. I get binary garbage.  Shell scripts that start with #!/usr/bin/bash return their output properly.

A solution is to force a clean environment.  PHP CLI no longer had the CGI environment variables to choke on.


// Binary garbage.
$ExhibitA shell_exec('/home/www/myscript');

// Perfect.
$ExhibitB shell_exec('env -i /home/www/myscript');


-- start /home/www/myscript


-- end /home/www/myscript
2004-01-11 03:13:37
I had a perl program which ran fine from command line but not using shell_exec(), exec() or system() - nothing was being returned. I was using the full path and permissions were set correctly.

It turned out the perl program was using more memory than my PHP.INI file was set to allow. Increasing "memory_limit" solved the problem.
2004-08-05 16:50:07
Be careful as to how you elevate privileges to your php script.  It's a good idea to use caution and planing.  It is easy to open up huge security holes.  Here are a couple of helpful hints I've gathered from experimentation and Unix documentation.

Things to think about:

1. If you are running php as an Apache module in Unix then every system command you run is run as user apache.  This just makes sense.. Unix won't allow privileges to be elevated in this manner.  If you need to run a system command with elevated privileges think through the problem carefully!

2. You are absolutely insane if you decide to run apache as root.  You may as well kick yourself in the face.  There is always a better way to do it.

3. If you decide to use a SUID it is best not to SUID a script.  SUID is disabled for scripts on many flavors of Unix.  SUID scripts open up security holes, so you don't always want to go this route even if it is an option.  Write a simple binary and elevate the privileges of the binary as a SUID.  In my own opinion it is a horrible idea to pass a system command through a SUID-- ie have the SUID accept the name of a command as a parameter.  You may as well run Apache as root!
2005-01-03 11:10:58
I found something odd.

If you run exec then straight after shell_exec the shell_exec will simply not run and will return NULL.

To get it to work i put a sleep(5) after the exec and now shell_exec works fine.
2005-04-11 04:13:17
Interestingly, if you execute a script which is not in your path (or you have made a typo, or if the script does no exist at all), you will get no return value. The error will be logged into the error_log of your webserver.

Someone could add a note how this can be (if it could be) overriden, as the standard behaviour is not really fool-proof.
2005-09-19 17:02:04

 * PHP Kill Process
 * Sometimes, it can happen a script keeps running when it shouldn't, and it
 * won't stop after we close the browser, or shutdown the computer. Because it's
 * not always easy to use SSH there's a workaround.
 * @author      Jensen Somers <>
 * @version     1.0
class KillAllProcesses {
     * Construct the class
function killallprocesses() {
     * List all the items
function listItems() {
         * PS   Unix command to report process status
         * -x   Select processes without controlling ttys
         * Output will look like:
         *      16479 pts/13   S      0:00 -bash
         *      21944 pts/13   R      0:00 ps -x
$output =   shell_exec('ps -x');
// Put each individual line into an array
$array  =   explode("\n"$output);
     * Print the process list
     * @param   string  $output
function output($output) {
     * Kill all the processes
     * It should be possible to filter in this, but I won't do it now.
     * @param   array   $array
function doKill($array) {
         * Because the first line of our $output will look like
         *        PID TTY      STAT   TIME COMMAND
         * we'll skip this one.
for ($i 1$i count($array); $i++) {
$id =   substr($array[$i], 0strpos($array[$i], ' ?'));
shell_exec('kill '.$id);



It's not the very best solution, but I've used it a couple of times when I needed to do it quick without to much trouble.
Make not I kill all the processes, on my server px -x will only return like 4 times /sbin/apache and it's pretty safe to kill them without any trouble.
2005-09-27 09:00:59
I've write a Full Class for Run in Background, Kill PID , check if is Running 

 * @author     Ashraf M Kaabi
 * @name       Advance Linux Exec
class exec {
     * Run Application in background
     * @param     unknown_type $Command
     * @param     unknown_type $Priority
     * @return     PID
function background($Command$Priority 0){
$PID shell_exec("nohup nice -n $Priority $Command > /dev/null & echo $!");
$PID shell_exec("nohup $Command > /dev/null & echo $!");
    * Check if the Application running !
    * @param     unknown_type $PID
    * @return     boolen
function is_running($PID){
exec("ps $PID"$ProcessState);
count($ProcessState) >= 2);
    * Kill Application PID
    * @param  unknown_type $PID
    * @return boolen
function kill($PID){
exec("kill -KILL $PID");
       }else return 
2005-12-19 12:06:39
If you need to execute a command without permission and could not execute it by ssh or install any extension, there is a way in Apache 1.3.x and PHP 4.
Create a file on cgi-bin directory, like this:

echo shell_exec('whoami');

Don't forget to set the file you created the permission to execute it. Hence, call it from browser and you will se that this script will be executed by the shell user and not the user nobody (apache default user if running a PHP script).
2006-02-16 20:24:47
For capturing stdout and stderr, when you don't care about the intermediate files, I've had better results with . . .
function cmd_exec($cmd, &$stdout, &$stderr)
$outfile tempnam(".""cmd");
$errfile tempnam(".""cmd");
$descriptorspec = array(
=> array("pipe""r"),
=> array("file"$outfile"w"),
=> array("file"$errfile"w")
$proc proc_open($cmd$descriptorspec$pipes);
    if (!
is_resource($proc)) return 255;

fclose($pipes[0]);    //Don't really want to give any input

$exit proc_close($proc);
$stdout file($outfile);
$stderr file($errfile);


This isn't much different than a redirection, except it takes care of the temp files for you (you may need to change the directory from ".") and it blocks automatically due to the proc_close call.  This mimics the shell_exec behavior, plus gets you stderr.
2006-06-05 04:45:37
When following Kenneth's method for executing root scripts via the nanoweb server mentioned on this page you would most likely need to be able to run a text-mode browser like lynx and pass the php script to it (works great).

After struggling for a while (lynx kept asking me to download the file instead of executing it), I realised that I had to install php-cgi additionally and modify the nanoweb config file  to use that php interpreter instead of /usr/bin/php. (On Debian this is the CLI version).

On Ubuntu 6.06:

apt-get install php5-cgi

After editing /etc/nanoweb/nanoweb.conf and a quick restart of the web server, lynx and links will execute your PHP scripts properly.

Hope this helps somebody else out there :)

Ruan Fourie
2006-08-24 23:31:38
The technique mentioned by Nathan De Hert below is rather insecure -- you should never leave a password lying around in a file readable by the apache user.

If you need this sort of functionality on *nix systems, have a look at the /etc/sudo file (edited with the command 'visudo'). The tag NOPASSWD allows specified commands to be run as root by another user, without needing to specify a password. It's a little extra configuration, but much more secure.
2006-09-16 14:00:53
I had trouble with accented caracters and shell_exec.

ex :

Executing this command from shell :

/usr/bin/smbclient '//BREZEME/peyremor' -c 'dir' -U 'peyremor%*********' -d 0 -W 'ADMINISTRATIF' -O 'TCP_NODELAY IPTOS_LOWDELAY SO_KEEPALIVE SO_RCVBUF=8192 SO_SNDBUF=8192' -b 1200 -N 2>&1

gave me that :

Vidéos                             D        0  Tue Jun 12 14:41:21 2007
  Desktop                            DH        0  Mon Jun 18 17:41:36 2007

Using php like that :

shell_exec("/usr/bin/smbclient '//BREZEME/peyremor' -c 'dir' -U 'peyremor%*******' -d 0 -W 'ADMINISTRATIF' -O 'TCP_NODELAY IPTOS_LOWDELAY SO_KEEPALIVE SO_RCVBUF=8192 SO_SNDBUF=8192' -b 1200 -N 2>&1")

gave me that :

  Vid  Desktop                            DH        0  Mon Jun 18 17:41:36 2007

The two lines were concatenated from the place where the accent was.

I found the solution : php execute by default the command with LOCALE=C. 

I just added the following lines before shell_exec and the problem was solved :

$locale = 'fr_FR.UTF-8';
setlocale(LC_ALL, $locale);

Just adapt it to your language locale.
2007-10-05 05:01:41
I'm not sure what shell you are going to get with this function, but you can find out like this:


On my FreeBSD 6.1 box I get this:

PS1='$ '
PS2='> '

Very interesting.  Note that the PATH may not be as complete as you need.  I wanted to run Ghostscript via ImageMagik's "convert" and ended up having to add my path before running the command:

'export PATH="/usr/local/bin/"; convert -scale 25%x25% file1.pdf[0] file2.png 2>&1';

ALSO, note that shell_exec() does not grab STDERR, so use "2>&1" to redirect it to STDOUT and catch it.
2007-10-15 11:01:04
The Subversion error "svn: Can't recode string" can be caused by the locale being wrong.  Try
(or whatever your preferred locale is) before you call shell_exec()
2007-11-08 09:45:46
RE: kamermans note,

I was having a similar problem with the PATH variable when using shell_exec. Even with a hard-coded full path to a binary, I also got an error about a .so file that could not be found. After some reading up, I realized I had to set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable:


'export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="' $path_to_library_dir .'"; ' $path_to_binary;


Hope this saves someone a headache,

- G
2008-04-03 11:33:02
How to get the volume label of a drive on Windows


function GetVolumeLabel($drive) {
// Try to grab the volume name
if (preg_match('#Volume in drive [a-zA-Z]* is (.*)\n#i'shell_exec('dir '.$drive.':'), $m)) {
$volname ' ('.$m[1].')';
  } else {
$volname '';



Note: The regular expression assumes a english version of Windows is in use. modify it accordingly for a different localized copy of Windows.
2008-05-12 23:48:21
A simple way to handle the problem of capturing stderr output when using shell-exec under windows is to call ob_start() before the command and ob_end_clean() afterwards, like this:

$dir shell_exec('dir B:');
// B: does not exist
    // do whatever you want with the stderr output here
// B: exists and $dir holds the directory listing
   // do whatever you want with it here
ob_end_clean();   // get rid of the evidence :-)

If B: does not exist then $dir will be Null and the output buffer will have captured the message: 

  'The system cannot find the path specified'. 

(under WinXP, at least). If B: exists then $dir will contain the directory listing and we probably don't care about the output buffer. In any case it needs to be deleted before proceeding.
2009-01-07 17:46:22
Easy way to capture error output in windows

// we'll execute a php script as an example:
$out = shell_exec("php test.php 2> output");
print $out ? $out : join("", file("output"));

We assume in this case if the script produces output it has ran ok, the $out variable will then contain the output, if $out is empty then we read the captured error output from a file simply called 'output'.

Hope this helps someone
2009-02-01 05:07:02
Here is a easy way to grab STDERR and discard STDOUT:
    add  '2>&1 1> /dev/null' to the end of your shell command

For example:
shell_exec('ls file_not_exist 2>&1 1> /dev/null');
2009-04-08 21:29:00
it took me a heck of a lot of head banging to finally solve this problem so I thought that I would mention it here.

If you are using Eclipse and you try to do something like


shell_exec("php -s $File");   //this fails 

it will always fail when run inside of the Eclipse debugger.  This happens on both Linux and Windows.  I finally isolated the problem to changes that Eclipse makes to the environment when debugging.   

The fix is to force the ini setting.  If you don't need an ini then -n is sufficient.

shell_exec("php -n -s $File");   //this works

Of course if you run it outside of the debugger then it works fine without the -n.   You may want to use a debug flag to control this behavior.
2010-01-13 20:47:24
Also after lots of hair pulling why shell_exec didn't want to work for me I found out that in my case some things needed to be set (which normally are set by default).

the options -jo 
-j means: don't recreate the paths found in the archive
-o means: always overwrite files

And I needed to specify the destination path (even though it should unzip in the same directory when not specified), this is done by -d [path]

The strange thing was that I didn't have to put these options when I would give the command on the command-line, only when I would call it with shell_exec.

So the complete command in php would be for me:

shell_exec('unzip -jo /path_to_archive/  -d /destination_path')

And putting en echo in front will help you a lot.
it should tell you something like this:

Archive:  /path_to_zip/
  inflating: /destination_path/file1.jpeg 
  inflating: /destination_path/file2.jpeg
  inflating: /destination_path/file3.jpeg
2010-02-17 05:21:16
If you're trying to run a command such as "gunzip -t" in shell_exec and getting an empty result, you might need to add 2>&1 to the end of the command, eg:

Won't always work:
echo shell_exec("gunzip -c -t $path_to_backup_file");

Should work:
echo shell_exec("gunzip -c -t $path_to_backup_file 2>&1");

In the above example, a line break at the beginning of the gunzip output seemed to prevent shell_exec printing anything else. Hope this saves someone else an hour or two.
2011-10-21 10:34:11
As others have noted, shell_exec and the backtick operator (`) both return NULL if the executed command doesn't output anything.

This can be worked around by doing anything like the following:

shell_exec ("silentcmd && echo ' '");

Here we're simply outputting blank whitespace if  the command succeeds - which satisfies this slightly strange issue.  From there, you can trim() the command output etc.
2012-08-10 14:39:59
On Windows, if shell_exec does NOT return the result you expected and the PC is on an enterprise network, set the Apache service (or wampapache) to run under your account instead of the 'Local system account'. Your account must have admin privileges.

To change the account go to console services, right click on the Apache service, choose properties, and select the connection tab.
2014-09-11 16:52:11
To run a command in background, the output must be redirected to /dev/null. This is written in exec() manual page. There are cases where you need the output to be logged somewhere else though. Redirecting the output to a file like this didn't work for me:

# this doesn't work!
shell_exec(" 2>&1 >> /tmp/mylog &");

Using the above command still hangs web browser request.

Seems like you have to add exactly "/dev/null" to the command line. For instance, this worked:

# works, but output is lost
shell_exec(" 2>/dev/null >/dev/null &");

But I wanted the output, so I used this:

(" 2>&1 | tee -a /tmp/mylog 2>/dev/null >/dev/null &");

Hope this helps someone.
2015-12-16 04:26:07
With PHP on Windows, if you get the 'Warning: shell_exec() []: Unable to execute' error, then you need to check the permissions on file 'C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe'. You need read/execute permission on this file.  I would recommend using the sysinternals Process Monitor 'procmon.exe' to confirm the user that is trying to run 'cmd.exe'. Filter on 'Process Name' is 'php-cgi.exe' and 'Path' ends with 'cmd.exe'. Look at the event properties for the task with the access denied error, and it will show you the 'Impersonating' user name.  This is usually the 'Internet Guest Account', often 'NT AUTHORITY\IUSR'.
2018-04-27 17:13:36




I simply could not get:

shell_exec("bash command <(another bash command)")

to work. I have now got it working by forcing the bash shell using: 

shell_exec("bash -c \"bash command <(another bash command)\"")
2018-10-12 13:21:47
Here is my gist to all:

function execCommand($command, $log) {

    if (substr(php_uname(), 0, 7) == "Windows")
        pclose(popen("start /B " . $command . " 1> $log 2>&1", "r"));
        shell_exec( $command . " 1> $log 2>&1" );
    return false;
2019-03-21 00:50:44

    Поддержать сайт на родительском проекте КГБ