XHProf Code Profiler

Last updated on
30 September 2016

XHProf is a utility for profiling PHP. Unlike Xdebug profiling, it profiles both CPU cycles and memory usage (Xdebug 2.0.0RC4 and later only provides memory usage information in function traces).


Figure out where your php.ini file is:

 php -i | grep php.ini

XHProf Install

The following are the setup instructions for various platforms.
Originally from the contributor task profiling documentation: https://drupal.org/node/1999108

Acquia Dev Desktop

There is already an xhprof.so in the DevDesktop extensions folder.

Edit your php.ini file, which should be something like /Applications/DevDesktop/php5_5/bin/php.ini.

Uncomment (Enable) xhprof.so


Add the output directory (the kit assumes this is the output directory)


Make sure you add your PHP to your $PATH
Edit your .bash_profile and add the following:

export PATH=/Applications/acquia-drupal/php5_3/bin:$PATH


See also: Installing XHProf for MAMP on Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) if you are using MAMP.

(Get the xhprof.so from https://github.com/cam8001/php-xhprof-mamp but note that the xhprof.output_dir is different in these instructions.)

1) Copy xhprof.so to /Applications/MAMP/bin/php/php5.x.x/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-200xxxxx/ (replacing x with your PHP version and xxxxx with the date on the existing extensions dir)

2) Add the following lines to your php.ini (Open MAMP click on File → Edit Template → PHP → PHP 5.x.x php.ini)


Mac (with Homebrew PHP)

brew install php54-xhprof (or whatever PHP version you're running).

Then edit your ext-xhprof.ini at e.g. /usr/local/etc/php/5.4/conf.d/ext-xhprof.ini to add:



Use pecl:

pear channel-update pear.php.net
pecl install xhprof


pecl install channel://pecl.php.net/xhprof-0.9.4
apt-get install php5-dev

Add the xhprof config /etc/php5/conf.d/xhprof.ini:



These are useful if you want a different version of XHProf, e.g. 0.9.4.

  1. Download from PECL - pecl d xhprof-0.9.4. Confirm this is the latest version of xhprof before downloading
  2. Extract the xhprof PECL package - tar xzf xhprof-0.9.4.tgz
  3. Compile the xhprof package.
    cd xhprof-0.9.4/extension
    sudo make install

Verify XHProf is installed

To verify that xhprof is installed and working, run the following:

php -i | grep xhprof

You should see output similar to the following:

xhprof => 0.9.4

If not, check the installation instructions above (make sure to restart your web server!) accordingly. Make note of the version number for later.

Capturing and viewing XHProf output

XHProf module

The easiest way is to get up and running is to download and enable the XHProf module.

drush dl XHProf
drush en XHProf -y

Turn on and configure page profiling at admin/config/development/xhprof.

XHProf settings page

After saving the form, all pages will have a small "XHProf output" link in the page footer. Click it to view the output of that page, or go to admin/reports/xhprof for a list of all reports.

XHProf output

Unfortunately, the Drupal implementation of XHProf lacks the ability to view the 'callgraph' - this is a really useful chart of how the functions all relate to each other and helps to visualize what is going on.

Capturing and viewing XHProf output in a CLI Drupal Web Test

Certainly not the best/only way, but maybe it will help to give your project lift:
If you're using run-tests.sh to test via command line PHP, you will need to tell xhprof when to start capture, when to stop, and when/where to write its captured output. With the xhprof module enabled in your test Drupal instance, xhprof can be added to your WebTestCase class. Our web tests extend the core DrupalWebTestCase.
In setUp():

    if (module_exists('xhprof')) {
      module_load_include('module', 'xhprof');

And add two more helper methods, xhprof_start() and xhprof_stop():

   * Start xhprof profile collection.
  public function xhprof_start() {
    if (module_exists('xhprof')) {

   * Stop xhprof profile collection session.
   * @return string XHProf formatted output ID or string message that none is available.
  public function xhprof_stop() {

    if (module_exists('xhprof')) {
      $xhprof_data = xhprof_disable();
      $class = variable_get('xhprof_default_class', 'XHProfRunsFile');
      $xhprof_runs = new $class();
      return $xhprof_runs->save_run($xhprof_data, 'My Drupal Project');
    } else {
      return 'XHProf module not enabled in this Drupal test db.';


Then, when you want to test something, wrap your tested snippet with start and stop like:

    // call your nasty function full of stink that needs profiling
    $xhprof_id = $this->xhprof_stop();
    // output your xhprof_id in a way that makes sense to you.. as an assert statement or print_r
    // and continue with your assertion and such

Capturing and viewing native XHProf output

Manually download and extract XHProf (make sure the version matches the PHP ini output above).


pecl d xhprof-0.9.4
sudo pecl install xhprof-beta (if that doesn't work try just xhprof)
tar xzf xhprof-0.9.4.tgz

To access the callgraphs, go to http://[xhprof.loc]/xhprof_html/index.php (or whatever you set up for your localhost of XHProf in step x) and click on any of the report numbers. There will be a link near the top that reads 'View Full Callgraph'. If you click on this and you get an error (instead of a nice chart) you probably need to install Graphviz. You can grab the .pkg for the appropriate version for your OS at http://www.graphviz.org/Download_macos.php. Click through the installation and then the graphs should work.