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Use Gulp to Start a Laravel PHP Server

Use Gulp to Start a Laravel PHP Server

Today we'll be showing off a quick tip for making your Gulp files a little more useful.

When building out Laravel applications, if we are using PHP's built-in server, then we can start our applications using:

$ php artisan serve

This will start our Laravel server and let us develop.


We must usually also start up Gulp (whether we use Elixir or plain Gulp).

Starting a PHP Server with Gulp

Let's say we wanted to consolidate more commands into our Gulp file. There's just something cool about giving other users access to your project and giving them the following instructions:

  1. Clone/fork the repo
  2. Install dependencies (composer install and npm install)
  3. Start everything (gulp)

Simple and easy.

Luckily there's a neat npm package called gulp-connect-php.

Using gulp-connect-php

Start a new Laravel install using the Laravel CLI tools.

$ laravel new site


Now we can grab all the packages that we need:

$ cd site
$ npm install gulp gulp-connect-php --save-dev

With these packages, let's move into our gulpfile.js. Clear out what's in there currently (there will be some lines about elixir).

The Task

This is what our new gulpfile.js will look like:

// grab all our packages
var gulp = require('gulp'),
    php = require('gulp-connect-php');

// create a task to serve the app
gulp.task('serve', function() {

    // start the php server
    // make sure we use the public directory since this is Laravel
        base: './public'


Now we can use this serve task.

$ gulp serve


Note: If you run into any errors, make sure your Laravel installation is good to go. I had to create my .env file and create a new application key using php artisan key:generate to get this to work.


Just like that, with one simple package, we have given our gulpfile.js another job to help simplify our development lives.

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