Console Tools, Shells & Tasks

CakePHP features not only a web framework but also a console framework for creating console applications. Console applications are ideal for handling a variety of background tasks such as maintenance, and completing work outside of the request-response cycle. CakePHP console applications allow you to reuse your application classes from the command line.

CakePHP comes with a number of console applications out of the box. Some of these applications are used in concert with other CakePHP features (like i18n), and others are for general use to get you working faster.

The CakePHP Console

This section provides an introduction into CakePHP at the command-line. Console tools are ideal for use in cron jobs, or command line based utilities that don’t need to be accessible from a web browser.

PHP provides a CLI client that makes interfacing with your file system and applications much smoother. The CakePHP console provides a framework for creating shell scripts. The Console uses a dispatcher-type setup to load a shell or task, and provide its parameters.


A command-line (CLI) build of PHP must be available on the system if you plan to use the Console.

Before we get into specifics, let’s make sure you can run the CakePHP console. First, you’ll need to bring up a system terminal. The examples shown in this section will be in bash, but the CakePHP Console is compatible with Windows as well. This example assumes that you are currently logged into a bash prompt at the root of your CakePHP application.

A CakePHP application contains src/Command, src/Shell and src/Shell/Task directories that contain its shells and tasks. It also comes with an executable in the bin directory:

$ cd /path/to/app
$ bin/cake


For Windows, the command needs to be bin\cake (note the backslash).

Deprecated since version 3.6.0: Shells are deprecated as of 3.6.0, but will not be removed until 5.x. Use Console Commands instead.

Running the Console with no arguments produces this help message:

Welcome to CakePHP v3.6.0 Console
App : App
Path: /Users/markstory/Sites/cakephp-app/src/
Current Paths:

* app: src
* root: /Users/markstory/Sites/cakephp-app
* core: /Users/markstory/Sites/cakephp-app/vendor/cakephp/cakephp

Available Commands:

- version
- help
- cache
- completion
- i18n
- schema_cache
- plugin
- routes
- server
- bug
- console
- event
- orm
- bake
- bake.bake
- migrations
- migrations.migrations

To run a command, type `cake shell_name [args|options]`
To get help on a specific command, type `cake shell_name --help`

The first information printed relates to paths. This is helpful if you’re running the console from different parts of the filesystem.

You could then run the any of the listed commands by using its name:

# run server shell
bin/cake server

# run migrations shell
bin/cake migrations -h

# run bake (with plugin prefix)
bin/cake bake.bake -h

Plugin commands can be invoked without a plugin prefix if the commands’s name does not overlap with an application or framework shell. In the case that two plugins provide a command with the same name, the first loaded plugin will get the short alias. You can always use the plugin.command format to unambiguously reference a command.

Console Applications

By default CakePHP will automatically discover all the commands in your application and its plugins. You may want to reduce the number of exposed commands, when building standalone console applications. You can use your Application’s console() hook to limit which commands are exposed and rename commands that are exposed:

// in src/Application.php
namespace App;

use App\Shell\UserShell;
use App\Shell\VersionShell;
use Cake\Http\BaseApplication;

class Application extends BaseApplication
    public function console($commands)
        // Add by classname
        $commands->add('user', UserCommand::class);

        // Add instance
        $commands->add('version', new VersionCommand());

        return $commands;

In the above example, the only commands available would be help, version and user. See the Commands section for how to add commands in your plugins.


When adding multiple commands that use the same Command class, the help command will display the shortest option.

New in version 3.5.0: The console hook was added.

Renaming Commands

There are cases where you will want to rename commands, to create nested commands or subcommands. While the default auto-discovery of commands will not do this, you can register your commands to create any desired naming.

You can customize the command names by defining each command in your plugin:

public function console($commands)
    // Add commands with nested naming
    $commands->add('user dump', UserDumpCommand::class)
    $commands->add('user:show', UserShowCommand::class)

    // Rename a command entirely
    $commands->add('lazer', UserDeleteCommand::class)

    return $commands;

When overriding the console() hook in your application, remember to call $commands->autoDiscover() to add commands from CakePHP, your application, and plugins.

If you need to rename/remove any attached commands, you can use the Console.buildCommands event on your application event manager to modify the available commands.


See the Console Commands chapter on how to create your first command. Then learn more about commands:

Routing in the Console Environment

In command-line interface (CLI), specifically your shells and tasks, env('HTTP_HOST') and other webbrowser specific environment variables are not set.

If you generate reports or send emails that make use of Router::url() those will contain the default host http://localhost/ and thus resulting in invalid URLs. In this case you need to specify the domain manually. You can do that using the Configure value App.fullBaseUrl from your bootstrap or config, for example.

For sending emails, you should provide Email class with the host you want to send the email with:

use Cake\Mailer\Email;

$email = new Email();
// Prior to 3.4 use domain()

This asserts that the generated message IDs are valid and fit to the domain the emails are sent from.