Console Commands

In addition to a web framework, CakePHP also provides a console framework for creating command line tools & applications. Console applications are ideal for handling a variety of background & maintenance tasks that leverage your existing application configuration, models, plugins and domain logic.

CakePHP provides several console tools for interacting with CakePHP features like i18n and routing that enable you to introspect your application and generate related files.

The CakePHP Console

The CakePHP Console uses a dispatcher-type system to load commands, parse their arguments and invoke the correct command. While the examples below use bash the CakePHP console is compatible with any *nix shell and windows.

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).

Running the Console with no arguments will list out available commands. 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 command’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\Command\UserCommand;
use App\Command\VersionCommand;
use Cake\Console\CommandCollection;
use Cake\Http\BaseApplication;

class Application extends BaseApplication
    public function console(CommandCollection $commands): CommandCollection
        // 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.

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(CommandCollection $commands): CommandCollection
    // 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 Command Objects chapter on how to create your first command. Then learn more about commands:

CakePHP Provided 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();

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