Some things in phpspec can be configured in a phpspec.yml, .phpspec.yml, or phpspec.yml.dist file in the root of your project (the directory where you run the phpspec command).

You can use a different config file name and path with the --config option:

$ bin/phpspec run --config path/to/different-phpspec.yml

You can use the .yaml extension in place of .yml if preferred.

You can also specify default values for config variables across all repositories by creating the file .phpspec.yml in your home folder (Unix systems). phpspec will use your personal preference for all settings that are not defined in the project’s configuration.


phpspec can try to autodetect your naming scheme by querying Composer for autoload rules you can define in the Composer manifest. If unsuccessful, it assumes a PSR-0 mapping of namespaces to the src and spec directories by default. So for example running:

$ bin/phpspec describe Acme/Text/Markdown

Will create a spec in the spec/Acme/Text/MarkdownSpec.php file and the class will be created in src/Acme/Text/Markdown.php

To use PSR-4 you configure the namespace and psr4_prefix options in a suite to the part that should be omitted from the directory structure:

        namespace: Acme\Text
        psr4_prefix: Acme\Text

With this config running:

$ bin/phpspec describe Acme/Text/Markdown

will now put the spec in spec/MarkdownSpec.php and the class will be created in src/Markdown.php.

Alternatively, you can choose to use Composer to provide the necessary configuration:

composer_suite_detection: true # translates to:
                                  # - root_directory: '.'
                                  # - spec_prefix: spec

Spec and source locations

The default locations used by phpspec for the spec files and source files are spec and src respectively. You may find that this does not always suit your needs. You can specify an alternative location in the configuration file. You cannot do this at the command line as it does not make sense for a spec or source files path to change at runtime.

You can specify alternative values depending on the namespace of the class you are describing. In phpspec, you can group specification files by a certain namespace in a suite. For each suite, you have several configuration settings:

  • namespace - The namespace of the classes. Used for generating spec files, locating them and generating code;
  • spec_prefix [default: spec] - The namespace prefix for specifications. The complete namespace for specifications is %spec_prefix%\%namespace%;
  • src_path [default: src] - The path to store the generated classes. By default paths are relative to the location where phpspec was invoked. phpspec creates the directories if they do not exist. This does not include the namespace directories;
  • spec_path [default: .] - The path of the specifications. This does not include the spec prefix or namespace.
  • psr4_prefix [default: null] - A PSR-4 prefix to use.

Some examples:

        namespace: Acme\Text
        spec_prefix: acme_spec

    # shortcut for
    # my_suite:
    #     namespace: The\Namespace
    my_suite: The\Namespace


You may use %paths.config% in src_path and spec_path making paths relative to the location of the config file.

Some examples:

        namespace: Acme\Text
        spec_prefix: acme_spec
        src_path: '%paths.config%/src'
        spec_path: '%paths.config%'

phpspec will use suite settings based on the namespaces. If you have suites with different spec directories then phpspec run will run the specs from each of the directories using the relevant suite settings.

When you use phpspec desc phpspec creates the spec using the matching configuration. E.g. phpspec desc Acme/Text/MyClass will use the the namespace acme_spec\Acme\Text\MyClass.

If the namespace does not match one of the namespaces in the suites config then phpspec uses the default settings. If you want to change the defaults then you can add a suite without specifying the namespace.

        spec_prefix: acme_spec
        spec_path: acmes-specs
        src_path: acme-src

You can just set this suite if you wanted to override the default settings for all namespaces. Since phpspec matches on namespaces you cannot specify more than one set of configuration values for a null namespace. If you do add more than one suite with a null namespace then phpspec will use the last one defined.

Note that the default spec directory is ., specs are created in the spec directory because it is the first part of the spec namespace. This means that changing the spec_path will result in additional directories before spec not instead of it. For example, with the config:

        namespace: Acme\Text
        spec_prefix: acme_spec


$ bin/phpspec describe Acme/Text/Markdown

will create the spec in the file acme_spec/spec/Acme/Text/MarkdownSpec.php


You can also set another default formatter instead of progress. The --format option of the command can override this setting. To set the formatter, use pretty

The formatters available by default are:

  • progress (default)
  • html/h
  • pretty
  • junit
  • dot
  • tap

More formatters can be added by extensions.


You can turn off code generation in your config file by setting code_generation:

code_generation: false

You can also set your tests to stop on failure by setting stop_on_failure:

stop_on_failure: true

Moreover you can turn on verbosity by setting verbose:

verbose: true

As PHPSpec does not have a distinction between canonicals verbosity levels (-v, -vv, -vvv) you cannot specify it through configuration file. As a matter of fact running PHPSpec with any of these flags as unix command option, will result in the same output. If you run the command with -q or --quite the verbose options will be overridden.


To register phpspec extensions, use the extensions option. This is an array of extension classes:

    - PhpSpec\Symfony2Extension\Extension

Custom matchers

You may want to make custom matchers available in all specs. Custom matchers can be registered by extension, but there is a simplier way: use the matchers setting and provide an array of matcher classes. Each of them must implement PhpSpec\Matcher\Matcher interface:

    - Acme\Matchers\ValidJsonMatcher
    - Acme\Matchers\PositiveIntegerMatcher


There are times when you would be required to load classes and execute additional statements that the Composer-generated autoloader may not provide, which is likely for a legacy project that wants to introduce phpspec for designing new classes that may rely on some legacy collaborators.

To load a custom bootstrap when running phpspec, use the bootstrap setting:

bootstrap: path/to/different-bootstrap.php

This setting should be in the root of the config file (i.e. not nested under suites or anything else).