PHP Development Environment
PHP Development Environment

Revolutionize Your PHP Development with Herd for Mac


In the dynamic realm of web development, having a robust and agile development environment is paramount. Meet Herd, a game-changing native macOS application designed specifically for Laravel and PHP development. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the myriad benefits and functionalities of Herd, covering everything from installation to its remarkable strengths and minor limitations. Buckle up as we explore how this revolutionary tool can supercharge your PHP development experience on your Mac.

1. Unveiling Herd: A Turbocharged PHP Development Environment

Herd stands as a remarkable free macOS application, meticulously crafted to cater to the needs of Laravel and PHP developers. This powerful tool comes equipped with an array of essential components, including PHP (ranging from versions 7.4 to the cutting-edge 8.3 Alpha), nginx, and dnsmasq. Let’s dissect the core features that make Herd a standout choice for PHP enthusiasts.

2. Swift Installation of Herd on Your Mac

Eager to harness the prowess of Herd for your PHP development? Installing it on your Mac is a breeze. Follow our step-by-step guide to get started seamlessly:

3. Herd: The PHP Enthusiast’s Dream

Herd supports an array of PHP versions, ensuring you have the flexibility to choose the right one for your project:

  • PHP 7.4
  • PHP 8.0
  • PHP 8.1
  • PHP 8.2
  • PHP 8.3 (Alpha)

Moreover, Herd simplifies PHP management with an intuitive user interface that allows you to effortlessly handle your local sites. You can secure them via SSL and easily switch or update PHP versions, tailored to your project’s requirements.

4. A Wealth of Supported PHP Extensions

Herd comes preloaded with an impressive array of PHP extensions to cater to your diverse development needs. These extensions include:

  • intl
  • pdo_sqlite
  • sqlite3
  • curl
  • openssl
  • tokenizer
  • bcmath
  • bz2
  • calendar
  • dba
  • FTP
  • iconv
  • mysqli
  • mbstring
  • xml
  • simplexml
  • ctype
  • dom
  • pdo
  • filter
  • session
  • zlib
  • fileinfo
  • pdo_mysql
  • posix
  • sockets
  • shmop
  • sodium
  • sysvmsg
  • sysvsem
  • sysvshm
  • gd
  • zip
  • gmp
  • redis
  • xmlwriter
  • phar
  • exif
  • xmlreader
  • readline
  • pcntl
  • soap
  • imagick
  • ffi
  • opcache

Notably, this extensive list excludes only one extension: “Xdebug.” Due to Herd’s use of statically compiled PHP binaries, adding new extensions post-installation is not possible.

5. Seamlessly Transition from Laravel Valet to Herd

If you’re already using Laravel Valet and contemplating a switch to Herd, fret not. Herd is built on the foundation of Valet, making migration a smooth process. Here’s how you can effortlessly transition to Herd:

6. Assessing Herd’s Strengths and Minor Limitations

Herd offers a host of advantages that set it apart from other PHP development environments:


  • Streamlined Development: Herd bundles all essential components, simplifying your development workflow.
  • Blazing Fast: Herd’s PHP binaries are statically compiled, ensuring optimal performance on Apple silicon Macs.


While Herd is undeniably a potent development tool, it does have certain limitations:
  • Minimum PHP Version: Herd does not support PHP versions prior to 7.4.
  • Limited PHP Extensions: You cannot add extra PHP extensions post-installation.
Conclusion: Embrace Herd for a Transformative PHP Development Experience

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve introduced you to Herd, a revolutionary Laravel and PHP development environment tailor-made for macOS. From its swift installation process to its impressive array of features and extensions, Herd promises to elevate your PHP development endeavors to new heights. If you’re seeking a faster, more secure, and user-friendly alternative to Laravel Valet, look no further—give Herd a try and unlock the full potential of your Mac for PHP development. Your coding journey is about to get faster, smoother, and more efficient with Herd.

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