Laravel Herd: Quick Laravel PHP Development Environment for MacOS
Laravel Herd: Quick Laravel PHP Development Environment for MacOS

Introducing Laravel Herd: A Native MacOS Development Environment

1. Introduction

Laravel developers using MacOS for their development work have reason to celebrate! On July 19th, Beyond Code introduced “Herd,” a free native macOS application designed to revolutionize PHP development environments. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of Laravel Herd to understand its features and benefits.

2. Unveiling Laravel Herd

Laravel Herd is a powerful, native macOS application that offers a lightning-fast development environment for both Laravel and PHP projects. It comes equipped with all the essential components, including PHP (ranging from versions 7.4 to the cutting-edge 8.3 Alpha), nginx, and dnsmasq.

3. Streamlined Development with Herd

With Laravel Herd, creating and running Laravel projects on your Mac is a breeze. It seamlessly routes all requests to *.test domains to the corresponding local site on your machine. This means you can test your Laravel applications locally without the hassle of setting up a web server or configuring DNS. Additionally, Herd’s use of static binaries for PHP, nginx, and dnsmasq ensures unparalleled speed, enabling faster Laravel application development and quicker feedback on your changes.

4. Installing Herd on Your MacOS

Installing Herd on your MacOS is straightforward. Visit the official website at to download the application for free. After downloading, open the disk image and drag the application into your /Applications folder. Launch Herd and follow the setup instructions, which allow you to configure it from scratch or import configurations from Laravel Valet.

5. Key Highlights and Considerations

One of the standout features of Herd is its independence from Homebrew, a package manager, eliminating any dependencies. Herd also boasts support for multiple PHP versions, including PHP 7.4, PHP 8.0, PHP 8.1, PHP 8.2, and PHP 8.3. Moreover, it provides a user-friendly interface for managing your local sites, enabling SSL security and effortless PHP version updates for each site.

6. PHP Extensions Supported by Herd

Herd comes pre-loaded with a comprehensive list of PHP extensions, including but not limited to intl, pdo_sqlite, curl, openssl, and many more. It covers a wide range of functionalities to support your development needs. However, please note that due to Herd’s use of statically compiled PHP binaries, adding new extensions is not possible.

7. Migrating from Laravel Valet to Herd

For those currently using Laravel Valet, transitioning to Herd is a seamless process. Herd is built on top of Valet, making migration hassle-free. When you install Herd for the first time, it automatically detects your existing Valet setup and migrates all settings, isolated sites, and SSL certificates to Herd. This means you can make the switch without any major configuration adjustments. Should you ever need to switch back to Valet, it’s a simple process since Herd has no dependencies on your system.

8. Assessing Strengths and Limitations

Like any development environment, Laravel Herd has its strengths and limitations:


  • Herd offers a more streamlined and integrated development environment compared to Laravel Valet.
  • Its statically compiled PHP binaries ensure exceptional performance on Apple silicon Macs, delivering a significant speed boost.


  • Herd supports PHP versions from 7.4 onwards, so you cannot use versions predating PHP 7.4.
  • It does not allow the installation of additional PHP extensions out of the box.
9. Conclusion

In conclusion, Laravel Herd is an exciting addition to the Laravel development ecosystem. It provides a fast and user-friendly environment for PHP and Laravel development on MacOS. We’ve also seen how seamlessly you can migrate from Laravel Valet to Herd, making it a compelling choice for developers seeking a more efficient and robust development environment. If you’re a MacOS-based Laravel developer, give Herd a try; you might just find your new favorite tool for building exceptional web applications.

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