Running Controllers via CLI

As well as calling an application’s Controllers via the URL in a browser they can also be loaded via the command-line interface (CLI).


It is recommended to use Spark Commands for CLI scripts instead of calling controllers via CLI. See the Spark Commands and Creating Spark Commands page for detailed information.

Let’s try it: Hello World!

Create a Controller

Let’s create a simple controller so you can see it in action. Using your text editor, create a file called Tools.php, and put the following code in it:


namespace App\Controllers;

use CodeIgniter\Controller;

class Tools extends Controller
    public function message($to = 'World')
        return "Hello {$to}!" . PHP_EOL;


If you use Auto Routing (Improved), change the method name to cliMessage().

Then save the file to your app/Controllers/ directory.

Define a Route

If you use Auto Routing, skip this.

In your app/Config/Routes.php file you can create routes that are only accessible from the CLI as easily as you would create any other route. Instead of using the get(), post(), or similar method, you would use the cli() method. Everything else works exactly like a normal route definition:


$routes->cli('tools/message/(:segment)', 'Tools::message/$1');

For more information, see the Routes page.


If you enable Auto Routing (Legacy) and place the command file in app/Controllers, anyone could access the command with the help of Auto Routing (Legacy) via HTTP.

Run via CLI

Now normally you would visit your site using a URL similar to this:

Instead, we are going to open Terminal in Mac/Linux or go to Run > “cmd” in Windows and navigate to our CodeIgniter project’s web root.

$ cd /path/to/project/public
$ php index.php tools message

If you did it right, you should see “Hello World!” printed.

$ php index.php tools message "John Smith"

Here we are passing it an argument in the same way that URL parameters work. “John Smith” is passed as an argument and output is:

Hello John Smith!

That’s the Basics!

That, in a nutshell, is all there is to know about controllers on the command line. Remember that this is just a normal controller, so routing and _remap() works fine.


_remap() does not work with Auto Routing (Improved).

If you want to make sure running via CLI, check the return value of is_cli().

However, CodeIgniter provides additional tools to make creating CLI-accessible scripts even more pleasant, include CLI-only routing, and a library that helps you with CLI-only tools.