Debug on Atom with PHP XDebug

1. Install xdebug:

sudo apt install php-xdebug

2. Check installation:

Now, (1) open the page, (2) search for xdebug, and (3) get the xdebug.ini path:

Down on the same page, check if the module is enabled:

Now you can remove the phpinfo.php file (optional):

rm phpinfo.php

3. Add these lines to xdebug.ini:

xdebug.remote_connect_back=1    # Not safe for production servers

4. Install Atom plugin:

In Atom, install package php-debug by gwomacks:
Ctrl+Shift+P > Install Packages and Themes > php-debug

I recommend you to install the suggested plugins:

If you click to install the suggested plugins, wait until you get a success notification for each plugin before closing Atom.

5. Re-start Atom editor

6. To add breakpoints, click on the marker ruler:

WARNING: There are 2 breakpoint rulers (the blue dots):
Use the one at right (the small blue dot)

Use the one at RIGHT.


1. If it doesn’t work, you probably edited the wrong xdebug.ini file. The path with /cli/ folder on it is for the standalone php -S command. If you are using Nginx/Apache or FPM, then it’s a different path.

2. In older versions, you had to OPEN the “php debug” panel. You can open it by clicking on the bottom-left button on Atom. If the “php debug” panel is closed, the breakpoints WILL BE IGNORED. This has been fixed in more recent versions, but some bugs can return – so double check this.

3. There is a FAKE breakpoint: the one on the left. The correct one is the one at RIGHT. If you set the other breakpoint, it will be ignored.

4. Re-start Atom.

Close Menu