Note: This manual is provided for your convenience only - this is not the official source and may not be 100% up to date.

Expect Functions

XXXV. Expect Functions


This extension allows to interact with processes through PTY. You may consider using the expect:// wrapper with the filesystem functions which provide a simpler and more intuitive interface.


This module uses the functions of the expect library. You need libexpect version >= 5.43.0.


This PECL extension is not bundled with PHP. Information for installing this PECL extension may be found in the manual chapter titled Installation of PECL extensions. Additional information such as new releases, downloads, source files, maintainer information, and a CHANGELOG, can be located here:

In PHP 4 this PECL extensions source can be found in the ext/ directory within the PHP source or at the PECL link above. In order to use these functions you must compile PHP with expect support by using the --with-expect[=DIR] configure option.

Windows users will enable php_expect.dll inside of php.ini in order to use these functions. In PHP 4 this DLL resides in the extensions/ directory within the PHP Windows binaries download. The DLL for this PECL extension may be downloaded from either the PHP Downloads page or from

Runtime Configuration

The behaviour of these functions is affected by settings in php.ini.

In order to configure expect extension, there are configuration options in the configuration file php.ini.

Table 1. Expect Configure Options

For further details and definitions of the PHP_INI_* constants, see the Appendix H.

Here's a short explanation of the configuration directives.

expect.timeout integer

The timeout period for waiting for the data, when using the expect_expectl() function.

A value of "-1" disables a timeout from occurring.

Note: A value of "0" causes the expect_expectl() function to return immediately.

expect.loguser boolean

Whether expect should send any output from the spawned process to stdout. Since interactive programs typically echo their input, this usually suffices to show both sides of the conversation.

expect.logfile string

Name of the file, where the output from the spawned process will be written. If this file doesn't exist, it will be created.

Note: If this configuration is not empty, the output is written regardless of the value of expect.loguser.

Resource Types

expect_popen() returns an open PTY stream used by expect_expectl().

Predefined Constants

The constants below are defined by this extension, and will only be available when the extension has either been compiled into PHP or dynamically loaded at runtime.

EXP_GLOB (integer)

Indicates that the pattern is a glob-style string pattern.

EXP_EXACT (integer)

Indicates that the pattern is an exact string.

EXP_REGEXP (integer)

Indicates that the pattern is a regexp-style string pattern.

EXP_EOF (integer)

Value, returned by expect_expectl(), when EOF is reached.

EXP_TIMEOUT (integer)

Value, returned by expect_expectl() upon timeout of seconds, specified in value of expect.timeout


Value, returned by expect_expectl() if no pattern have been matched.


This example connects to the remote host via SSH, and prints the remote uptime.

Example 1. Expect Usage Example

("expect.loguser", "Off");

$stream = fopen ("expect://ssh root@remotehost uptime", "r");

$cases = array (
  array (
0 => "password:", 1 => PASSWORD)

switch (
expect_expectl ($stream, $cases))
fwrite ($stream, "password\n");

  die (
"Error was occurred while connecting to the remote host!\n");

while (
$line = fgets ($stream)) {
fclose ($stream);
Table of Contents
expect_expectl -- Waits until the output from a process matches one of the patterns, a specified time period has passed, or an EOF is seen
expect_popen -- Execute command via Bourne shell, and open the PTY stream to the process