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PHP Segmentation Fault Debug: What is it & How to Solve it

Feb 23, 22  |  Ibrahim Imran

When you're working on a project and your code doesn't operate as planned, you'll get a simple warning in PHP that says "segmentation fault." Isn't this the worst-case scenario for a PHP programmer? Well, if you have faced this issue and are in search of PHP segmentation fault debug, you’ve come to the right place. 

So, in this article, we'll talk about what segmentation is, why it happens, and how to find the line of code that's causing the problem in PHP. But first, let’s understand PHP.

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Understanding PHP

PHP is a server-side scripting language that many web developers use. It is free and open source. If you want to make lots of different things, like Graphical User Interfaces, you can use it to make them. It is also a good general-purpose language (GUIs).

The abbreviation PHP used to stand for "Personal Homepage." Hypertext Preprocessor used to be an acronym, but now it's an acronym for itself. When you use abbreviations, you don't always get the full meaning, because the first word itself is an abbreviation.

The first version of PHP came out 26 years ago. Now, it's on version 8, which will be released in November 2020. Version 7 is still the most popular, though.

People use PHP with the Zend engine, which is the most common way to run it. This isn't the only way to do it. There are also parrot, HPVM (HipHop Virtual Machine), and Hip Hop from Facebook.

Web servers are made mostly with PHP. It runs in the browser and can also be used on the command line, so it can be used both ways. The terminal is another way to show your code output, so if you don't want to do that, then you can show it in the terminal instead.

Now, back to the topic "PHP segmentation fault debug" Let's first go over what is segmentation and how it works. 

What is Segmentation and How Does it Work? 

The term "segmentation" refers to a memory management strategy used in operating systems. In other words, it is the process of segmenting or sectioning the computer's memory. Controlling memory is a basic component of an operating system. All procedures or tasks that must be completed in a computer are stored in various memory segments.

Why Does PHP Segmentation Fault Occur? 

Now that we're aware of what segmentation is about, let's discover why it occurs.

Because of the Memory Access Violation, a segmentation fault occurs. The error happens when a software tries to access a memory block that it is not permitted to access. To put it another way, you're approaching a memory location that isn't yours.

In short, it's referred to as a segfault. This mistake can be caused by a number of factors.

  • It's possible that your computer's setting is incomplete.
  • You're attempting to write into a Read-Only memory area.
  • You're attempting to access a memory location that has been freed (released).
  • You’ve used up all of the available memory.
  • The program has a flaw.

Take a look at the following software as an example.



return printNum() from function printNum();




This is an infinite recursion example. You can only recurse to a certain depth in recursion, which is determined by the size of your stack.

It will produce an error because it is technically limitless.

You must add a base case to this recursion to prevent it from devouring the entire stack.



if I == 10) return function printNum($i);


I I I I I I I I I I I $


printNum(0); printNum(++$i); printNum(++$i); printNum(++$i); printNum(++$i); printN


This code prints the numbers 0 through 9.

PHP Segmentation Fault Debug 

When a segfault occurs and you don't know where it happened, it's difficult to locate because your code contains hundreds or thousands of lines. As a result, we recommend that you utilize Xdebug. It's a PHP extension that helps you with PHP segmentation fault debug and much more. 

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If you try to access the restricted area of memory in any programming language, you will get a segmentation fault. In this article, we’ve explained segmentation, as well as the reasons for segmentation errors and PHP segmentation fault debug. We hope you find it useful.

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