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Using a PHP Kafka Client: Quick Guide With Examples

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Apache Kafka is a distributed event streaming platform capable of handling trillions of events a day. It’s used for building real-time data pipelines and streaming applications. While Kafka is typically associated with languages like Java and Scala, there are PHP clients available that allow PHP applications to interact with Kafka. This blog post will focus on using a PHP Kafka client, providing examples to help you get started.

What is Kafka?

Kafka is an open-source platform developed by the Apache Software Foundation. It is used for building real-time data pipelines and streaming applications. Kafka is highly scalable and fault-tolerant, making it a popular choice for event streaming.

Why Use Kafka with PHP?

PHP is widely used for web development, and integrating Kafka with PHP can enable real-time data processing, logging, and monitoring within web applications. This integration is particularly useful for:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Logging and monitoring
  • Event-driven architectures
  • Data synchronization between microservices

PHP Kafka Client Libraries

Several PHP Kafka clients are available, but one of the most popular and feature-rich is php-rdkafka. This library is a PHP extension that provides a high-level API for Kafka, leveraging the underlying librdkafka library.

Installing php-rdkafka

Before you can use php-rdkafka, you need to install it. Here are the steps to install the php-rdkafka extension on a Unix-based system:

  1. Install librdkafka:

    sudo apt-get install librdkafka-dev
  2. Install php-rdkafka:

    pecl install rdkafka
  3. Enable the extension: Add extension=rdkafka.so to your php.ini file.

Basic Usage of php-rdkafka

Once you have installed php-rdkafka, you can start using it to produce and consume messages.

Producing Messages

Here’s a simple example of producing messages to a Kafka topic:

$conf = new RdKafka\Conf();
$conf->set('bootstrap.servers', 'localhost:9092');

$producer = new RdKafka\Producer($conf);

$topic = $producer->newTopic("test_topic");

for ($i = 0; $i < 10; $i++) {
    $topic->produce(RD_KAFKA_PARTITION_UA, 0, "Message $i");

while ($producer->getOutQLen() > 0) {

echo "Messages produced successfully.\n";

In this example, we create a Kafka producer that connects to a Kafka broker running on localhost:9092 and produces ten messages to the test_topic topic.

Consuming Messages

Here’s a simple example of consuming messages from a Kafka topic:

$conf = new RdKafka\Conf();
$conf->set('group.id', 'myConsumerGroup');

$conf->set('metadata.broker.list', 'localhost:9092');

$consumer = new RdKafka\KafkaConsumer($conf);


echo "Waiting for messages...\n";
while (true) {
    $message = $consumer->consume(120*1000);
    switch ($message->err) {
            echo "Message received: " . $message->payload . "\n";
            echo "No more messages; will wait for more\n";
            echo "Timed out\n";
            throw new \Exception($message->errstr(), $message->err);

In this example, we create a Kafka consumer that connects to the same Kafka broker, subscribes to the test_topic topic, and continuously consumes messages.

Advanced Configuration

The php-rdkafka library provides a wide range of configuration options to fine-tune the behavior of producers and consumers. For instance, you can configure message delivery reports, set custom serializers for keys and values, and handle various error scenarios.


Integrating Apache Kafka with PHP can significantly enhance the real-time capabilities of your web applications. By using the php-rdkafka client, you can easily produce and consume Kafka messages within your PHP code. This guide provided basic examples to help you get started. For more advanced usage and configuration, refer to the official php-rdkafka documentation and Kafka’s extensive feature set.

By mastering Kafka with PHP, you can build robust, scalable, and real-time data processing pipelines that can handle a wide variety of use cases, from analytics to microservices communication.

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