What is Laravel Herd - an alternative to Laravel Valet?

On July 19, 2023, Laravel Herd was introduced at Laracon US. It was developed by Beyond Code. Laravel Herd is a free and super-fast native PHP/Laravel development environment. It has all you need to kickstart a Laravel project, including PHP and Nginx. With Herd installed, you can start developing without further configuration.

How to install PHP on a Mac with Laravel Herd

It’s very easy to install PHP on your Mac using Laravel Herd with the following steps:

  1. Download Herd from the official website.
  2. Once you’re done downloading the DMG file, double-click it to open it. Drag the Herd icon to the Applications folder. At this point, you can open Herd from your Applications folder.
  3. With the installation process behind you, you will have a working PHP and Laravel development environment.

What PHP versions are supported by Herd?

Herd supports PHP versions all the way from version 7.4 to 8.3. That being said, Laravel Herd supports the following PHP versions:

  • 7.4
  • 8.0
  • 8.1
  • 8.2
  • 8.3

Which PHP Libraries are included in Herd?

Most of the PHP libraries you’ll need for Laravel development are included in Herd. Here’s a complete list of PHP libraries in Herd:

  • bcmath
  • bz2
  • calendar
  • ctype
  • curl
  • dba
  • dom
  • exif
  • ffi
  • fileinfo
  • filter
  • ftp
  • gd
  • gmp
  • iconv
  • imagick
  • intl
  • mbstring
  • mysqli
  • opcache
  • openssl
  • pcntl
  • pdo
  • pdo_mysql
  • pdo_sqlite
  • phar
  • posix
  • readline
  • redis
  • session
  • shmop
  • simplexml
  • soap
  • sockets
  • sodium
  • sqlite3
  • sysvmsg
  • sysvsem
  • sysvshm
  • tokenizer
  • xml
  • xmlreader
  • xmlwriter
  • zip
  • zlib

Laravel Herd vs Laravel Valet

The PHP binaries in Herd are intended to run fast on an Apple Silicon Mac. This means you can expect significant improvements in the performance of Herd over Valet. While Herd supports PHP 7.4 to 8.3, you cannot add earlier versions.

And although Herd already has so many PHP extensions, you cannot add more extensions.

Is there a Windows or Linux Version? Will there ever be a Windows or Linux version?

Sadly, no. The developers say there is no Windows or Linux version now, and there will never be.

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