The Problem:

For reasons I'm not gonna get into, the path to my php executable is NOT /usr/bin/php but is instead something else (let's say it's /local/path/to/php).

My staging and production servers do use /usr/bin/php, however; Moreover, the non-standard php path doesn't exist on those servers.

The problem is that whenever I run a Drush command for a remote site, I get an error:

$ drush @mysite.remote status
bash: /local/path/to/php: No such file or directory

Since /local/path/to/php definitely exists on my local machine (or else my local sites wouldn't work and drush would fail) I can only assume that error is coming from the remote server.

I know I can pass --php=/usr/bin/php to Drush, but there are some less Drupal-savvy devs on my team, so I want to get it configured for them so they don't have to think about it.

I also know about the $DRUSH_PHP environment variable, but setting that to /usr/bin/php breaks drush on my dev machine entirely, so that's not an option either. It just straight-up breaks Drush.

The Question:

Is there a way to configure my remote aliases to use a specific path to PHP that is different to my local machine's PHP path? (And why is a remote server trying to use a local path to PHP in the first place?)

If not, what workarounds are there? (I'm hoping I won't have to create a symlink at /non/standard/php to /usr/bin/php on my servers, because that feels fragile and hack-ish, but if there are no alternatives, it'll have to do.)

Drush 7.4.0

1 Answer 1


From example.aliases.drushrc.php:

Although most aliases will contain only a few options, a number of settings that are commonly used appear below:


'php': path to custom php interpreter. Windows support limited to Cygwin.

So try somtehing like:

$aliases['example'] = array(
  'uri' => 'example.com',
  'root' => '/var/www/example.com',
  'remote-host' => 'www.example.com',
  'remote-user' => 'user',
  'php' => '/path/to/php/on/the/server'

You could try that. If this doesn't work I would suggest to update your drush version (locally and on the server) and try again, before doing any strange symlinking on the server.

  • Yep, this worked like a charm. I went up and down that example file I thought a million times and couldn't find anything about PHP, so I don't know how I missed that. Thanks!
    – calvin
    Jun 6, 2017 at 17:24
  • any idea how to do this in Drush 9?
    – bleen
    Mar 9, 2019 at 3:09

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