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Brush has been retired in favor of (Bee)[]. However, considering Brush has all features that pre-Composer era Drush did, which are still missing in Bee, and some users might still be using Brush, please note of the following facts:

  1. Brush won't properly function on PHP 8.x. and later.
  2. Expect no further bug fixes.
  3. Issues have been closed because of #2.
  4. PRoject will be archived in read-only state.


Brush is a command line shell and Unix scripting interface for Backdrop CMS. Brush core ships with lots of useful commands for interacting with code like modules/themes/profiles. Similarly, it runs update.php, executes sql queries and DB migrations, and misc utilities like run cron or clear cache.

Brush is build on top of completely refactored pre-Symfony, pre-Composer Drupal era Drush, namely version 4.6.0. As alternatives to Brush, you may like to consider using:

While each alternative has a limited list of commands working, almost all Drush commands work on Brush except just a few ones. To see the full list of avalable commands, install Brush and open the help.html file locally on your browser.

Read for the detailed information on three projects.


For Linux/Unix/Mac:

  1. Clone the Brush repository into a folder outside of your web site. For example:

    cd /usr/local/src &&
    sudo git clone
  2. To ease the use of brush,

    • create a link to brush in a directory that is in your PATH, e.g.:
      sudo ln -s /usr/local/src/brush/brush /usr/local/bin


    • add the folder that contains brush to your PATH

      This goes into .profile, .bash_aliases or .bashrc in your home folder.
      NOTE: You must log out and then log back in again or re-load your bash
      configuration file to apply your changes to your current session:

      source .bashrc


    • Usually, php is configured to use separate php.ini files for the web server
      and the command line. To see which php.ini file brush is using, run:
      brush status
    • Compare the php.ini that brush is using with the php.ini that the webserver is
      using. Make sure that brush's php.ini is given as much memory to work with as
      the web server is; otherwise, Backdrop might run out of memory when brush
      bootstraps it.
    • Brush requires a fairly unrestricted php environment to run in. In particular,
      you should ensure that safe_mode, open_basedir, disable_functions and
      disable_classes are empty.
    • If brush is using the same php.ini file as the web server, you can create
      a php.ini file exclusively for brush by copying your web server's php.ini
      file to the folder $HOME/.brush or the folder /etc/brush. Then you may edit
      this file and change the settings described above without affecting the
      php environment of your web server. Alternately, if you only want to
      override a few values, copy example.brush.ini from the "examples" folder
      into $HOME/.brush or the folder /etc/brush and edit to suit. See comments
      in example.brush.ini for more details.
  3. Start using brush by running brush from your Backdrop root directory.

For Windows:

  • Consider using on Linux/Unix/OSX using Virtualbox or other VM. Windows support is lacking.
  • Otherwise, try to install brush in similar ways which are recommended for drush on

To see colorized command line outputs, it's recommended to install Console_Color2 by running either:

pear install Console_Color2  


php pyrus.phar install pear/Console_Color2


Once installed and setup, you can use brush as follows while in
any Backdrop directory:

brush [options] <command> [argument1] [argument2]

Use the 'help' command to get a list of available options and commands:

brush help

For even more documentation, use the 'topic' command:

brush topic

For multisite installations, you might need to use the -l or other command line
options just to get brush to work:

brush -l help

Related Options:
-r , --root= Backdrop root directory to use
(default: current directory or anywhere in a Backdrop directory tree)
-l , --uri= URI of the backdrop site to use
(only needed in multisite environments)
-v, --verbose Display verbose output.
--php The absolute path to your php binary.

NOTE: If you do not specify a URI with -l and brush falls back to the default
site configuration, Backdrop's $GLOBAL['base_url'] will be set to http://default.
This may cause some functionality to not work as expected.

The brush core-cli command provide a customized bash shell or lets you enhance
your usual shell with its --pipe option.

Many commands support a --pipe option which returns machine readable output. See
brush pm-list --status=enabled --pipe as an example.

Very intensive scripts can exhaust your available PHP memory. One remedy is to
just restart automatically using bash. For example:

while true; do brush search-index; sleep 5; done


Inside the "examples" folder you will find some example files to help you
get started with your brush configuration file (example.brushrc.php),
site alias definitions (example.aliases.brushrc.php) and brush commands
( You will also see an example 'policy' file which
can be customized to block certain commands or arguments as your organization


If you get tired of typing options all the time, you can add them to your brush.php alias or
create a brushrc.php file. These provide additional options for your brush call. They provide
great flexibility for a multi-site installation, for example. See example.brushrc.php.


Brush lets you run commands on a remote server, or even on a set of remote servers.
See example.aliases.brushrc.php for more information.


Brush ships with a number of commands, but you can easily write
your own. In fact, writing a brush command is no harder than writing simple
Backdrop modules, since brush command files closely follow the structure of
ordinary Backdrop modules.

See for light details on the internals of a brush command file.
Otherwise, the core commands in brush are good models for your own commands.

You can put your brush command file in a number of places:

  • In a folder specified with the --include option (see brush topic docs-configuration).
  • Along with one of your existing modules. If your command is related to an
    existing module, this is the preferred approach.
  • In a .brush folder in your HOME folder. Note, that you have to create the
    .brush folder yourself.
  • In the system-wide brush commands folder, e.g. /usr/share/brush/commands

In any case, it is important that you end the filename with "", so
that brush can find it.


Bugs and Feature requests should be reported in the Issue Queue:

Current Maintainers



This project is GPL v3 software. See the LICENSE.txt file in this directory for
complete text.