What are Factories?

Like Services, Factories are an extension of autoloading that helps keep your code concise yet optimal, without having to pass around object instances between classes.

Factories are similar to CodeIgniter 3’s $this->load in the following points:

  • Load a class

  • Share the loaded class instance

At its simplest, Factories provide a common way to create a class instance and access it from anywhere. This is a great way to reuse object states and reduce memory load from keeping multiple instances loaded across your app.

Any class can be loaded by Factories, but the best examples are those classes that are used to work on or transmit common data. The framework itself uses Factories internally, e.g., to make sure the correct configuration is loaded when using the Config class.

Differences from Services

Factories require a concrete class name to instantiate and do not have code to create instances.

So, Factories are not good for creating a complex instance that needs many dependencies, and you cannot change the class of the instance to be returned.

On the other hand, Services have code to create instances, so it can create a complex instance that needs other services or class instances. When you get a service, Services require a service name, not a class name, so the returned instance can be changed without changing the client code.

Loading Classes

Loading a Class

Take a look at Models as an example. You can access the Factory specific to Models by using the magic static method of the Factories class, Factories::models().

The static method name is called component.

Passing Classname without Namespace

If you pass a classname without a namespace, Factories first searches in the App namespace for the path corresponding to the magic static method name. Factories::models() searches the app/Models directory.

Passing Short Classname

In the following code, if you have App\Models\UserModel, the instance will be returned:


use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

$users = Factories::models('UserModel');

If you don’t have App\Models\UserModel, it searches for Models\UserModel in all namespaces.

Next time you ask for the same class anywhere in your code, Factories will be sure you get back the instance as before:


use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

class SomeOtherClass
    public function someFunction()
        $users = Factories::models('UserModel');

        // ...
Passing Short Classname with Sub-directories

If you want to load a class in sub directories, you use the / as a separator. The following code loads app/Libraries/Sub/SubLib.php if it exists:

use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

$lib = Factories::libraries('Sub/SubLib');

Passing Fully Qualified Classname

You could also request a fully qualified classname:

use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

$users = Factories::models('Blog\Models\UserModel');
// Or
$users = Factories::models(\Blog\Models\UserModel::class);

It returns the instance of Blog\Models\UserModel if it exists.


Prior to v4.4.0, when you requested a fully qualified classname, if you had only Blog\Models\UserModel, the instance would be returned. But if you had both App\Models\UserModel and Blog\Models\UserModel, the instance of App\Models\UserModel would be returned.

If you wanted to get Blog\Models\UserModel, you needed to disable the option preferApp:

use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

$users = Factories::models('Blog\Models\UserModel', ['preferApp' => false]);

Convenience Functions

Two shortcut functions for Factories have been provided. These functions are always available.


The first is config() which returns a new instance of a Config class. The only required parameter is the class name:


$appConfig = config('App');

// The code above is the same as the code below.
$appConfig = \CodeIgniter\Config\Factories::config('App');


The second function, model() returns a new instance of a Model class. The only required parameter is the class name:


$user = model('UserModel');

// The code above is the same as the code below.
$user = \CodeIgniter\Config\Factories::models('UserModel');

Defining Classname to be Loaded

Added in version 4.4.0.

You could define a classname to be loaded before loading the class with the Factories::define() method:

use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

Factories::define('models', 'Myth\Auth\Models\UserModel', 'App\Models\UserModel');

The first parameter is a component. The second parameter is a class alias (the first parameter to Factories magic static method), and the third parameter is the true fully qualified classname to be loaded.

After that, if you load Myth\Auth\Models\UserModel with Factories, the App\Models\UserModel instance will be returned:

$users = model('Myth\Auth\Models\UserModel');

Factory Parameters

Factories takes as a second parameter an array of option values (described below). These directives will override the default options configured for each component.

Any more parameters passed at the same time will be forwarded on to the class constructor, making it easy to configure your class instance on-the-fly. For example, say your app uses a separate database for authentication and you want to be sure that any attempts to access user records always go through that connection:


use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

$conn  = db_connect('auth');
$users = Factories::models('UserModel', [], $conn);

Now any time the UserModel is loaded from Factories it will in fact be returning a class instance that uses the alternate database connection.

Factories Options

The default behavior might not work for every component. For example, say your component name and its path do not align, or you need to limit instances to a certain type of class. Each component takes a set of options to direct discovery and instantiation.






string or null

The name of the component (if different than the static method). This can be used to alias one component to another.

null (defaults to the component name)


string or null

The relative path within the namespace/folder to look for classes.

null (defaults to the component name, but makes the first character uppercase)


string or null

A required class name to match on the returned instance.

null (no filtering)



Whether to return a shared instance of the class or load a fresh one.




Whether a class with the same basename in the App namespace overrides other explicit class requests.



Since v4.4.0, preferApp works only when you request a classname without a namespace.

Factories Behavior

Options can be applied in one of three ways (listed in ascending priority):

  • A configuration class Config\Factory with a property that matches the name of a component.

  • The static method Factories::setOptions().

  • Passing options directly at call time with a parameter.


To set default component options, create a new Config files at app/Config/Factory.php that supplies options as an array property that matches the name of the component.

Example: Filters Factories

For example, if you want to create Filters by Factories, the component name wll be filters. And if you want to ensure that each filter is an instance of a class which implements CodeIgniter’s FilterInterface, your app/Config/Factory.php file might look like this:


namespace Config;

use CodeIgniter\Config\Factory as BaseFactory;
use CodeIgniter\Filters\FilterInterface;

class Factory extends BaseFactory
    public $filters = [
        'instanceOf' => FilterInterface::class,

Now you can create a filter with code like Factories::filters('SomeFilter'), and the returned instance will surely be a CodeIgniter’s filter.

This would prevent conflict of an third-party module which happened to have an unrelated Filters path in its namespace.

Example: Library Factories

If you want to load your library classes in the app/Libraries directory with Factories::library('SomeLib'), the path Libraries is different from the default path Library.

In this case, your app/Config/Factory.php file will look like this:


namespace Config;

use CodeIgniter\Config\Factory as BaseFactory;

class Factory extends BaseFactory
    public $library = [
        'path' => 'Libraries',

Now you can load your libraries with the Factories::library() method:

use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

$someLib = Factories::library('SomeLib');

setOptions Method

The Factories class has a static method to allow runtime option configuration: simply supply the desired array of options using the setOptions() method and they will be merged with the default values and stored for the next call:


use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;
use CodeIgniter\Filters\FilterInterface;

Factories::setOptions('filters', [
    'instanceOf' => FilterInterface::class,
    'prefersApp' => false,

Parameter Options

Factories’s magic static call takes as a second parameter an array of option values. These directives will override the stored options configured for each component and can be used at call time to get exactly what you need. The input should be an array with option names as keys to each overriding value.

For example, by default Factories assumes that you want to locate a shared instance of a component. By adding a second parameter to the magic static call, you can control whether that single call will return a new or shared instance:

use CodeIgniter\Config\Factories;

$users = Factories::models('UserModel', ['getShared' => true]);  // Default; will always be the same instance
$other = Factories::models('UserModel', ['getShared' => false]); // Will always create a new instance

Config Caching

Added in version 4.4.0.


Do not use this feature unless you have carefully read this section and understand how this feature works. Otherwise, your application will not function properly.

To improve performance, Config Caching has been implemented.



Using this feature when the prerequisites are not met will prevent CodeIgniter from operating properly. Do not use this feature in such cases.

  • To use this feature, the properties of all Config objects instantiated in Factories must not be modified after instantiation. Put another way, the Config classes must be an immutable or readonly classes.

  • By default, every Config class that is cached must implement __set_state() method.

How It Works


Once cached, configuration values are never changed until the cache is deleted, even if the configuration file or .env is changed.

  • Save the all Config instances in Factories into a cache file before shutdown, if the state of the Config instances in Factories changes.

  • Restore cached Config instances before CodeIgniter initialization if a cache is available.

Simply put, all Config instances held by Factories are cached immediately prior to shutdown, and the cached instances are used permanently.

How to Update Config Values

Once stored, the cached versions never expire. Changing a existing Config file (or changing Environment Variables for it) will not update the cache nor the Config values.

So if you want to update Config values, update Config files or Environment Variables for them, and you must manually delete the cache file.

You can use the spark cache:clear command:

php spark cache:clear

Or simply delete the writable/cache/FactoriesCache_config file.


Since v4.5.0, the spark optimize command clears the cache.

How to Enable Config Caching

Added in version 4.5.0.

Set the following property to true in app/Config/Optimize.php:

public bool $configCacheEnabled = true;

Since v4.5.0, you can enable this with the spark optimize command.


This property cannot be overridden by environment variables.


Prior to v4.5.0, uncomment the following code in public/index.php:

--- a/public/index.php
+++ b/public/index.php
@@ -49,8 +49,8 @@ if (! defined('ENVIRONMENT')) {

 // Load Config Cache
-// $factoriesCache = new \CodeIgniter\Cache\FactoriesCache();
-// $factoriesCache->load('config');
+$factoriesCache = new \CodeIgniter\Cache\FactoriesCache();
 // ^^^ Uncomment these lines if you want to use Config Caching.

@@ -79,7 +79,7 @@ $app->setContext($context);

 // Save Config Cache
-// $factoriesCache->save('config');
 // ^^^ Uncomment this line if you want to use Config Caching.

 // Exits the application, setting the exit code for CLI-based applications