HTTP Feature Testing

Feature testing allows you to view the results of a single call to your application. This might be returning the results of a single web form, hitting an API endpoint, and more. This is handy because it allows you to test the entire life-cycle of a single request, ensuring that the routing works, the response is the correct format, analyze the results, and more.

The Test Class

Feature testing requires that all of your test classes use the CodeIgniter\Test\DatabaseTestTrait and CodeIgniter\Test\FeatureTestTrait traits. Since these testing tools rely on proper database staging you must always ensure that parent::setUp() and parent::tearDown() are called if you implement your own methods.


namespace Tests\Feature;

use CodeIgniter\Test\CIUnitTestCase;
use CodeIgniter\Test\DatabaseTestTrait;
use CodeIgniter\Test\FeatureTestTrait;

class FooTest extends CIUnitTestCase
    use DatabaseTestTrait;
    use FeatureTestTrait;

    protected function setUp(): void


    protected function tearDown(): void


Requesting a Page

Essentially, feature tests simply allows you to call an endpoint on your application and get the results back. To do this, you use the call() method.

  1. The first parameter is the HTTP method to use (most frequently either GET or POST).

  2. The second parameter is the URI path on your site to test.

  3. The third parameter $params accepts an array that is used to populate the superglobal variables for the HTTP verb you are using. So, a method of GET would have the $_GET variable populated, while a POST request would have the $_POST array populated. The $params is also used in Formatting the Request.


    The $params array does not make sense for every HTTP verb, but is included for consistency.

// Get a simple page
$result = $this->call('GET', '/');

// Submit a form
$result = $this->call('post', 'contact', [
    'name'  => 'Fred Flintstone',
    'email' => '[email protected]',

Shorthand Methods

Shorthand methods for each of the HTTP verbs exist to ease typing and make things clearer:

$this->get($path, $params);
$this->post($path, $params);
$this->put($path, $params);
$this->patch($path, $params);
$this->delete($path, $params);
$this->options($path, $params);

Setting Different Routes

You can use a custom collection of routes by passing an array of “routes” into the withRoutes() method. This will override any existing routes in the system:

$routes = [
    ['GET', 'users', 'UserController::list'],

$result = $this->withRoutes($routes)->get('users');

Each of the “routes” is a 3 element array containing the HTTP verb (or “add” for all), the URI to match, and the routing destination.

Setting Session Values

You can set custom session values to use during a single test with the withSession() method. This takes an array of key/value pairs that should exist within the $_SESSION variable when this request is made, or null to indicate that the current values of $_SESSION should be used. This is handy for testing authentication and more.

$values = [
    'logged_in' => 123,

$result = $this->withSession($values)->get('admin');

// Or...

$_SESSION['logged_in'] = 123;

$result = $this->withSession()->get('admin');

Setting Headers

You can set header values with the withHeaders() method. This takes an array of key/value pairs that would be passed as a header into the call:

$headers = [
    'CONTENT_TYPE' => 'application/json',

$result = $this->withHeaders($headers)->post('users');

Bypassing Events

Events are handy to use in your application, but can be problematic during testing. Especially events that are used to send out emails. You can tell the system to skip any event handling with the skipEvents() method:

$result = $this->skipEvents()->post('users', $userInfo);

Formatting the Request

You can set the format of your request’s body using the withBodyFormat() method. Currently this supports either json or xml. This is useful when testing JSON or XML APIs so that you can set the request in the form that the controller will expect.

This will take the parameters passed into call(), post(), get()… and assign them to the body of the request in the given format.

This will also set the Content-Type header for your request accordingly.

// If your feature test contains this:
$result = $this->withBodyFormat('json')->post('users', $userInfo);

// Your controller can then get the parameters passed in with:
$userInfo = $this->request->getJson();

Setting the Body

You can set the body of your request with the withBody() method. This allows you to format the body how you want to format it. It is recommended that you use this if you have more complicated XMLs to test.

This will not set the Content-Type header for you. If you need that, you can set it with the withHeaders() method.

Checking the Response

FeatureTestTrait::call() returns an instance of a TestResponse. See Testing Responses on how to use this class to perform additional assertions and verification in your test cases.