A PEAR Channel is a web site that distributes package archives for remote installation by users of Pyrus or the PEAR Installer. In addition to providing the package archives for download, a PEAR Channel must also provide some meta-information that the installer can use to locate the package releases and determine which is the best release to download.

Channels have a file that defines the capabilities of the channel named channel.xml located in its document root (for instance, pear.php.net's channel.xml) and some meta-information in REST format.

A channel can also provide a public frontend for users to browse the contents of the channel online, such as PEAR's public frontend.