Follow Arve's guide how to hide shell output. I use this in scripts and I focus on the return code.

However beware of &>, consider the following code:

system("echo foo | grep bar", $returncode);
echo $returncode . "\n";

system("echo foo | grep bar > /dev/null 2>&1", $returncode);
echo $returncode . "\n";

system("echo foo | grep bar &>/dev/null", $returncode);
echo $returncode . "\n"

I am not sure how PHP executes shell, but as you can see it returns the wrong error code when using &>/dev/null in the third case:

$ php test.php
1
1
0
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