Installation on UNIX systems

This section will guide you through the configuration and installation of PHP.

Prerequisite knowledge and software:

There are several ways to compile and configure PHP for the Unix platform. The entire configuration process is controlled by the use of commandline options to the configure script. This page outlines the usage of the most common options, but there are many others to play with. Check out the Complete list of configure options for an exhaustive rundown.

Apache Module

PHP can be compiled in a number of different ways as an Apache module. First we show the quick instructions. Following this is a list of various examples with explanations, to provide an overview of how to accomplish certain things.

You can select arguments to add to the configure on line 8 below from the Complete list of configure options.

Example 2-1. Quick Installation Instructions (Apache Module Version)

1.  gunzip apache_1.3.x.tar.gz
2.  tar xvf apache_1.3.x.tar
3.  gunzip php-x.x.x.tar.gz
4.  tar xvf php-x.x.x.tar
5.  cd apache_1.3.x
6.  ./configure --prefix=/www
7.  cd ../php-x.x.x
8.  ./configure --with-mysql --with-apache=../apache_1.3.x --enable-track-vars
9.  make
10. make install
11. cd ../apache_1.3.x
12. for PHP 3: ./configure --activate-module=src/modules/php3/libphp3.a
    for PHP 4: ./configure --activate-module=src/modules/php4/libphp4.a
13. make
14. make install

  Instead of this step you may prefer to simply copy the httpd binary
  overtop of your existing binary.  Make sure you shut down your
  server first though.

15. cd ../php-x.x.x
16. for PHP 3: cp php3.ini-dist /usr/local/lib/php3.ini
    for PHP 4: cp php.ini-dist /usr/local/lib/php.ini

  You can edit your .ini file to set PHP options.  If
  you prefer this file in another location, use
  --with-config-file-path=/path in step 8.

17. Edit your httpd.conf or srm.conf file and add: 
     For PHP 3:   AddType application/x-httpd-php3 .php3
     For PHP 4:   AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
  You can choose any extension you wish here.  .php is simply the one
  we suggest. You can even include .html .

18. Use your normal procedure for starting the Apache server. (You must
    stop and restart the server, not just cause the server to reload by
    use a HUP or USR1 signal.)

./configure --with-apxs --with-pgsql

This will create a shared library that is loaded into Apache using a LoadModule line in Apache's httpd.conf file. The PostgreSQL support is embedded into this library.

./configure --with-apxs --with-pgsql=shared

This will again create a shared library for Apache, but it will also create a shared library that is loaded into PHP either by using the extension directive in php.ini file or by loading it explicitly in a script using the dl() function.

./configure --with-apache=/path/to/apache_source --with-pgsql

This will create a libmodphp4.a library, a mod_php4.c and some accompanying files and copy this into the src/modules/php4 directory in the Apache source tree. Then you compile Apache using --activate-module=src/modules/php4/libphp4.a and the Apache build system will create libphp4.a and link it statically into the httpd binary. The PostgreSQL support is included directly into this httpd binary, so the final result here is a single httpd binary that includes all of Apache and all of PHP.

./configure --with-apache=/path/to/apache_source --with-pgsql=shared

Same as before, except instead of including PostgreSQL support directly into the final httpd you will get a shared library that you can load into PHP from either the php.ini file or directly using dl().

When choosing to build PHP in different ways, you should consider the advantages and drawbacks of each method. Building as a shared object will mean that you can compile apache separately, and don't have to recompile everything as you add to, or change, PHP. Building PHP into apache (static method) means that PHP will load and run faster. For more information, see the Apache webpage on DSO support.

fhttpd Module

To build PHP as an fhttpd module, answer "yes" to "Build as an fhttpd module?" (the --with-fhttpd=DIR option to configure) and specify the fhttpd source base directory. The default directory is /usr/local/src/fhttpd. If you are running fhttpd, building PHP as a module will give better performance, more control and remote execution capability.

Other web servers

PHP can be built to support a large number of web servers. Please see Server-related options for a full list of server-related configure options.

CGI/Commandline version

The default is to build PHP as a CGI program. This creates a commandline interpreter, which can be used for CGI processing, or for non-web-related PHP scripting. If you are running a web server PHP has module support for, you should generally go for that solution for performance reasons. However, the CGI version enables Apache users to run different PHP-enabled pages under different user-ids. Please make sure you read through the Security chapter if you are going to run PHP as a CGI.

Database Support Options

PHP has native support for a number of databases (as well as ODBC). To enable support for the various databases, options are given to the configure script at compile time. Read the list of all database-related options for more information.

For a list of all possible options to configure, please see the Complete list of configure options.


When PHP is configured, you are ready to build the CGI executable or the PHP library. The command make should take care of this. If it fails and you can't figure out why, see the Problems section.


If you have built PHP as a CGI program, you may test your build by typing make test. It is always a good idea to test your build. This way you may catch a problem with PHP on your platform early instead of having to struggle with it later.


If you have built PHP as a CGI program, you may benchmark your build by typing make bench. Note that if safe mode is on by default, the benchmark may not be able to finish if it takes longer then the 30 seconds allowed. This is because the set_time_limit() can not be used in safe mode. Use the max_execution_time configuration setting to control this time for your own scripts. make bench ignores the configuration file.