Installation on Unix systems

Table of Contents

This section will guide you through the general configuration and installation of PHP on Unix systems. Be sure to investigate any sections specific to your platform or web server before you begin the process.

As our manual outlines in the General Installation Considerations section, we are mainly dealing with web centric setups of PHP in this section, although we will cover setting up PHP for command line usage as well.

There are several ways to install PHP for the Unix platform, either with a compile and configure process, or through various pre-packaged methods. This documentation is mainly focused around the process of compiling and configuring PHP. Many Unix like systems have some sort of package installation system. This can assist in setting up a standard configuration, but if you need to have a different set of features (such as a secure server, or a different database driver), you may need to build PHP and/or your web server. If you are unfamiliar with building and compiling your own software, it is worth checking to see whether somebody has already built a packaged version of PHP with the features you need.

Prerequisite knowledge and software for compiling:

  • Basic Unix skills (being able to operate "make" and a C compiler)
  • An ANSI C compiler
  • A web server
  • Any module specific components (such as GD, PDF libs, etc.)

When building directly from Git sources or after custom modifications you might also need:

  • autoconf:
    • PHP 7.3 and later: 2.68+
    • PHP 7.2: 2.64+
    • PHP 7.1 and earlier: 2.59+
  • automake: 1.4+
  • libtool: 1.4.x+ (except 1.4.2)
  • re2c:
    • PHP 8.3 and later: 1.0.3+
    • PHP 8.2 and earlier: 0.13.4+
  • bison:
    • PHP 7.4 and later: 3.0.0+
    • PHP 7.3 and earlier: 2.4+ (including Bison 3.x)

The initial PHP setup and configuration process is controlled by the use of the command line options of the configure script. You could get a list of all available options along with short explanations running ./configure --help. Our manual documents the different options separately. You will find the core options in the appendix, while the different extension specific options are described on the reference pages.

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


Some Unix systems (such as OpenBSD and SELinux) may disallow mapping pages both writable and executable for security reasons, what is called PaX MPROTECT or W^X violation protection. This kind of memory mapping is, however, necessary for PCRE's JIT support, so either PHP has to be built without PCRE's JIT support, or the binary has to be whitelisted by any means provided by the system.

Note: Cross-compiling for ARM with the Android toolchain is currently not supported.

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User Contributed Notes 1 note

cj3 at clifjackson dot net
6 years ago
I recently ran in to a situation where I was building PHP 7.1.13 from source. Configuration & make went fine, however, when I ran make install it hung. It turns out that if you are building PHP with Apache (apxs) the make file calls apxs with the -a flag which tells it to modify the httpd.conf file. If, for whatever reason, the file is not writeable then it fails and you get the hang.

Line 108 in my Makefile looks like this:

INSTALL_IT = $(mkinstalldirs) '$(INSTALL_ROOT)/usr/lib64/httpd/modules' && $(mkinstalldirs) '$(INSTALL_ROOT)/etc/httpd/conf' && /usr/sbin/apxs -S LIBEXECDIR='$(INSTALL_ROOT)/usr/lib64/httpd/modules' -S SYSCONFDIR='$(INSTALL_ROOT)/etc/httpd/conf' -i -a -n php7

I had to remove the -a flag and then it was fine.
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