Apache 2.x on Unix systems

This section contains notes and hints specific to Apache 2.x installs of PHP on Unix systems.


We do not recommend using a threaded MPM in production with Apache 2. Use the prefork MPM, which is the default MPM with Apache 2.0 and 2.2. For information on why, read the related FAQ entry on using Apache2 with a threaded MPM

The » Apache Documentation is the most authoritative source of information on the Apache 2.x server. More information about installation options for Apache may be found there.

The most recent version of Apache HTTP Server may be obtained from » Apache download site, and a fitting PHP version from the above mentioned places. This quick guide covers only the basics to get started with Apache 2.x and PHP. For more information read the » Apache Documentation. The version numbers have been omitted here, to ensure the instructions are not incorrect. In the examples below, 'NN' should be replaced with the specific version of Apache being used.

There are currently two versions of Apache 2.x - there's 2.0 and 2.2. While there are various reasons for choosing each, 2.2 is the current latest version, and the one that is recommended, if that option is available to you. However, the instructions here will work for either 2.0 or 2.2.

  1. Obtain the Apache HTTP server from the location listed above, and unpack it:

    gzip -d httpd-2_x_NN.tar.gz
    tar -xf httpd-2_x_NN.tar
  2. Likewise, obtain and unpack the PHP source:

    gunzip php-NN.tar.gz
    tar -xf php-NN.tar
  3. Build and install Apache. Consult the Apache install documentation for more details on building Apache.

    cd httpd-2_x_NN
    ./configure --enable-so
    make install
  4. Now you have Apache 2.x.NN available under /usr/local/apache2, configured with loadable module support and the standard MPM prefork. To test the installation use your normal procedure for starting the Apache server, e.g.:

    /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl start
    and stop the server to go on with the configuration for PHP:
    /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl stop

  5. Now, configure and build PHP. This is where you customize PHP with various options, like which extensions will be enabled. Run ./configure --help for a list of available options. In our example we'll do a simple configure with Apache 2 and MySQL support.

    If you built Apache from source, as described above, the below example will match your path for apxs, but if you installed Apache some other way, you'll need to adjust the path to apxs accordingly. Note that some distros may rename apxs to apxs2.

    cd ../php-NN
    ./configure --with-apxs2=/usr/local/apache2/bin/apxs --with-mysql
    make install

    If you decide to change your configure options after installation, you'll need to re-run the configure, make, and make install steps. You only need to restart apache for the new module to take effect. A recompile of Apache is not needed.

    Note that unless told otherwise, 'make install' will also install PEAR, various PHP tools such as phpize, install the PHP CLI, and more.

  6. Setup your php.ini

    cp php.ini-development /usr/local/lib/php.ini

    You may edit your .ini file to set PHP options. If you prefer having php.ini in another location, use --with-config-file-path=/some/path in step 5.

    If you instead choose php.ini-production, be certain to read the list of changes within, as they affect how PHP behaves.

  7. Edit your httpd.conf to load the PHP module. The path on the right hand side of the LoadModule statement must point to the path of the PHP module on your system. The make install from above may have already added this for you, but be sure to check.

    LoadModule php5_module modules/libphp5.so
  8. Tell Apache to parse certain extensions as PHP. For example, let's have Apache parse .php files as PHP. Instead of only using the Apache AddType directive, we want to avoid potentially dangerous uploads and created files such as exploit.php.jpg from being executed as PHP. Using this example, you could have any extension(s) parse as PHP by simply adding them. We'll add .php to demonstrate.

    <FilesMatch \.php$>
        SetHandler application/x-httpd-php

    Or, if we wanted to allow .php, .php2, .php3, .php4, .php5, .php6, and .phtml files to be executed as PHP, but nothing else, we'd use this:

    <FilesMatch "\.ph(p[2-6]?|tml)$">
        SetHandler application/x-httpd-php

    And to allow .phps files to be handled by the php source filter, and displayed as syntax-highlighted source code, use this:

    <FilesMatch "\.phps$">
        SetHandler application/x-httpd-php-source

    mod_rewrite may be used To allow any arbitrary .php file to be displayed as syntax-highlighted source code, without having to rename or copy it to a .phps file:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule (.*\.php)s$ $1 [H=application/x-httpd-php-source]

    The php source filter should not be enabled on production systems, where it may expose confidential or otherwise sensitive information embedded in source code.

  9. Use your normal procedure for starting the Apache server, e.g.:

    /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl start


    service httpd restart

Following the steps above you will have a running Apache2 web server with support for PHP as a SAPI module. Of course there are many more configuration options available Apache and PHP. For more information type ./configure --help in the corresponding source tree.

Apache may be built multithreaded by selecting the worker MPM, rather than the standard prefork MPM, when Apache is built. This is done by adding the following option to the argument passed to ./configure, in step 3 above:


This should not be undertaken without being aware of the consequences of this decision, and having at least a fair understanding of the implications. The Apache documentation regarding » MPM-Modules discusses MPMs in a great deal more detail.


The Apache MultiViews FAQ discusses using multiviews with PHP.


To build a multithreaded version of Apache, the target system must support threads. In this case, PHP should also be built with experimental Zend Thread Safety (ZTS). Under this configuration, not all extensions will be available. The recommended setup is to build Apache with the default prefork MPM-Module.