Tutorial

How To Run Multiple PHP Versions on One Server Using Apache and PHP-FPM on CentOS 7

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Introduction

The Apache web server uses virtual hosts to manage multiple domains on a single instance. Similarly, PHP-FPM uses a daemon to manage multiple PHP versions on a single instance. Together, you can use Apache and PHP-FPM to host multiple PHP web-applications, each using a different version of PHP, all on the same server, and all at the same time. This is useful because different applications may require different versions of PHP, but some server stacks, like a regularly configured LAMP stack, can only manage one. Combining Apache with PHP-FPM is also a more cost-efficient solution than hosting each application on its own instance.

PHP-FPM also offers configuration options for stderr and stdout logging, emergency restarts, and adaptive process spawning, which is useful for heavy-loaded sites. In fact, using Apache with PHP-FPM is one of the best stacks for hosting PHP applications, especially when it comes to performance.

In this tutorial, you will set up two PHP sites on a single instance. Each site will use its own domain, and each domain will deploy its own version of PHP. The first, site1.your_domain, will deploy PHP 7.0. The second, site2.your_domain, will deploy PHP 7.2.

Prerequisites

Step 1 — Installing PHP Versions 7.0 and 7.2 with PHP-FPM

With the prerequisites completed, you will now install PHP versions 7.0 and 7.2. The SCL (Software Collections) repository maintains numerous versions of the PHP stack for the CentOS 7 system. If you require the absolute newest version of PHP and it is not available on SCL, check the remi PPA (personal package archive) instead.

Begin by installing the SCL repository to your system:

  • sudo yum install centos-release-scl -y

First let’s discover what versions of PHP 7 are available on SCL:

  • sudo yum list rh-php7[0-9].x86_64

You’ll see an output like this:

Output
Available Packages rh-php70.x86_64 2.3-1.el7 centos-sclo-rh rh-php71.x86_64 1-1.el7 centos-sclo-rh rh-php72.x86_64 1-2.el7 centos-sclo-rh rh-php73.x86_64 1-1.el7 centos-sclo-rh

You will note that the newest version, PHP 7.3, is also available. For our examples, however, we will install versions 7.0 and 7.2.

Lets begin with the older version. Install rh-php70 and rh-php70-php-fpm:

  • sudo yum install rh-php70 rh-php70-php-fpm -y
  • rh-php70 is a metapackage that runs PHP applications.
  • rh-php70-php-fpm provides the Fast Process Manager interpreter that runs as a daemon and receives Fast/CGI requests.

Now repeat the process for PHP version 7.2. Install rh-php72 and rh-php72-php-fpm.

  • sudo yum install rh-php72 rh-php72-php-fpm -y

Next, run the following commands to start using both software collections:

  • sudo scl enable rh-php70 bash
  • sudo scl enable rh-php72 bash

By default, both PHP versions are listening on port 9000. But in this tutorial, we want to run two versions simultaneously. Therefore, let’s designate two new ports:

To accomplish this, you can open /etc/opt/rh/rh-php70/php-fpm.d/www.conf in your favorite text editor and change every appearance of 9000 to 9002. Then save and close the file and repeat the process for /etc/opt/rh/rh-php72/php-fpm.d/www.conf, only now substitute 9000 with 9003. Alternately, you can use these two sed commands to make the replacements:

  • sudo sed -i 's/:9000/:9002/' /etc/opt/rh/rh-php70/php-fpm.d/www.conf
  • sudo sed -i 's/:9000/:9003/' /etc/opt/rh/rh-php72/php-fpm.d/www.conf

You have now designated a dedicated port for each of your PHP services. Before these modifications will work, however, you must add the ports to your SELinux configuration.

SELinux is short for Security Enhanced Linux, and it is enabled by default on CentOS 7. You must add your new ports of 9002 and 9003 to your SELinux database and assign them to your httpd services, or your applications will not run. Use the semanage command to perform this task:

  • sudo semanage port -a -t http_port_t -p tcp 9002
  • sudo semanage port -a -t http_port_t -p tcp 9003

The -a flag specifies that you are adding an object to the database. The -t flag specifies the type of object, which in this case is http_port_t. And the -p flag designates the tcp protocol. You can learn more about SELinux and the semanage command in this tutorial, or by visiting the official SELinux documentation.

Now you are ready to start and enable your PHP services. Begin with your rh-php70-php-fpm service and enable it to start at boot:

  • sudo systemctl start rh-php70-php-fpm
  • sudo systemctl enable rh-php70-php-fpm

Next, verify the status of your rh-php70-php-fpm service:

  • sudo systemctl status rh-php70-php-fpm

You’ll see an output like this:

Output
● rh-php70-php-fpm.service - The PHP FastCGI Process Manager Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/rh-php70-php-fpm.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled) Active: active (running) since Sat 2020-04-18 04:49:59 UTC; 1min 6s ago Main PID: 1852 (php-fpm) Status: "Processes active: 0, idle: 5, Requests: 0, slow: 0, Traffic: 0req/sec" CGroup: /system.slice/rh-php70-php-fpm.service ├─1852 php-fpm: master process (/etc/opt/rh/rh-php70/php-fpm.conf) ├─1853 php-fpm: pool www ├─1854 php-fpm: pool www ├─1855 php-fpm: pool www ├─1856 php-fpm: pool www └─1857 php-fpm: pool www Apr 18 04:49:59 centos-s-1vcpu-1gb-blr1-01 systemd[1]: Starting The PHP FastCGI Process Manager... Apr 18 04:49:59 centos-s-1vcpu-1gb-blr1-01 systemd[1]: Started The PHP FastCGI Process Manager.

Repeating this process, start the rh-php72-php-fpm service and enable it to start at boot:

  • sudo systemctl start rh-php72-php-fpm
  • sudo systemctl enable rh-php72-php-fpm

Next, verify the status of your rh-php72-php-fpm service:

  • sudo systemctl status rh-php72-php-fpm

You’ll see another output like this:

Output
● rh-php72-php-fpm.service - The PHP FastCGI Process Manager Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/rh-php72-php-fpm.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled) Active: active (running) since Sat 2020-04-18 04:50:04 UTC; 1min 59s ago Main PID: 1876 (php-fpm) Status: "Processes active: 0, idle: 5, Requests: 0, slow: 0, Traffic: 0req/sec" CGroup: /system.slice/rh-php72-php-fpm.service ├─1876 php-fpm: master process (/etc/opt/rh/rh-php72/php-fpm.conf) ├─1877 php-fpm: pool www ├─1878 php-fpm: pool www ├─1879 php-fpm: pool www ├─1880 php-fpm: pool www └─1881 php-fpm: pool www Apr 18 04:50:04 centos-s-1vcpu-1gb-blr1-01 systemd[1]: Starting The PHP FastCGI Process Manager... Apr 18 04:50:04 centos-s-1vcpu-1gb-blr1-01 systemd[1]: Started The PHP FastCGI Process Manager.

At this point you have installed two PHP versions on your server. Next, you will create a directory structure for each website you want to deploy.

Step 2 — Creating Directory Structures for Both Websites

In this section, you will create a document root directory and an index page for each of your two websites.

First, create document root directories for both site1.your_domain and site2.your_domain:

  • sudo mkdir /var/www/site1.your_domain
  • sudo mkdir /var/www/site2.your_domain

By default, the Apache webserver runs as an apache user and an apache group. So /var/www/ and all of its files and subdirectories should also be owned by them. Run the following commands to verify the correct ownership and permissions of your website root directories:

  • sudo chown -R apache:apache /var/www/site1.your_domain
  • sudo chown -R apache:apache /var/www/site2.your_domain
  • sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/site1.your_domain
  • sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/site2.your_domain

The chown command changes the ownership of your two website directories to the apache user and the apache group. The chmod command changes the permissions associated with that user and group, as well as others.

Next you will create an info.php file inside each website root directory. This will display each website’s PHP version information. Begin with site1:

  • sudo vi /var/www/site1.your_domain/info.php

Add the following line:

/var/www/site1.your_domain/info.php
<?php phpinfo(); ?>

Save and close the file. Now copy the info.php file you created to site2:

  • sudo cp /var/www/site1.your_domain/info.php /var/www/site2.your_domain/info.php

Your web server now has the document root directories that each site requires to serve data to visitors. Next, you will configure your Apache web server to work with two different PHP versions.

Step 3 — Configuring Apache for Both Websites

In this section, you will create two virtual host configuration files. This will enable your two websites to work simultaneously with two different PHP versions.

In order for Apache to serve this content, it is necessary to create a virtual host file with the correct directives. You’ll create two new virtual host configuration files inside the directory /etc/httpd/conf.d/.

First create a new virtual host configuration file for the website site1.your_domain. Here you will direct Apache to render content using PHP 7.0:

  • sudo vi /etc/httpd/conf.d/site1.your_domain.conf

Add the following content. Make sure the website directory path, server name, port, and PHP version match your setup:

/etc/httpd/conf.d/site1.your_domain.conf

<VirtualHost *:80>
     ServerAdmin admin@site1.your_domain
     ServerName site1.your_domain
     DocumentRoot /var/www/site1.your_domain
     DirectoryIndex info.php
     SetHandler "proxy:fcgi://127.0.0.1:9002
     ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "/var/www/cgi-bin/"
     AddHandler php70-fcgi .php
     Action php70-fcgi /cgi-bin/php70.fcgi
     ErrorLog /var/log/httpd/site1.your_domain_error.log
     CustomLog /var/log/httpd/site1.your_domain_access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

For DocumentRoot you are specifying the path of your website root directory. For ServerAdmin you are adding an email that the your_domain site administrator can access. For ServerName you are adding the url for your first subdomain. For SetHandler you are specifying port 9002. The remaining directives also configure your service to deploy PHP 7.0.

Save and close the file.

Next, create a new virtual host configuration file for the website site2.your_domain. You will specify this subdomain to deploy PHP 7.2:

  • sudo vi /etc/httpd/conf.d/site2.your_domain.conf

Add the following content. Again, make sure the website directory path, server name, port, and PHP version match your unique information:

/etc/httpd/conf.d/site2.your_domain.conf
<VirtualHost *:80>
     ServerAdmin admin@site2.your_domain
     ServerName site2.your_domain
     DocumentRoot /var/www/site2.your_domain
     DirectoryIndex info.php
     SetHandler "proxy:fcgi://127.0.0.1:9003
     ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "/var/www/cgi-bin/"
     AddHandler php72-fcgi .php
     Action php72-fcgi /cgi-bin/php72.fcgi
     ErrorLog /var/log/httpd/site2.your_domain_error.log
     CustomLog /var/log/httpd/site2.your_domain_access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file when you are finished. Then check the Apache configuration file for any syntax errors:

  • sudo apachectl configtest

You’ll see an output printing Syntax OK:

Output
  • Syntax OK

Finally, restart the Apache service to implement your changes:

  • sudo systemctl restart httpd

Now that you have configured Apache to serve each site, you will test them to make sure the proper PHP versions are running.

Step 4 — Testing Both Websites

At this point, you have configured two websites to run two different versions of PHP. Now test the results.

Open your web browser and visit both sites http://site1.your_domain and http://site2.your_domain. You will see two pages that look like this:

PHP 7.0 info page
PHP 7.2 info page

Note the titles. The first page indicates that site1.your_domain deployed PHP version 7.0. The second indicates that site2.your_domain deployed PHP version 7.2.

Now that you’ve tested your sites, remove the info.php files. Because they contain sensitive information about your server and are accessible to unauthorized users, they pose a security vulnerability. Remove the files:

  • sudo rm -rf /var/www/site1.your_domain/info.php
  • sudo rm -rf /var/www/site2.your_domain/info.php

You now have a single CentOS 7 server handling two websites with two different PHP versions. PHP-FPM, however, is not limited to this one application.

Conclusion

You have now combined virtual hosts and PHP-FPM to serve multiple websites and multiple versions of PHP on a single server. The only practical limit on the number of PHP sites and PHP versions that your Apache service can handle is the processing power of your instance.

From here you might consider exploring PHP-FPM’s more advanced features, like its adaptive spawning process or how it can log sdtout and stderr Alternatively, you could now secure your websites. To accomplish this, you can follow our tutorial on how to secure your sites with free TLS/SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt.

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