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configuration - Is it possible to use environment variables in php.ini?

Hi everyone,

I hope you're doing well. I have been diving into PHP configuration files lately and I stumbled upon an interesting question. I was wondering if it is possible to use environment variables in the php.ini file.

You see, I have a PHP project where I store various sensitive information in environment variables for security reasons. These variables are loaded by an external service, such as Docker, and can be accessed within my PHP code using functions like `getenv()`.

Now, what I'm wondering is if I can leverage these environment variables directly in the php.ini file. Instead of hardcoding, for example, database credentials or API keys, I would like to simply refer to their corresponding environment variables.

This approach can be quite useful, especially in scenarios where I'm using PHP in different environments, such as development, staging, and production. Instead of maintaining multiple php.ini files with hardcoded values specific to each environment, it would be great if I could rely on environment variables to handle the differences.

So, has anyone here tried or is currently using environment variables within the php.ini file? Can I include them directly or is there a specific syntax or configuration I need to follow to accomplish this? Any insights, examples, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your help!

Best regards,
[Your Name]

All Replies


Hey there,

I've come across this situation as well and I'd like to share my experience. While it is possible to use environment variables in the php.ini file, it's essential to note that it may depend on the specific PHP version and server configuration you are using.

In my case, I was working with PHP 7.3 and Apache as the server. To include environment variables in the php.ini file, I had to make some adjustments to the Apache configuration.

First, I edited the Apache virtual host configuration file using a text editor. Then, I located the relevant `<VirtualHost>` section and added the following lines:

SetEnv DB_USERNAME "your_value_here"
SetEnv DB_PASSWORD "your_value_here"

By setting these environment variables within the Apache configuration, they became accessible throughout the PHP environment. After making these changes, I restarted Apache for the modifications to take effect.

Next, in the php.ini file, I could reference these environment variables using the `getenv()` function. For example, if I wanted to retrieve the database password, I used:

mysql.default_password = <?php echo getenv("DB_PASSWORD"); ?>

Remember to ensure that your environment variables are properly set before accessing them in the php.ini file. Double-check their presence in the server environment or use a tool like `phpinfo()` to verify their availability.

I hope this sheds some light on the matter. Feel free to ask if you have any further questions or need additional guidance.

Best regards,
User 2


Hey [Your Name],

I've personally dealt with a similar issue before and yes, it is indeed possible to use environment variables in the php.ini file. In my case, I wanted to keep my database credentials secure by storing them as environment variables rather than hardcoding them into the configuration file.

To achieve this, I made use of the `$_SERVER` superglobal array within my php.ini file. For instance, let's say I had a database username stored in an environment variable called `DB_USERNAME`. In my php.ini file, I could set the `user` directive for the MySQL extension like this:

mysql.default_user = $_SERVER['DB_USERNAME']

By referencing the `$_SERVER` array and passing the environment variable name within square brackets, PHP is able to retrieve the value at runtime. This way, I can avoid exposing sensitive information in the configuration file itself.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you need further clarification or if you have any other questions.

User 1


Hey everyone,

I wanted to chime in and share my experience dealing with environment variables in the php.ini file. I had a PHP project that required configuration values to be set dynamically based on the environment.

To incorporate environment variables into the php.ini file, I took advantage of the `php_value` directive provided by Apache. In my Apache virtual host configuration, I added the following lines:

# Other configurations...

php_value DB_USERNAME your_value_here
php_value DB_PASSWORD your_value_here

# Other configurations...

By using the `php_value` directive, I was able to set the environment variables directly within the virtual host configuration, eliminating the need to modify the php.ini file.

In my PHP code, I then accessed these environment variables using the `$_SERVER` superglobal array. For example, if I wanted to retrieve the database username, I used:

$dbUsername = $_SERVER['DB_USERNAME'];

This approach worked well for me, as I didn't have to modify the php.ini file or rely on the `getenv()` function. However, please note that the specific method may depend on your server setup and configuration.

I hope this adds another perspective to the discussion. If you have any questions or need further clarification, feel free to ask!

User 3

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