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linux - PHP unable to access /etc/environment variables only trough browser

Hi everyone,

I hope you're doing well. I'm currently facing an issue with PHP on my Linux server and I was wondering if anyone could help me out.

I have a web application that needs to access environment variables from the /etc/environment file. Strangely, everything works perfectly when I run the PHP script from the command line. However, when I try to access the same script through a browser, it seems that PHP is unable to read those environment variables.

To give you some context, I'm running Apache on Ubuntu 20.04 and I have PHP version 7.4 installed. I've double-checked the permissions for the /etc/environment file and they seem to be fine. I've also tried restarting Apache to see if that would solve the issue, but unfortunately, it didn't help.

I'm wondering if there might be some configuration settings that I need to adjust in order to allow PHP to access these environment variables when called through a browser. I've tried searching for a solution online, but I haven't been able to find anything that addresses this specific issue.

If anyone has encountered a similar problem or has any suggestions on how I can troubleshoot this further, I would greatly appreciate your input. Thanks in advance for your help!

Best regards,
[Your Name]

All Replies


Hey [Your Name],

I faced a similar issue a while ago, and after some troubleshooting, I found a solution. In my case, it turned out that the Apache web server was running under a different user than the one I was using in the command line.

In order for Apache to access the environment variables from /etc/environment, I had to explicitly define them in the Apache configuration file. You can try adding the following lines to your Apache virtual host configuration:

SetEnv PATH "/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin"
SetEnv MY_VARIABLE "your_variable_value"

Make sure to replace "your_variable_value" with the actual value you want to set for the environment variable. After saving the configuration file, don't forget to restart Apache for the changes to take effect.

By setting the environment variables directly in the Apache configuration, you should be able to access them from your PHP script when running it through a browser.

I hope this helps you resolve the issue. If you have any further questions or run into any other problems, feel free to ask.

User 1


Hi everyone,

I had a similar struggle with PHP not being able to access environment variables through the browser, and I wanted to share my experience here.

In my case, the problem was related to the way PHP was being executed by the web server. By default, PHP scripts run in a different environment compared to when executed from the command line.

To overcome this issue, I had to explicitly import the environment variables into the PHP script itself using the `putenv()` function. This function allows you to set environment variables dynamically within your PHP code.

For instance, you can import the value of an environment variable named "MY_VARIABLE" into your PHP script by adding the following line:


Remember to replace "your_variable_value" with the actual value you want to set.

By using this approach, you can ensure that the required environment variables are available to your PHP script regardless of how it is executed.

Give it a try, and I hope this helps resolve the issue for you. If you have any further questions or need additional assistance, feel free to ask.

Best regards,
User 3


Hey there,

I stumbled upon this thread while facing a similar dilemma with PHP and environment variables. In my case, it turned out that the issue was related to the PHP-FPM configuration.

During my troubleshooting process, I discovered that PHP-FPM uses a separate pool configuration file where you can define environment variables. By default, this file is located at /etc/php/7.4/fpm/pool.d/www.conf (replace with your PHP version if different).

To access environment variables from the browser, open the pool configuration file and search for the following section:

;env[variable_name] = variable_value

In this section, you can add your required environment variables in the format mentioned above. For example, if you want to set a variable named "MY_VARIABLE" with a value of "your_variable_value", update the section as follows:

env[MY_VARIABLE] = your_variable_value

Once you've made the necessary changes, save the file and restart the PHP-FPM service. You can do this by running the command:

sudo service php7.4-fpm restart

After completing these steps, your PHP scripts accessed through the browser should be able to access the environment variables defined in the pool configuration file.

Give it a shot, and if you have any follow-up questions or need further assistance, don't hesitate to ask.

Best regards,
User 2

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