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What steps should I follow to compile PHP from source on a Unix system?

Hey everyone,

I hope you're doing well. I've been trying to compile PHP from source on my Unix system, but I'm having some trouble. I would really appreciate it if someone could guide me through the process. Here are the steps I have in mind, but I'm not entirely sure if I'm on the right track. Any suggestions or additional steps would be great.

1. Firstly, I assume I need to download the source code of the PHP version I want to compile. So, where can I find the official source code for PHP? Are there any specific things I should consider before downloading?

2. Next, I'm planning to extract the downloaded source code to a specific directory on my Unix system. Are there any best practices for choosing the directory location? Should it be empty or can it be an existing directory?

3. Once the source code is extracted, I assume there are some dependencies or prerequisites that need to be installed before compiling PHP. Could someone please provide me with a list of those dependencies and how to install them? Are there any additional changes I need to make to my Unix system before proceeding?

4. Okay, now comes the actual compilation process. Are there any flags or options that I need to set while configuring the compile options? Which configure options are commonly used, and are there any that we should avoid?

5. After configuring the compile options, I assume the next step is to run the `make` command to start the compilation process. Are there any considerations I should be aware of during this step? Is there anything to watch out for or any additional arguments I should use?

6. Finally, once the compilation process is complete, do I need to install PHP on my system? If so, what's the recommended way to install it? Is there any additional configuration required after installation?

I appreciate any help you can provide. Thanks in advance!

All Replies


Hey everyone,

I wanted to share my personal experience with compiling PHP from source on a Unix system. It can be a bit challenging, especially if you're new to compiling software. Here are the steps I followed:

1. Start by downloading the official PHP source code from the PHP website. Make sure you choose the version that fits your requirements. Take note of any specific instructions or recommendations mentioned in the documentation.

2. I suggest creating a separate directory for extracting the source code. This ensures a cleaner setup and prevents any potential conflicts with existing files. You can choose any location you prefer, such as `/opt/php-source` or `~/src/php`.

3. Check the system requirements and dependencies needed by PHP. These can vary depending on your Unix distribution and the PHP version you're compiling. Common dependencies include a C compiler (e.g., gcc), the GNU toolchain, make, and various libraries like libxml2, libjpeg, libpng, and others. Use your package manager to install these dependencies, ensuring you have the development versions of the libraries (e.g., libxml2-dev).

4. Before proceeding with the compilation, you need to configure PHP. Navigate to the extracted source code directory and run the `configure` script. This script prepares the build system and allows you to customize the PHP configuration. You can pass various options to the `configure` script, depending on your needs. One important option is `--prefix`, which defines the installation directory for PHP binaries and libraries.

5. Once you've configured PHP, it's time to compile the source code. Run the `make` command, and be prepared for a potentially lengthy process, especially if you're compiling a large PHP version or enabling many extensions. Keep an eye out for any errors during compilation. In case of errors, ensure all dependencies are installed correctly and check if you've met any special requirements mentioned in the PHP documentation.

6. After the compilation completes successfully, the next step is to install PHP on your Unix system. Use the `make install` command, which copies the PHP binaries, libraries, and configuration files to the specified installation directory (`--prefix` option from step 4). This step usually requires root or superuser privileges.

7. Once installation is complete, you'll likely need to configure your web server to use the newly installed PHP version. Depending on the web server you're using (e.g., Apache, Nginx), you'll need to update its configuration file and specify the PHP binary or module to use. Don't forget to restart your web server for the changes to take effect!

That's pretty much it! Compiling PHP from source can be a bit involved, but it gives you the flexibility to customize the build and enable specific features. If you encounter any issues or have questions, don't hesitate to ask for help. Good luck with your PHP compilation journey!


Hey there,

I can share my experience with compiling PHP from source on a Unix system. Follow these steps based on what worked for me:

1. You can find the official source code for PHP on the official PHP website. Make sure to download the version you need and consider checking the release notes or documentation to see if there are any specific requirements or changes for that version.

2. It's generally a good practice to choose an empty directory for extracting the source code. This ensures that the compilation process doesn't interfere with any existing files or directories. You can create a new directory specifically for this purpose.

3. Before compiling PHP, ensure that all the necessary dependencies are installed on your system. The required dependencies may vary depending on your Unix distribution and the features you want in PHP. Some common dependencies include a C compiler (such as GCC), make, and various libraries like libxml2, libjpeg, libpng, etc. You can usually install these dependencies using your package manager (e.g., apt, yum, etc.). It's essential to have the development versions of the libraries installed (e.g., libxml2-dev, libjpeg-dev) as they provide the required header files.

4. To configure the compilation options, run the `configure` script within the extracted PHP source directory. You can specify various options based on your needs, such as extensions to enable/disable, paths for libraries, and additional configurations. A helpful option is `--prefix`, which lets you define the installation directory for PHP. It's recommended to keep track of the flags you used during configuration as they can come in handy for troubleshooting or future reference.

5. Once the `configure` step is complete, run the `make` command to start the compilation process. This step may take some time, depending on your system's resources. Keep an eye on the output for any error messages, as they could indicate missing dependencies or configuration issues. If any errors occur, make sure to address them before proceeding.

6. After the `make` process finishes successfully, you can proceed with the installation using the `make install` command. This command will install PHP, along with any enabled extensions, into the directory specified during configuration (usually `/usr/local`). Make sure you have the necessary permissions to install files in the chosen directory.

7. Once PHP is installed, you might need to configure your web server (if you use one) to recognize the newly installed PHP version. This involves updating the server's configuration file to point to the PHP installation path and enable the PHP module or CGI. Restarting the web server is usually necessary for changes to take effect.

That's it! You should have PHP compiled and ready to use on your Unix system. Remember, these steps are based on my personal experience, and your mileage may vary depending on various factors. Feel free to ask if you have any further questions or encounter any difficulties. Good luck!

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