How to compile PHP-5.6 on CentOS 7

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series: How to compile PHP from the source code


PHP is a general purpose scripting language that it’s mainly used for web development. Today heavy load web sites such as: Facebook and Wikipedia are powered by PHP. If you are new in the PHP world and you are looking a programming language for your project you will find.

Community features like:
– Active development
– Great community
– Good documentation, books and blogs

Languages features like:
– Database drivers: MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Firebird, MSSQL, SQL Server …
– Namespaces
– Object Oriented Programming
– Reflection
– File handlers
– Text processing (PCRE)
– Error handling
– Exception handling
– Generators
– Web scraping
– Variadic functions
– Argument unpacking
– Large file uploads
– Low learning curve and more

Why compile from source

Compiling from source is a good option if you want to:

  • Upgrade to the last version
  • Get the last features
  • Fix security issues
  • Customize/Optimize your installation


After finishing this tutorial you will be able to compile PHP by yourself and get some knowledge about interaction between NGINX and PHP-FPM service.


This tutorial assumes:

  • You have some knowledges about GNU/Linux operating system
  • You are familiar with console and shell commands
  • You have some knowlegde about compilation process

Download PHP packages

Go to site Downloads section and select the PHP-6.X.X version that you want to compile (5.6.12 at time of writing this tutorial), select your nearest mirror and downloat it then upload to your server using rsycn or scp. Another simple solution is typing in your console from your server

# wget

Unpacking PHP packages

In the previous step we download a php-5.6.12.tar.xz file so we can unpackage it using tar tool

# tar xJvf php-5.6.12.tar.xz


x = extract,
J = handle xz file format,
v = verbose,
f = file

Installing GNU Compiler Collection and essential tools

# yum -y install gcc gcc-c++ make automake autoconf bison flex libtool libstdc++-devel

Installing dependencies

We will compile PHP with XML, SSL, PCRE, SQLite, bzip2, curl, GD, mcrypt … support. mcrypt is available in EPEL repo then you need to type

# yum -y install epel-release


# yum -y install libxml2-devel openssl openssl-devel pcre-devel sqlite-devel bzip2-devel \
libcurl-devel libicu-devel gd-devel readline-devel libmcrypt-devel systemd-devel

Download script from Github script is helper for PHP compilation process. Enable the most used extensions as: curl, openssl, intl, mysql, pcre, … and it allows to install PHP in custom DIR, it offers options to compile PHP with Apache (prefork or worker) or fpm support.

You can modify according your needs.

If you compile PHP with fpm support you must edit and set the user and group under the fpm process will be run

# wget && \
chmod a+x

Build PHP with FPM support and systemd integration

PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager) is an alternative FastCGI implementation for PHP, bundled with the official PHP distribution since version 5.3.3.

systemd is replacement for SysV initialization. systemd also is a suite of system management daemons, libraries, and utilities designed as a central management and configuration for GNU/Linux operating system.

First create necessary DIR that will be used during compilation process.

# mkdir -p /etc/php/conf.d /usr/lib/php/modules /usr/share/pear

Create PCRE symbolic link to avoid: “configure: error: Could not find libpcre.(a|so) in /usr”

# ln -s /usr/lib64/ /usr/lib/


# ./ -fs php-5.6.12

where -f = FPM support, s = systemd integration


#  cd php-5.6.12 && make install

Creating configuration file

PHP source code comes with 2 .ini files versions: development and production. As we’re compiling for PROD server we type the following command.

# cp -v php.ini-production /etc/php/php.ini

Adjust the ini directives according your needs.

Creating PHP-FPM configuration file

# cp -pv /etc/php/php-fpm.conf.default /etc/php/php-fpm.conf

Edit /etc/php/php-fpm.conf

To allow php-fpm listen on every interface you must look for the listen directive and set its value. Ex

listen 9000

Restrict access to php-fpm service. Only specific IPs can connect to php-fpm service, look for listen.allowed_clients directive and set its value to

listen.allowed_clients =,,,

Enable OpCache

OPcache improves PHP performance by storing precompiled script bytecode in shared memory serving request in fastest way.

# echo "" > /etc/php/conf.d/20-opcache.ini

Creating PHP-FPM init service

# cp -v ./sapi/fpm/php-fpm.service /usr/lib/systemd/system/php-fpm.service

If the user and group under the php-fpm process will be run does not exists then you must created them before start php-fpm service.

# groupadd --system www-data && \ 
useradd --system -m -d /var/www  -s /usr/sbin/nologin -g www-data www-data

Above command create the system group and system user www-data where:

  • -m = create home DIR if not exsist
  • -d = user home DIR
  • -s = login shell (no login shell for this case because www-data was not created for login purpose)
  • -g = what groups this user belongs to.

For security reasons we will change the owner, group and perms for /var/www

# chown root:root -c /var/www/ && chmod 755  /var/www/ 

Start PHP-FPM service at system boot time

# systemctl enable php-fpm

Start PHP-FPM service

# systemctl start php-fpm

Check PHP-FPM status

# systemctl status php-fpm

Create info.php file

# echo '<?php phpinfo();'>/var/www/info.php


NGINX is a web server with excelent performance and low memory footprint also it can be used as a reverse proxy server for HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols as well as load balancer. For this example we will used NGINX as reverse proxy for testing our PHP-FPM service.

Installing NGINX

NGINX is available through EPEL repo

# yum -y install epel-release && yum -y install nginx

Edit /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Look for server section and add the following section

	location~ \.php$ {
            root         /var/www;
            fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+.php)(/.+)$;
            fastcgi_index index.php;
            include fastcgi.conf;
    } is the IP where php-fpm service is listen on

Start NGINX service at system boot time

# systemctl enable nginx

Start NGINX service

# systemctl start nginx

Check NGINX status service

# systemctl status nginx

Opening ports 80 (NGINX) and 9000 (php-fpm)

FirewallD is the default firewall in CentOS 7.

Adding IP range that will access to php-fpm service in trusted zone. For this example we consider entire LAN has access to php-fpm service.

#  firewall-cmd --permanent --zone=trusted --add-source=

Reload firewall rules

# firewall-cmd --reload


Open your browser with the IP where is listening your NGINX server

$ firefox


Now that you have learned how to compile PHP by yourself you can get all advantages (bug fixes, performance improvements and lastest features) for each version of PHP without waiting for the chosen distribution packager.

1 Comment

  1. Juan G. Covas / SoftLine

    Hey, this allowed me to make a quick test for a very tricky ODBC driver that required “–with-iodbc” configuration that is not the default. It worked and you made my day. For the google bot: WinDev HFSQL ODBC driver from Linux CentOS.


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