How To Use Multiple PHP Versions (PHP-FPM & FastCGI) With ISPConfig 3 (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS)

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Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
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Last edited 03/05/2013

Since ISPConfig 3.0.5, it is possible to use multiple PHP versions on one server and select the optimal PHP version for a website. This feature works with PHP-FPM (starting with PHP 5.3) and FastCGI (all PHP 5.x versions). This tutorial shows how to build PHP 5.3 and PHP 5.4 as a PHP-FPM and a FastCGI version on an Ubuntu 12.04 server. These PHP versions can be used together with the default PHP (installed through apt) in ISPConfig.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I will install PHP 5.3.22 and PHP 5.4.12, the latest PHP 5.3 and 5.4 versions at the time of this writing. I will also show how to build some additional PHP extensions such as APC, memcache, memcached, and ioncube.

Please note that PHP-FPM can be used on both Apache and nginx servers, while FastCGI is available only for Apache servers.

PHP-FPM and FastCGI are mutually exclusive in PHP 5.3 and 5.4, that's why I show two ways of building PHP, one for PHP-FPM, one for FastCGI, however you can compile PHP twice to get both, one time with --enable-fpm and one time with --enable-cgi (make sure to use different base directories, such as /opt/php-5.3.22 for PHP-FPM and /opt/phpfcgi-5.3.22 for FastCGI).


2 Building PHP 5.3.22 (PHP-FPM)

Download and extract PHP 5.3.22:

mkdir /opt/php-5.3.22
mkdir /usr/local/src/php5-build
cd /usr/local/src/php5-build
wget -O php-5.3.22.tar.bz2
tar jxf php-5.3.22.tar.bz2

cd php-5.3.22/

Install the prerequisites for building PHP5:

apt-get install build-essential

apt-get build-dep php5

apt-get install libfcgi-dev libfcgi0ldbl libjpeg62-dbg libmcrypt-dev libssl-dev libc-client2007e libc-client2007e-dev

ln -s /usr/lib/libc-client.a /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-client.a

(The last command is needed if you build PHP with --with-imap, because otherwise ./configure will stop with the following error:

checking for crypt in -lcrypt... yes
configure: error: Cannot find imap library (libc-client.a). Please check your c-client installation.


Configure and build PHP 5.3.22 as follows (you can adjust the ./configure command to your needs, take a look at

./configure --help

to see all available options; if you use a different ./configure command, it is possible that additional libraries are required, or the build process will fail):

./configure \
--prefix=/opt/php-5.3.22 \
--with-pdo-pgsql \
--with-zlib-dir \
--with-freetype-dir \
--enable-mbstring \
--with-libxml-dir=/usr \
--enable-soap \
--enable-calendar \
--with-curl \
--with-mcrypt \
--with-zlib \
--with-gd \
--with-pgsql \
--disable-rpath \
--enable-inline-optimization \
--with-bz2 \
--with-zlib \
--enable-sockets \
--enable-sysvsem \
--enable-sysvshm \
--enable-pcntl \
--enable-mbregex \
--with-mhash \
--enable-zip \
--with-pcre-regex \
--with-mysql \
--with-pdo-mysql \
--with-mysqli \
--with-jpeg-dir=/usr \
--with-png-dir=/usr \
--enable-gd-native-ttf \
--with-openssl \
--with-fpm-user=www-data \
--with-fpm-group=www-data \
--with-libdir=/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu \
--enable-ftp \
--with-imap \
--with-imap-ssl \
--with-kerberos \
--with-gettext \

The last switch (--enable-fpm) makes sure this PHP version will work with PHP-FPM.

make install

Copy php.ini and php-fpm.conf to the correct locations:

cp /usr/local/src/php5-build/php-5.3.22/php.ini-production /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini

cp /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/php-fpm.conf.default /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/php-fpm.conf

Open /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/php-fpm.conf and adjust the following settings - in the listen line you must use an unused port (e.g. 8999; port 9000 might be in use by Ubuntu's default PHP-FPM already), and you must add the line include=/opt/php-5.3.22/etc/pool.d/*.conf at the end:

vi /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/php-fpm.conf

pid = run/
user = www-data
group = www-data
listen =

Create the pool directory for PHP-FPM:

mkdir /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/pool.d

Next create an init script for PHP-FPM:

vi /etc/init.d/php-5.3.22-fpm

#! /bin/sh
# Provides:          php-5.3.22-fpm
# Required-Start:    $all
# Required-Stop:     $all
# Default-Start:     2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:      0 1 6
# Short-Description: starts php-5.3.22-fpm
# Description:       starts the PHP FastCGI Process Manager daemon
php_opts="--fpm-config $php_fpm_CONF"

wait_for_pid () {
        while test $try -lt 35 ; do
                case "$1" in
                        if [ -f "$2" ] ; then
                        if [ ! -f "$2" ] ; then
                echo -n .
                try=`expr $try + 1`
                sleep 1
case "$1" in
                echo -n "Starting php-fpm "
                $php_fpm_BIN $php_opts
                if [ "$?" != 0 ] ; then
                        echo " failed"
                        exit 1
                wait_for_pid created $php_fpm_PID
                if [ -n "$try" ] ; then
                        echo " failed"
                        exit 1
                        echo " done"
                echo -n "Gracefully shutting down php-fpm "
                if [ ! -r $php_fpm_PID ] ; then
                        echo "warning, no pid file found - php-fpm is not running ?"
                        exit 1
                kill -QUIT `cat $php_fpm_PID`
                wait_for_pid removed $php_fpm_PID
                if [ -n "$try" ] ; then
                        echo " failed. Use force-exit"
                        exit 1
                        echo " done"
                       echo " done"
                echo -n "Terminating php-fpm "
                if [ ! -r $php_fpm_PID ] ; then
                        echo "warning, no pid file found - php-fpm is not running ?"
                        exit 1
                kill -TERM `cat $php_fpm_PID`
                wait_for_pid removed $php_fpm_PID
                if [ -n "$try" ] ; then
                        echo " failed"
                        exit 1
                        echo " done"
                $0 stop
                $0 start
                echo -n "Reload service php-fpm "
                if [ ! -r $php_fpm_PID ] ; then
                        echo "warning, no pid file found - php-fpm is not running ?"
                        exit 1
                kill -USR2 `cat $php_fpm_PID`
                echo " done"
                echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|force-quit|restart|reload}"
                exit 1

Make the init script executable and create the system startup links:

chmod 755 /etc/init.d/php-5.3.22-fpm
update-rc.d php-5.3.22-fpm defaults

Finally start PHP-FPM:

/etc/init.d/php-5.3.22-fpm start

As long as there are no pools in /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/pool.d, you will get this warning which you can ignore:

root@server1:/usr/local/src/php5-build/php-5.3.22# /etc/init.d/php-5.3.22-fpm start
Starting php-fpm [04-Mar-2013 14:58:41] WARNING: Nothing matches the include pattern '/opt/php-5.3.22/etc/pool.d/*.conf' from /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/php-fpm.conf at line 512.

That's it - if you like, you can now install some additional modules like APC, memcache, memcached, and ioncube.

The APC, memcache, and memcached modules can be installed through PEAR which we must install and initialize first:

apt-get -y install php-pear

cd /opt/php-5.3.22/etc

pecl -C ./pear.conf update-channels

APC can now be installed as follows:

pecl -C ./pear.conf install apc

Accept all default values. Afterwards, open /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini...

vi /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini

... and add the line at the end of the file (you can also configure some additional APC settings):

;apc.shm_segments = 5

The memcache extension can be installed as follows:

pecl -C ./pear.conf install memcache

Open /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini...

vi /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini

... and add the line at the end of the file:


The memcached extension can be installed as follows:

apt-get install libmemcached-dev

ln -s /usr/include/libmemcached /usr/include/libmemcached-1.0

pecl -C ./pear.conf install memcached

Open /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini...

vi /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini

... and add the line at the end of the file:


The ionCube Loader can be installed as follows:

cd /tmp

Next download and unpack the correct ionCube Loader package for your architecture (x86_64 or x86).

For x86_64:

tar xfvz ioncube_loaders_lin_x86-64.tar.gz

For x86:

tar xfvz ioncube_loaders_lin_x86.tar.gz

Proceed as follows:

cp ioncube/ /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626/
vi /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini

Add the line zend_extension = /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626/ right at the beginning of the file (before the [PHP] line):

zend_extension = /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626/

Reload PHP-FPM afterwards:

/etc/init.d/php-5.3.22-fpm reload

In ISPConfig 3.0.5, you can configure the new PHP version under System > Additional PHP Versions. On the Name tab, you just fill in a name for the PHP version (e.g. PHP 5.3.22) - this PHP version will be listed under this name in the website settings in ISPConfig:

Go to the PHP-FPM Settings tab (the FastCGI Settings tab can be left empty) and fill out the fields as follows:

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12 Comment(s)

Add comment


From: junkri at: 2013-03-08 13:46:10

On debian 6(squeeze), you shoud use --with-libdir=/lib64 instead of --with-libdir=/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu
without that, you'll get the error of imap library mentioned above.

From: suther at: 2013-05-16 15:51:29

For i386/i686 system you have to remove the parameter: --with-libdir=/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu.

 Otherwise, you got the imap-error described for x64 system above!

From: junkri at: 2013-03-08 17:11:48

if the php_fpm can't handle the new versions of php, make sure that you enabled fastcgi:

apt-get install libapache2-mod-fastcgi
a2enmod fastcgi
/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

From: Anonymous at: 2013-04-01 05:45:00


I GET TO: ln -s /usr/lib/libc-client.a /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-client.a

 ln: failed to create symbolic link `/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-client.a': No such file or directory


From: Pavel at: 2013-07-30 19:58:39

Is possible add to this tutorial php version 5.2.x? For example 5.2.6, or 5.2.17. Probably this is version, what is required for old joomla 1.5.x.


From: Anonymous at: 2013-10-10 16:06:26

I get to 

 cp /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/php-fpm.conf.default /opt/php-5.3.22/etc/php-fpm.conf 

 and i get cp:cannot stat `/opt/php-5.3.22/etc/php-fpm.conf.default': no such file or directory

 Can someone please explain me why i get it and how to fix it?

From: iNeard at: 2013-11-18 20:53:31

Only for x64!
To correct the libc-client-Error:

ln -s /usr/lib/libc-client.a /usr/lib64/

To correct the libmysqlclient-Error:

ln -s /usr/lib/libmysqlclient.a /usr/lib64/

After that, the ./configure-Command:



From: at: 2014-02-11 10:49:01

I have installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and ISPconfig 3 the last stable on 32-bit pc

1st error

When I put command


ln -s /usr/lib/libc-client.a /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-client.a


I get result: No such file or directory

2nd error

When I put command

cp /usr/local/src/php5-build/php-5.3.22/php.ini-production /opt/php-5.3.22/lib/php.ini


I get result: No such file or directory
Directory lib doesn't exist

can somebody resolve this problems?

From: Anonymous at: 2014-10-14 08:46:17

i get an error using:

wget -O php-5.3.22.tar.bz2


Connecting to (||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 404 Not Found
2014-10-14 04:33:34 ERROR 404: Not Found.

Was the download location changed? Anyone else experienced this issue?

Any updated links to download older php versions properly?


Thanks in advanced!

From: Horst at: 2014-03-04 04:22:21

Hallo Team

ISPconfig 3 zweite PHP Version wird nicht übernommen, intern keine -zuweisung zur Domain erfolgt.

Bei Prüfung wird stets die Standard php-5.4 Version gefunden, sollte aber php-5.3.28 sein.

Korrekt nach Anleitung installiert phad /opt/....

Warum übernimmt ISPconfig 3 nicht diese -zuweisung.

danke für Rückantwort

From: Jürgen at: 2014-11-06 15:05:45

Thanks for a wonderful tutorial (again).  I downloaded php 5.4.34 instead; all worked immediately.

From: johnymas at: 2015-03-14 12:53:37


On Ubuntu 14.04, after the fix for "libc-client.a", you also have to do the following :

ln -s /usr/include/freetype2 /usr/include/freetype2/freetype

Otherwise ./configure will failed with a "freetype.h not found" error.

by Cédric.