There is a new revision of this tutorial available for Debian 6 (Squeeze).

Installing Nginx With PHP5 (And PHP-FPM) And MySQL Support (LEMP) On Debian Wheezy

Nginx (pronounced "engine x") is a free, open-source, high-performance HTTP server. Nginx is known for its stability, rich feature set, simple configuration, and low resource consumption. This tutorial shows how you can install Nginx on a Debian Wheezy server with PHP5 support (through PHP-FPM) and MySQL support (LEMP = Linux + nginx (pronounced "engine x") + MySQL + PHP) .

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


1 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname with the IP address These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.


2 Installing MySQL 5

In order to install MySQL, we run

apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client

You will be asked to provide a password for the MySQL root user - this password is valid for the user root@localhost as well as [email protected], so we don't have to specify a MySQL root password manually later on:

New password for the MySQL "root" user: <-- yourrootsqlpassword
Repeat password for the MySQL "root" user: <-- yourrootsqlpassword


3 Installing Nginx

Nginx is available as a package for Debian Wheezy which we can install as follows:

apt-get install nginx

Start nginx afterwards:

/etc/init.d/nginx start

Type in your web server's IP address or hostname into a browser (e.g., and you should see the following page:

The default nginx document root on Debian Wheezy is /usr/share/nginx/www.


4 Installing PHP5

We can make PHP5 work in nginx through PHP-FPM (PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager) is an alternative PHP FastCGI implementation with some additional features useful for sites of any size, especially busier sites) which we install as follows:

apt-get install php5-fpm

PHP-FPM is a daemon process (with the init script /etc/init.d/php5-fpm) that runs a FastCGI server on the socket /var/run/php5-fpm.sock.


5 Configuring nginx

The nginx configuration is in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf which we open now:

vi /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

The configuration is easy to understand (you can learn more about it here: and here:

First (this is optional) adjust the number of worker processes and set the keepalive_timeout to a reasonable value:

worker_processes  4;
    keepalive_timeout   2;

The virtual hosts are defined in server {} containers. The default vhost is defined in the file /etc/nginx/sites-available/default - let's modify it as follows:

vi /etc/nginx/sites-available/default

server {
        listen   80; ## listen for ipv4; this line is default and implied
        listen   [::]:80 default_server ipv6only=on; ## listen for ipv6

        root /usr/share/nginx/www;
        index index.php index.html index.htm;

        # Make site accessible from http://localhost/
        server_name localhost;

        location / {
                # First attempt to serve request as file, then
                # as directory, then fall back to displaying a 404.
                try_files $uri $uri/ /index.html;
                # Uncomment to enable naxsi on this location
                # include /etc/nginx/naxsi.rules

        location /doc/ {
                alias /usr/share/doc/;
                autoindex on;
                allow ::1;
                deny all;

        # Only for nginx-naxsi used with nginx-naxsi-ui : process denied requests
        #location /RequestDenied {
        #       proxy_pass;

        #error_page 404 /404.html;

        # redirect server error pages to the static page /50x.html
        error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;
        location = /50x.html {
                root /usr/share/nginx/www;

        # pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server listening on
        location ~ \.php$ {
                try_files $uri =404;
                fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
                # NOTE: You should have "cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0;" in php.ini

                # With php5-cgi alone:
                # With php5-fpm:
                fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
                fastcgi_index index.php;
                include fastcgi_params;

        # deny access to .htaccess files, if Apache's document root
        # concurs with nginx's one
        location ~ /\.ht {
                deny all;

Uncomment both listen lines to make nginx listen on port 80 IPv4 and IPv6.

server_name _; makes this a default catchall vhost (of course, you can as well specify a hostname here like

I've added index.php to the index line. root /usr/share/nginx/www; means that the document root is the directory /usr/share/nginx/www.

The important part for PHP is the location ~ \.php$ {} stanza. Uncomment it to enable it. Please note that I've added the line try_files $uri =404; to prevent zero-day exploits (see and,88845,page=3).

Now save the file and reload nginx:

/etc/init.d/nginx reload

Next open /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini...

vi /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini

... and set cgi.fix_pathinfo=0:

; cgi.fix_pathinfo provides *real* PATH_INFO/PATH_TRANSLATED support for CGI.  PHP's
; previous behaviour was to set PATH_TRANSLATED to SCRIPT_FILENAME, and to not grok
; what PATH_INFO is.  For more information on PATH_INFO, see the cgi specs.  Setting
; this to 1 will cause PHP CGI to fix its paths to conform to the spec.  A setting
; of zero causes PHP to behave as before.  Default is 1.  You should fix your scripts

Reload PHP-FPM:

/etc/init.d/php5-fpm reload

Now create the following PHP file in the document root /usr/share/nginx/www:

vi /usr/share/nginx/www/info.php


Now we call that file in a browser (e.g.

As you see, PHP5 is working, and it's working through FPM/FastCGI, as shown in the Server API line. If you scroll further down, you will see all modules that are already enabled in PHP5. MySQL is not listed there which means we don't have MySQL support in PHP5 yet.

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4 Comment(s)

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From: bravo_kernel

Very nice post Mr. Timme. I have just upgraded from CGI without any issues. Ty!

From: Anonymous

For a German How-To with a more detailed instruction (subdomains, multiple sockets etc.) see

From: Mark Greenall

This is a really good article and very informative.  A good follow up to this would be to build NGiNX from source, and 'harden' it for the production environment.

From: stevek

You guide does nto work for me. The php config for nginx is not quite right.

The PHP block in nginx.conf  should look like this to make it work

### PHP BLOCK ### location ~ \.php?$ { fastcgi_keep_conn on; try_files $uri =404; include fastcgi_params; fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name; fastcgi_intercept_errors on; fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(.*)$; fastcgi_hide_header X-Powered-By; # fastcgi_pass; fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/; # fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/hhvm/hhvm.sock; }