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Apache PHP- FPM- Serverguide

This documentation is about how to set up a LAMP- Server (Linux, Apache, MySql aka MariaDB, PhP) in the current, most stable way for home office usage. The reason for me writing this is, that default Installations of common Distruibutions are often based on an old styled configuration, which is not the way it could be done today, leading to instability and complex configuration and dependencies that make it hard to update components individually.

To get the Differences, this is how my Distro (OpenSuSE) delivers the Packages by default and which disadvanteages it has:

  • Apache-Prefork. That way, Apache is one Application with many threads - which is slower, consumes more memory and doesn't scale good
  • PHP-Module (mod_php) loaded as Module in the Apache- Server which is not released as stable and may crash the whole Apache- Server on Errors. This module must be compiled to match the Apache- Version, so upgrading Apache means upgrading mod_php
  • PHP- Modules, which must be compiled againt the apache-mod_php- module. Updating mod_php means updating all modules.
    • Using Network Connections with overhead to connect to
  • MariaDB

And here is what this guide will set up:

  • Apache- Event. That way, Apache is one small Apache- Manager- Application which will spawn as many Apache- Servers as needed to handle the incoming connections dynamically. This is stable, as one Error may only crash the one Instance, which will be respawned by the Apache- Manager dynamically
    • Connection to php is done by Proxy- Handling in Apache
  • PHP-FPM will also Spawn PHP-Instances dynamically for each script beeing run
    • Using Socket Connections to connect to
  • MariaDB

First, starting from Windows, you should make sure to have enough harddisk space free (i recommend at least 60 GB). Then get the installation-medium of the Linux your choice. I will stick to OpenSuSE as to get from OpenSuSE (use Leap 15.1 currently as stable Distro. Tumbleweed may be instable). Follow the instructions to

  1. Download the DVD-Image from the Webpage as described there
  2. Create the Installation- Media
  3. Install the System with standard Desktop- Packages (KDE)
  4. Boot into new Linux and Set Up Desktop as you like

The most important thing to consider when making performant LAMP is to not overextend memory-usage of your System. That means, that the amount of memory used by all Applications, should normally never exeed the system-memory space. If the settings are too high for your setup, the system will start to swap o lot of data, not working fast enough any more. As basic thumb-based Values, you need: 1 GByte Memory for linux Base- System and additionally 1 GByte Memory if you plan to have the graphical Desktop running (you can run that server in Textmode, which will not consume Memory) + at least 1 GByte free (this will be used by System for filecache)

The remaining Memory should be Split around this Values:

  • 1/2 to Mysql
  • 1/4 to PhP
  • 1/4 to Apache

Those values are only for initial setup. After watching your System some time, you can adjust them to your needs. Mostly, when the system is growing, the Database will need even much more Memory than the Webserver, but that depens on your needs.

This is a very tight setup - having no more space for other Applications. So maybe if possible, spend some more GB and leave them free or dedicated to other things (e.g. In- Memory-DB like redis for special jobs).

Again in short: Don't use more Memory as your system can deliver, or you will have no fun with it!

As the System is still usable also with a bad configuration, here is how to check if the Memory is set up right:

Open a terminal and type in „top“ as command. In the 4th line you should see „KiB Mem…“ . The important Values in that line are: XXX free ⇒ if this Value is to low (<90000 is very low), the System has no space left to start new Tasks. This Value should always be higher. 256000 or more is a good Value. XXX buff/cache ⇒ this is the value, that the system has allocated for filebuffering. A low value indicates that it may not performe well. The Value should be around 1024000 or more for best performance.

If those values are both high, you can go and set swappiness to 0, which means that the system will tray to stay in memory as long as it will be possible.

Use „systemctl vm.swappiness = 0“ and set it in /etc/sysctl.conf by adding line „vm.swappiness=0“.

In OpenSuSE MariaDB is available and working out of the Box. Check with:

sudo zypper install mariadb

MySQL is tuneable in /etc/my.cnf. You should check the Parameters align with the memory of your machine (see above): Settings for 4 GB Memory (at all), are:

  • innodb_buffer_pool_size = 768M
  • innodb_log_file_size = 96M
  • #Hint: innodb_log_file_size * 2/innodb_buffer_pool_size should be equal 25%)
  • max_connections = 24
  • join_buffer_size = 12M
  • sort_buffer_size = 1M
  • readn_rnd_buffer_size = 1M

Memory-Usage will be: innodb_buffer_pool_size + ( join_buffer_size + sort_buffer_size + readn_rnd_buffer_size ) * max_connections. If your System has more memory, use some tuning script (like MySQLTuner-perl) to see what makes most sense to put the memory to.

For a local setup, you should use Sockets and disable networking. To do this, set

socket = /run/mysql/mysql.sock

You should than deactivate TCP/IP with „skip-networking“ and comment out the bind-address.

Start Mysql with

systemctl start mariadb

at the command line as root, it should work now.

To setup passwords, run /usr/bin/mysql_secure_installation as root on the system.

In SuSE 15.X the apache-prefork is installed by default as MPM, which means having one single Apache- Programm in memory. This is not very well scaleable (not multithreaded) and not very stable, as one hangig Request can stop the Server.

In modern setups, apache-event (which is the successor of the apache-worker MPM) is used. This is the most stable and best multithreaded webserver commonly used. If you experience problems with it, you can switch back to apache-worker, which is basically the same.

To switch to that MPM:

  • Open the Software Store
  • Install apache2-event
  • Remove apache2-prefork (if installed)
  • Commit the Changes
  • in /etc/apache2/server-tuning.conf the module will be configured. Event and Worker is nearby the same. I use the following parameters for the event/worker module:
#This Config is for event or worker MPMs.
#ServerLimit is the maximum number of apache-servers running beside the one controlling server. So 31 will make max. 32 Processes in total.
ServerLimit 31
# http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/mpm_common.html#startservers
StartServers        2
#This should be set to threadsperchild * serverlimit
MaxRequestWorkers  496
# http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/mpm_common.html#minsparethreads
MinSpareThreads     32
MaxSpareThreads     64
# number of worker threads created by each child process
# http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/mpm_common.html#threadsperchild
ThreadsPerChild     16
# maximum number of requests a server process serves
# http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/mpm_common.html#maxrequestsperchild
MaxRequestsPerChild  5000
#unsued Parameters, while not needed or obsolete
#MaxClients         512
#ThreadLimit         16

I would suggest to remove any mpm-specific configurations and use only those settings. You can leave the other settings as defined by initial setup.

After that, open yast and go to sysconfig- editor. Search for APACHE_MPM and select event.

Test running apache with

systemctl start apache2.service

systemctl status apache2.service
● apache2.service - The Apache Webserver
    Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/apache2.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)
    Active: active (running) since Tue 2022-11-22 19:43:17 CET; 1s ag

If thats fine, please stop apache once again to configure php-fpm first.

If installed, remove mod_php (see beneath)! The Module for apache is known to make it slow and instable - here we will set up PhP-FPM, which is much more stable and much faster. Here you can find a good Documentation for changing to php-fpm, but we will extend them a bit.

PhP-FPM is a Server for running the PhP-Instances in a controlled way. It will manage the maximum amount of running instances and take care of errors like hanging scripts. To get it:

  • Uninstall mod_php and remove it from apache- starting parameters:
sudo zypper remove apache2-mod_php8
sudo a2dismod php8
  • I would suggest using a newer Version of php-fpm than in the default Repositories. E.g. using the Version of Repository „Apache Modules“. Check out other „Experimental Packages“ in https://software.opensuse.org/package/php7-fpm?search_term=php+fpm
  • Either install the new Version with 1-Click-Install there or for the default Version, use
sudo zypper install php8-fpm
  • Copy the configuration-files for php-fpm:
sudo cp /etc/php8/fpm/php-fpm.conf.default /etc/php8/fpm/php-fpm.conf
sudo cp /etc/php8/fpm/php-fpm.d/www.conf.default /etc/php8/fpm/php-fpm.d/www.conf
  • Than go to /etc/php8/fpm and briefly check if php-fpm.conf is ok for you
  • Explanation: In php-fpm.d directory you need to set up at least one pool. This is one Instance for Apache to speak to.

The „pm“-setting in www.conf controls how much memory will be used at the end. Start with:

  • pm = dynamic
  • pm.max_children = 120
  • pm.start_servers = 12
  • pm.min_spare_servers = 6
  • pm.max_spare_servers = 18

Whenever you can - you should use unix sockets instead of TCP/IP, because of less overhead. If you are on the same machine (apache and php-fpm), than you can.

So this here is new for the setup: in „/etc/php8/fpm/php-fpm.d/www.conf“ set

listen = /run/php-fpm/php-fpm.sock
listen.owner = wwwrun
listen.group = www
listen.mode = 0660

You need to make the file be created by systemd, so create a file /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/php-fpm.conf and paste this line there:

d /run/php-fpm 0700 wwwrun root -

I do not recommend using php.ini in /etc/php8/fpm, but to put it in /etc/php8/conf.d With that Setup, the whole php-configuration will be the same for cli- and web(f)cgi- php execution. Check to move all php.ini files to conf.d. After that, go through the ini-files in conf.d an see if they fit your needs. Especially each Parameter should only be defined once.

After that, start php-fpm:

sudo systemctl start php-fpm
sudo systemctl enable php-fpm

and check, if the socket-file has been created.

many modules for PHP are offered in the Distrubution. I would not recommend using those - as all php-modules need to be compiled against your php. If you update PHP and your modules are not copiled to that version, they may brake your PHP!

Better use pearl / pecl and install modules with it! Here, i have found no other way, than to search for php-pear and php-pecl in the distribution and use them.

For me, i needed: php8-pear, php8-pecl, php8-devel (for command phpize)

Which can be found in the Repo: https://build.opensuse.org/project/show/devel:languages:php

After that, modules can be installed by e.g. „pecl install imagick“. They also need to be loaded in php.conf. I would make an new config named e.g. /etc/php8/conf.d/pear_pecl.ini and include the modules there. E.g. „extension=imagick.so“

To make pecl/paer alter the ini automagically, use e.g.

pear config-set php_ini /etc/php8/conf.d/pear_pecl.ini
pecl config-set php_ini /etc/php8/conf.d/pear_pecl.ini

Restart php-fpm for the changes and check the log of php-fpm (usually in /var/log/php-fpm.log) for errors when loading modules.

For making Apache use php-fpm as php-server, you use the module „proxy_fcgi“, which should be included in the apache MPM- Package.

Caution: this has noting to do with „mod_fcgi“ or „fastcgi“! You will not need those, as this would execute php itself in the webserver, which we dont' want! „proxy_fcgi“ offers the fcgi- interface and tunnels it to php-fpm via socket or ip-interface. Thus, it will be a small wrapper, not having to manage something as big as php.

  • To enable this and all its dependencies, use
sudo a2enmod setenvif
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo a2enmod proxy
sudo a2enmod proxy_fcgi

Now, tell proxy_fcgi to use php:

  • Create /etc/apache2/conf.d/mod_proxy_fcgi.conf and add:
# Don't use "ProxyPassMatch", while non-ascii-urls will not work!
# This is to forward all PHP to php-fpm
<FilesMatch \.php$>
  SetHandler "proxy:unix:/run/php-fpm/php-fpm.sock|fcgi://localhost:9000"
DirectoryIndex index.php

# Don't use "Reuse" cause of timeouts and php-fpm manages reuse of php automagically!
# <Proxy fcgi://localhost enablereuse=on max=10>
<Proxy fcgi://localhost>
   #6 Hours = 21600
   #Make this high, as upload will stop after that amount of time
   ProxySet connectiontimeout=30 timeout=21600

# If the php file doesn't exist, disable the proxy handler.
# This will allow .htaccess rewrite rules to work and
# the client will see the default 404 page of Apache
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} \.php$
RewriteRule (.*) - [H=text/html]

Now you can start and enable apache2

sudo systemctl start apache2
sudo systemctl enable apache2

check if the modules have beend loaded:

apache2ctl -M

This should include proxy_fcgi_module now.

Create the File /srv/www/htdocs/phpinfo.php (with read-permissions for user wwwrun) and paste this into it:


// Show all information, defaults to INFO_ALL


Now open your Web- Browser and go to: http://localhost/phpinfo.php

This should give you the complete Info of your php-configuration. If something fails, check if the above services are started an/or the logfiles.

If you get Permission denied even if your file is world- readable and the user wwwrun can access the content, in Leap 15.4 there are strict permissions in AppArmor. So check Yast / AppArmor and Check the Protocols. You will most likely find entries that needs to be changed (affects also: executing programs with proc_open() in php). After that, Access should work.

In Production, you should not run a plain http-server, but switch to SSL. Therefore, you can get ssl-certificates from let's encrypt and follow the instructions there to switch to ssl. You need some internet Name like www.myname.com registered for your server to get this (e.g. via Dyndns). The process to make your server visible is something to be explained a bit more, but thats basically what you need to do (official internet-name/DNS- entry and ssl-encryption). as long as you don't want to make the server world-reachable and use it nly fr testing, your are also fine without DNS and SSL, but you should make sure, that your firewall blocks http(80) and https(443)-ports.

Well: You are done. Now its up to you to fill Apache with content. Have fun!

To manage your local Database, it would be nice to have phpMyAdmin installed first (via Package-manager). After that, copy the config.sample.inc.php to config.inc.php under /srv/www/htdocs/phpMyAdmin to use the socket /run/mysql/mysql.sock you specified before for mysql.

You can finish the setup of your phpMyAdmin by visiting http://localhost/phpMyAdmin/index.php

Hint: phpMyAdmin in Opensuse seems to be reduced in functionality. For example generating config.inc.php with http://localhost/phpMyAdmin/setup/ will not work. I would recommend to delete contents of /usr/share/phpMyAdmin/ and download a full version here: https://www.phpmyadmin.net/downloads/

There are really a lot of important Documentations about security of your Webserver going in Details for each functionality. They are important - as functions should be set as tight as possible.

But there are more basic security settings that may prevent damage if the functional security is breached. So the basic security might be very important - and here especially the file permissions. One big security-hole that is very common misunderstand at permissions is this one:

If you make a file ONLY readable for the user of the webserver (400) and make that user own that file, you may expect this user to not be able to write to that file. THIS IS WRONG !

Instead, in Linux/Unix the user owning a file can ALWAYs change its permissions. So the user will be able to make it writeable again and write to that file. The ONLY way to prevent the webservers- user form writing to files is not to make this user own that file. So you should make your file owned by root and use groups for controlling the access.

If you need more detailled file permissions, you may have a look at file acls, which are very powerful and can solve permission- restrictions tha ugo may cause.

Get Eclipse with PDT here: https://www.eclipse.org/pdt/

You may download the file, extract the contents (e.g. to ~/eclipse) and run the installer there in userspace (no superuser is required).

This is a demo to install some small Software to your Server. I will use the github- Project EP3-BS for testing.

This is a nice tool, to view your git-repositorys. Install it, and create a directory named /srv/git and make it writeable to users. Restart your webserver.

You should already be able to go to http://localhost/git/ and see an empty project- Directory.

To get the git-project, open a terminal, change to /srv/git and execute „git clone https://github.com/obel1x/ep3-bs.git".

You should already be set to open the project in eclipse. If you rightclick on the Project, you can add Composer-support to automate the installation of composer-modules while setup of ep3.

Than create the Apache configuration to point to that directory:

Alias /ep3 "/srv/git/ep3-bs/public/"
<Directory "/srv/git/ep3-bs/">
require local
Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
DirectoryIndex index.php

After that, follow the instructions in https://github.com/tkrebs/ep3-bs/blob/master/data/docs/install.txt. Remember to use eclipse for installing composer-modules as written above!

As Database you can create a new user (e.g. named ep3) with corresponid database and fill the configuration to fit.

In Eclipse now add a project and use GIT smart import from that directory location - it should configure git and eclipse + php the right way and you should be ready to go programming!

To setup Debugging of code, install xdebug for php via pecl:

pecl install xdebug

Now, also add


Now restart php-fpm and check the php_info() if xdebug is enabled and if Step debugging is active. Otherwise check logs.

Adjusting timeouts in apache fcgi: Add Timeouts to /etc/apache2/conf.d/mod_proxy_fcgi.conf of apache:

 Timeout 600
 ProxyTimeout 600

And of course restart apache2.

You need to add the PHP- Environement and the Debugger in Eclipse.


Mind to use the Port phpinfo tells you. Thats it start debugging with e.g. index.php of the project:

That should fire up the Browser, connect php in debugging to eclipse and break at the first line.

You can walk through the code with F5 (dive into), F6 (step over) or just let the work go on with F8.

You are done setting up webserver, php-fpm, mariadb and eclipse plus your new git- repository. hafe fun!

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  • content/apache_phpfpm.1672005113.txt.gz
  • Zuletzt geändert: 2022/12/25 21:51
  • von Daniel