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Quick Setup PHP

This is a quick guide on how to install PHP. The following assumes you are using Debian 11 and have a user account with sudo privileges.

PHP versions on the Debian repo

As of writing, the Debian repos only have version 7.4. If you require a newer (8.0 - 8.1) or earlier (5.6-7.3) version of PHP, you can add the Sury Debian repo using the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y install apt-transport-https lsb-release ca-certificates curl
sudo curl -sSLo /usr/share/keyrings/
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/] $(lsb_release -sc) main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/php.list'
sudo apt-get update

To install the version of your choice, append the version number you require to php e.g. php8.1, php7.3. It is also the same for installing extensions e.g. php8.1-xml, php7.3-xml

sudo apt install php8.1 php8.1-xml

Installing PHP with NGINX support

First update the repos and upgrade any packages before installing PHP:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

With NGINX you will need the PHP FastCGI Process Manager in order to handle PHP files as it doesn't have support built-in:

sudo apt install php php-fpm

Once installed, the PHP-FPM service will be started automatically. From there, you need to edit your server block in NGINX to process PHP files. Add the following code snippet into your server block:

server {
# ...

location ~ \.php$ {
include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;


Reload the NGINX service with sudo service nginx reload to apply the changes. Then scroll down to Verify PHP Processing.

Installing PHP Extensions

You may need a few extensions to install in order to make your PHP program work. Here is a shorthand example to install multiple extensions:

sudo apt install php-{common,mbstring,gd,mysql,xml,curl,fpm}

Verify PHP Processing

To verify that PHP Processing is working, create a PHP file in the /var/www/html/ directory to display information about the current PHP configuration.

Using your favourite editor make a file called test.php and enter the following contents:


Then go to http://<IP-of-server>/test.php and it should display the your PHP configuration as shown below.

If configuration page doesn't display, ensure the PHP version for the socket is correct in the NGINX server block and double check that the php-fpm.service is enabled and is active.


You have successfully installed PHP as well as enabling PHP processing with NGINX.