While you can just download the PHP source and compile it yourself,
using Debian's packaging system is the simplest and cleanest
method of installing PHP. If you are not familiar with building
software on Linux, this is the way to go.
The first decision you need to make is whether you want to install
Apache 1.3.x or Apache 2.x. The corresponding PHP packages are
respectively named libapache-mod-php* and libapache2-mod-php*.
The steps given below will use Apache 1.3.x.
Please note that, as of this writing, there is no official
Debian packages of PHP 5. Then the steps given below will install PHP 4.
PHP is available in Debian as CGI or CLI flavour too, named respectively
php4-cgi and php4-cli. If you need them, you'll just have to reproduce the
following steps with the good package names.
Another special package you'd want to install is php4-pear. It contains a
minimal PEAR installation and the pear commandline
If you need more recent packages of PHP than the Debian's stable ones
or if some PHP modules lacks the Debian official repository, perhaps
you should take a look at http://www.apt-get.org/.
One of the results found should be
Dotdeb. This unofficial repository
is maintained by Guillaume Plessis
and contains Debian packages of the most recent versions of PHP 4 and PHP 5.
To use it, just add the to following two lines to your
/etc/apt/sources.lists and run apt-get
Example 4-7. The two Dotdeb related lines
deb http://packages.dotdeb.org stable all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org stable all
The last thing to consider is whether your list of packages is up to date.
If you have not updated it recently, you need to run apt-get update
before anything else. This way, you will be using the most recent
stable version of the Apache and PHP packages.
Now that everything is in place, you can use the following example
to install Apache and PHP:
Example 4-8. Debian Install Example with Apache 1.3
# apt-get install libapache-mod-php4
APT will automatically install the PHP 4 module for Apache 1.3, and all its
dependencies and then activate it. If you're not asked to restart Apache
during the install process, you'll have to do it manually :
Example 4-9. Stopping and starting Apache once PHP 4 is installed
# /etc/init.d/apache stop
# /etc/init.d/apache start
In the last section, PHP was installed with only core modules.
This may not be what you want and you will soon discover that you need
more activated modules, like MySQL, cURL, GD, etc.
When you compile PHP from source yourself, you need to activate modules
via the configure command. With APT, you just have
to install additional packages. They're all named 'php4-*' (or 'php5-*' if
you installed PHP 5 from a third party repository).
Example 4-10. Getting the list of PHP additional packages
As you can see from the last output, there's a lot of PHP modules that
you can install (excluding the php4-cgi, php4-cli or php4-pear special
Look at them closely and choose what you need. If you choose a module and
you do not have the proper libraries, APT will automatically install all
the dependencies for you.
If you choose to add the MySQL, cURL and GD support to PHP the command
will look something like this:
Example 4-11. Install PHP with MySQL, cURL and GD
# apt-get install php4-mysql php4-curl php4-gd
APT will automatically add the appropriate lines to your
different php.ini (/etc/php4/apache/php.ini,
Example 4-12. These lines activate MySQL, cURL and GD into PHP
You'll only have to stop/start Apache as previously to activate the modules.