Installing PHP (Under Windows) - Page 4
January 3, 2002
The next step is to install PHP. At the time of this writing, PHP
4.x has become well-established as the version of choice;
however, some old servers still use PHP 3.x (usually because
nobody has bothered to update it). I'll cover the installation of
PHP4 here, so be aware that if you're still working with PHP3
there may be some minor differences.
Download PHP for free from
http://www.php.net/ (or one of its mirrors listed at
http://www.php.net/mirrors.php). You'll want the Win32
Binaries package, and be sure to grab the version that
includes both the CGI binary and the server API
versions if you have a choice.
In addition to PHP itself, you will need a Web server such
as Internet Information Services (IIS), Apache, Sambar or
OmniHTTPD. PHP was designed to run as a plug-in for existing Web
server software. To test dynamic Web pages with PHP, you'll need
to equip your own computer with Web server software, so that PHP
has something to plug into. If you have Windows 2000/XP, then
install IIS (if it's not already on your system): open Control
Panel, Add/Remove Programs, Add/Remove Windows
Components, and select IIS from the list of components. If
you're not lucky enough to have IIS at your disposal, you can
instead use a free Web server like Apache. I'll give instructions
for both options in detail.
First, whether you have IIS or not, complete these steps:
Unzip the file you downloaded into a directory of your
choice. I recommend
C:\PHP and will refer to this
directory from here onward, but feel free to choose another
directory if you like.
Find the file called
php4ts.dll in the PHP
folder and copy it to the
System32 subfolder of your
Windows folder (e.g.
Find the file called
php.ini-dist in the PHP
folder and copy it to your Windows folder. Once there, rename it
php.ini file in your favorite text
editor (use WordPad if Notepad doesn't display the file
properly). It's a large file with a lot of confusing options, but
look for a line that begins with
set it so that it points to the
of your PHP folder:
extension_dir = C:\PHP\extensions
A little further down, look for a line that starts with
session.save_path and set it to your Windows
session.save_path = C:\WINDOWS\TEMP
Save the changes you made and close your text editor.
Now, if you have IIS, follow these instructions:
- In the Windows Control Panel, open Administrative
Tools | Internet Information Services.
- In the tree view, expand the entry labeled local
computer, then under Web Sites look for Default Web
Site (unless you have virtual hosts set up, in which case,
choose the site you want to add PHP support to). Right-click on
the Web Site and choose Properties.
- Click the ISAPI Filters tab, and click Add....
In the Filter Name field, type
PHP, and in
the Executable field, browse for the file called
php4isapi.dll in the
sapi subfolder of
your PHP folder (e.g.
- Click the Home Directory tab, and click the
Configuration... button. On the Mappings tab click
Add. Again choose your
php4isapi.dll file as
the executable and type
.php in the extension box
(including the '
.'). Leave everything else unchanged
and click OK. If you want your Web server to treat other
file extensions as PHP files (
.phtml are common choices),
repeat this step for each extension. Click OK to close the
Application Configuration window.
- Click OK to close the Web Site Properties
window. Close the Internet Information Services window.
- Again, in the Control Panel under Administrative
Tools, open Services. Look for the World Wide Web
Publishing service near the bottom of the list. Right-click
on it and choose Restart to restart IIS with the new
configuration options. Close the Services window.
- You're done! PHP is installed!
If you don't have IIS, you'll first need to install some
other Web server. For our purposes I'll assume you have
downloaded and installed Apache server from
however, PHP can also be installed on Sambar Server (
http://www.omnicron.ab.ca/httpd/), and others.
Once you've downloaded and installed Apache according to the
instructions included with it, open
http://localhost/ in your Web browser, to make sure
it works properly. If you don't see a Web page explaining that
Apache was successfully installed, then either you haven't run
Apache yet, or your installation is faulty. Check the
documentation and make sure Apache is running properly before you
If you've made sure Apache is up and running, you can add PHP
On your Start Menu, choose Programs, Apache
httpd Server, Configure Apache Server, Edit
Configuration. This will open the
file in NotePad.
All of the options in this long and intimidating
configuration file should have been set up correctly by the
Apache install program. All you need to do is add the following
three lines to the very bottom of the file:
LoadModule php4_module c:/php/sapi/php4apache.dll
AddType application/x-httpd-php .php .php3 .phtml
AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps
Be sure the
LoadModule line points to the
php4apache.dll file on your system, and note the use
of slashes instead of backslashes.
Save your changes and close Notepad.
Restart Apache by choosing Programs, Apache httpd
Server, Control Apache Server, Restart on the
Start menu. If all is well, Apache will start up again
You're done! PHP is installed!
With MySQL and PHP installed, you're ready to proceed to the
"Post-Installation Setup Tasks" section below.