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Posted Jan 3, 2002

Installing PHP (Under Windows) - Page 4

By Kevin Yank

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. C:\Windows\System32).

  • Find the file called php.ini-dist in the PHP folder and copy it to your Windows folder. Once there, rename it to php.ini.

  • Open the 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 extension_dir and set it so that it points to the extensions subfolder 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 TEMP folder:

    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. C:\PHP\sapi\php4isapi.dll). Click OK.
  • 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 (.php3, .php4, and .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 http://httpd.apache.org/; however, PHP can also be installed on Sambar Server ( http://www.sambar.com/), OmniHTTPD ( 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 install PHP.

If you've made sure Apache is up and running, you can add PHP support:

  • On your Start Menu, choose Programs, Apache httpd Server, Configure Apache Server, Edit Configuration. This will open the httpd.conf 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 without complaint.

  • You're done! PHP is installed!

With MySQL and PHP installed, you're ready to proceed to the "Post-Installation Setup Tasks" section below.

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