Enable custom PHP in cPanel server with PHP CGI (Common Gateway Interface) handler

Here I’m explaining how we can enable custom php.ini file for individual accounts in a cPanel based server. First of all, we need to know the current working PHP handler in the server. Please use the following command to know the current working handler in your server via command-line:

# /usr/local/cpanel/bin/rebuild_phpconf --current

For more details please refer to the following URLs:

Checking PHP handler – commandline
Checking PHP handler – WHM

Using any of the above mentioned methods you can confirm the PHP handler in your server. Now you can follow the steps mentioned below to know how to set up custom php.ini file in a server with PHP CGI handler.

1. Enter into the cgi-bin folder of the account for which you need to enable custom php.ini

# cd /home/user/public_html/cgi-bin

2. Copy the default php.ini file from the server to this location.

# cp /usr/local/lib/php.ini /home/user/public_html/cgi-bin/

To make sure the custom php works without any problem you can change any PHP variable from the default to value to any custom value. Here I’m changing the value of memory_limit.

# memory_limit = 64M

3. Create php.cgi file to load custom php.ini

# root@server [~]# vi /home/user/public_html/cgi-bin/php.cgi

Now paste the following code into this file:

/usr/local/cpanel/cgi-sys/php5 -c /home/user/public_html/cgi-bin/

Now the php.cgi file should look like as follows:

# root@server [/home/user/public_html/cgi-bin]# cat php.cgi
/usr/local/cpanel/cgi-sys/php5 -c /home/user/public_html/cgi-bin/

4. Now make the file executable.

# chmod +x /home/user/public_html/cgi-bin/php.cgi

5. Correct the ownership of the files to the user

# chown -R user:user /home/user/public_html/cgi-bin/

6. Edit .htaccess to point to this php.cgi wrapper. Put the following code into your .htaccess file in the public_html folder of the account.

# Action application/x-httpd-php5 /cgi-bin/php.cgi

Now your .htaccess file will look like as follows:

# root@server [/home/user/public_html]# cat .htaccess 
Action application/x-httpd-php5 /cgi-bin/php.cgi

Now you can check whether the custom php.ini file is working using a test php info page:

# root@server [/home/user/public_html]# vi phpinfo.php

Put the following code in it:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

7. Correct the ownership of the file to the user:

# root@server [/home/user/public_html]# chown user. phpinfo.php

Now you can test the phpinfo file by browsing it as domain.com/phpinfo.php. Now check the “Loaded configuration file” in the phpinfo page. It should be like “/home/user/public_html/cgi-bin/php.ini”.

Screenshot from 2015-06-14 12_39_22

That’s it!!!

Also read

1, Introduction to CageFS and PHP Selector
2, change PHP handler from SuPHP to FastCGI
3, How to disable phpinfo(); in a shared environment/hosting?

Heba Habeeb

Working as a Linux Server Admin, Infopark, Cochin, Kerala.

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