Installing PHP 5.3 on CentOS 5.3

30 November -0001

CentOS is a wonderful, stable, enterprise Linux distribution. Because it follows an enterprise model, however, the latest and greatest packages are often not available for installation from RPM repositories. In order to deploy binaries such as the new PHP 5.3 you'll need to compile them from source. Luckily this isn't terribly hard, but it does take some trial and error. I've tried to enumerate the process on a CentOS 5.3 host to take some of the pain out of it.

Firstly, you'll need to download the php-5.3 source from

Next make sure the following dependencies are installed. You can use 'yum install [package]' in order to install these:


Once the dependencies are installed unzip the php source with bzip2 using:

bzip2 -d php-5.3.0.tar.bz2

Next untar the files using:

tar -xvf php-5.3.0.tar

Finally change into the php-5.3 directory with:

cd php-5.3.0

Now you have to configure the installation. You may need to customize some of the settings below, but the PHP build is pretty helpful about telling you what might have gone wrong. Use the following:

./configure --with-apxs2=/usr/sbin/apxs --with-mysqli=/usr/bin/mysql_config --with-gd --with-jpeg-dir=/usr/local --with-png-dir=/usr/lib --with-zlib --with-freetype-dir=/usr --enable-gd-native=ttf --with-ttf --with-curl --with-aspell --enable-mbstring --with-mcrypt=/usr/local --with-mhash=/usr/local --with-libxml-dir=/usr --enable-soap --enable-zip --with-imap --with-kerberos --with-imap-ssl

Finally you need to make the installation using:

make install
Once PHP is built you have to create the PHP configuration file and adjust the Apache configuration files. First copy the sample php.ini configuration file using:

cp php.ini-production /usr/local/lib/php.ini

You'll probably want to link this file to its default location so you don't lose it:

ln -s /usr/local/lib/php.ini /etc/php.ini

Next, edit the httpd.conf file to include 'index.php' as one of the default indexes using:

vi /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

And alter the line:

DirectoryIndex index.php index.html index.html.var

And make sure the following appears (you may need to add the second line):

LoadModule php5_module        /usr/lib/httpd/modules/
AddType application/x-httpd-php .php

Now that everything is configured you should be able to restart Apache using:

/etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd restart

Once this is done edit a page called phpinfo.php in the web root using:

vi /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

And include the following lines:

<?php echo phpinfo();?>

Now browse to the URL of the server to check the PHP configuration (for example http://localhost/phpinfo.php).