PHP 5.6.30 Released

The configuration file

The configuration file (php.ini) is read when PHP starts up. For the server module versions of PHP, this happens only once when the web server is started. For the CGI and CLI versions, it happens on every invocation.

php.ini is searched for in these locations (in order):

  • SAPI module specific location (PHPIniDir directive in Apache 2, -c command line option in CGI and CLI, php_ini parameter in NSAPI, PHP_INI_PATH environment variable in THTTPD)
  • The PHPRC environment variable. Before PHP 5.2.0, this was checked after the registry key mentioned below.
  • As of PHP 5.2.0, the location of the php.ini file can be set for different versions of PHP. The following registry keys are examined in order: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\PHP\x.y.z], [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\PHP\x.y] and [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\PHP\x], where x, y and z mean the PHP major, minor and release versions. If there is a value for IniFilePath in any of these keys, the first one found will be used as the location of the php.ini (Windows only).
  • [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\PHP], value of IniFilePath (Windows only).
  • Current working directory (except CLI).
  • The web server's directory (for SAPI modules), or directory of PHP (otherwise in Windows).
  • Windows directory (C:\windows or C:\winnt) (for Windows), or --with-config-file-path compile time option.

If php-SAPI.ini exists (where SAPI is the SAPI in use, so, for example, php-cli.ini or php-apache.ini), it is used instead of php.ini. The SAPI name can be determined with php_sapi_name().


The Apache web server changes the directory to root at startup, causing PHP to attempt to read php.ini from the root filesystem if it exists.

The php.ini directives handled by extensions are documented on the respective pages of the extensions themselves. A list of the core directives is available in the appendix. Not all PHP directives are necessarily documented in this manual: for a complete list of directives available in your PHP version, please read your well commented php.ini file. Alternatively, you may find » the latest php.ini from Git helpful too.

Przykład #1 php.ini example

; any text on a line after an unquoted semicolon (;) is ignored
[php] ; section markers (text within square brackets) are also ignored
; Boolean values can be set to either:
;    true, on, yes
; or false, off, no, none
register_globals = off
track_errors = yes

; you can enclose strings in double-quotes
include_path = ".:/usr/local/lib/php"

; backslashes are treated the same as any other character
include_path = ".;c:\php\lib"

Since PHP 5.1.0, it is possible to refer to existing .ini variables from within .ini files. Example: open_basedir = ${open_basedir} ":/new/dir".

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User Contributed Notes 5 notes

ohcc at 163 dot com
4 months ago
in php.ini you can reference to an existing directive or an environment variable using the syntax ${varname}.

Here are some examples.

sys_temp_dir = "${WINDIR}"

--- ${WINDIR} will be replaced by $_ENV['WINDIR'] at runtime

--- you can set environment variables by Apache and use them in php.ini
--- FcgidInitialEnv AUTHOR "WUXIANCHENG"
--- error_log = "${AUTHOR}.log"

error_log = "${sys_temp_dir}"

--- ${sys_temp_dir} will be replace by the value of sys_temp_dir

Also you can use PHP constants in php.ini, but DONT'T wrap them in ${} or "".

error_log = "/data/"PHP_VERSION"/"

---  it works like this php code:

$error_log =  "/data/" . PHP_VERSION . "/";
david amick
1 month ago
example #2 says "[php] ; section markers (text within square brackets) are also ignored" - yet if you remove these 'section markers' everything breaks, - which means they're *not* ignored.
pajoye at php dot net
2 years ago
Also a nice feature is the ability to use PHP's contants:
For example:
Nacho Esviza - ignacio at esviza dot com
2 years ago
This solution works for me when I needed to force two diferent versions of PHP on a Windows Server 2012 r2 & IIS:

For one application, map *.php extension to a CgiModule adding the "-c" option to the executable path, like this: "C:\php53\php-cgi.exe -c C:\php53\php.ini"

For the other application, map *.php extension to a CgiModule adding the "-c" option to the executable path, like this: "C:\php54\php-cgi.exe -c C:\php54\php.ini"

I think that way is the cleanest, because there is no need to work with PATH variable or Registry or Windows directory.

Note: for some reason, this didn't work on FastCGI module, related to the way that IIS set the executable tab not allowing command line options.
edgardoboj at hotmail dot com
1 year ago
If you have multiple installations of PHP, and "php --ini" keeps loading the same configuration file for every version instead of the configuration file on the installation path, it might be worthy to check the windows registry.

I found a key on "HEKY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTEARE\Wow6432Node\PHP\IniFilePath" that override any installation, which cause "php --ini" to crash stating a version mismatch with the extensions being loaded.

Deleting the key "HEKY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTEARE\Wow6432Node\PHP" solved the problem.

I guess the key was created with a windows installer for IIS on FastCGI, but just guessing.

For the record, some of the errors thrown are:
"The procedure entry point php_sys_stat could not be located in the dynamic link library php5.dll. "
"The procedure entry point php_checkuid could not be located in the dynamic link library php5.dll. "

Hope someone with such a mess will find this useful.
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