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CGI and command line setups

By default, PHP is built as both a CLI and CGI program, which can be used for CGI processing. If you are running a web server that PHP has module support for, you should generally go for that solution for performance reasons. However, the CGI version enables users to run different PHP-enabled pages under different user-ids.


Używając instalacji CGI, serwer jest podatny na wiele potencjalnych ataków. Sposoby obrony przed nimi zostały opisane w rozdziale o bezpieczeństwie instalacji CGI.


If you have built PHP as a CGI program, you may test your build by typing make test. It is always a good idea to test your build. This way you may catch a problem with PHP on your platform early instead of having to struggle with it later.

Using Variables

Some server supplied environment variables are not defined in the current » CGI/1.1 specification. Only the following variables are defined there: AUTH_TYPE, CONTENT_LENGTH, CONTENT_TYPE, GATEWAY_INTERFACE, PATH_INFO, PATH_TRANSLATED, QUERY_STRING, REMOTE_ADDR, REMOTE_HOST, REMOTE_IDENT, REMOTE_USER, REQUEST_METHOD, SCRIPT_NAME, SERVER_NAME, SERVER_PORT, SERVER_PROTOCOL, and SERVER_SOFTWARE. Everything else should be treated as 'vendor extensions'.

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User Contributed Notes 6 notes

phil at philkern dot de
14 years ago
Thanks nordkyn, this one was very helpful.
Please note that the kernel has to be compiled with misc binary support, which is activated on most distributions like Debian.
You would have to please these two lines in a script to run it after every reboot, on debian I propose /etc/init.d/
You could place this lines at the end but before : exit 0
# Install PHP as binary handler

mount -t binfmt_misc none /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc
echo ":PHP:E::php::/usr/bin/php4:" > /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc/register
And please remember that the package management would override the file on the next distribution upgrade :)
info at ch2o dot info
11 years ago
additionnal information to fastcgi...

the compilation of fastcgi library is not nessesary, php include a modified version of this library,
and fastcgi module have this own implementation of the protocole fastcgi...

on the first server (where apache are!) the uid and gid of apache instance of the fastcgi module
must be the same on the php file to execute...
without that they dont work...
the module refuse to send the request to the fastcgi php server...
info at ch2o dot info
11 years ago
for using fastcgi external server in place of cgi or mod php with php:

to compile fastcgi librairie:

  tar xzvf fcgi-2.4.0.tar.gz
  cd fcgi-2.4.0
  gmake install

to compile the fastcgi apache module:

  tar xvzf mod_fastcgi-2.4.2.tar.gz
  cd mod_fastcgi-2.4.2
  path/to/apache/bin/apxs -i -A -n fastcgi -o -c *.c

after you must modify the http.conf to add that:

  # load fcgi module
  LoadModule fastcgi_module      modules/

  # authorization to execute fcgi  on tree "/fcgi-bin/"
  <Location /fcgi-bin/>
      Options ExecCGI
      SetHandler fastcgi-script

  # define fastcgi external serveur for virtual path "/fcgi-bin/phpfcgi" to execute on targetmachinehost with targetport
  FastCgiExternalServer /fcgi-bin/phpfcgi -host targetmachinehostname:targetport

  # mime type definietion for some extention
  AddType application/x-httpd-fastphp .php .cphp .php4

  #define apache cgi regirection with the virtual action script /fcgi-bin/phpfcgi associated with the defined mime type.
  Action application/x-httpd-fastphp /fcgi-bin/phpfcgi

start apache.

compile php with --enable-cgi  and --enable-fastcgi=/to/lib/fastcgi

start on target machine php with "php -b ip:port" for ear request from mod_fastcgi.

some aditional thing are in sapi/cgi/README.FastCGI of php src tree.

the document root of the apache machine must be synchronous with the php target machine... with the same tree...

and with that solution you can mixe php5 and php4 with different extention of apache directory limitation to one or another version...

with performance like mod_php!
cv at corbach dot de
15 years ago
Up to and including 4.1.1 you have to set doc_root to an non empty value if you configure PHP for CGI usage with --enable-discard-path.
gordon_e_rouse at yahoo dot com dot au
8 years ago
Have noticed on debian now, and may be true of other builds, that if you are using php as a command line language, you don't need the -q ie: #!/usr/bin/php -q anymore.

What really took me ages to work out was how to the use php in cgi mode (ie in a cgi-bin directory) as it doesn't send http headers by default. It also fails to populate $_GET and $_POST arrays.

Turns out debian php build comes with /usr/bin/php-cgi

Use this in your shebang if running CGI scripts!



I understand now - but had to figure this out myself!

Keywords I tried to solve this problem with were:

PHP, CGI, no $_GET array, Premature end of script headers, No http Headers, debian

Hopefully this post might save someone many hours of frustration, if they are googling the above words!
kptrs at yahoo dot com
12 years ago
Dug out from the discussion at the site below is a good tip: if you are working with an existing PHP installation which did not build either the commandline or CGI servers, you can use the lynx non-graphical web browser to get the web server to execute php scripts from the command line (or cron jobs, etc):

lynx -dump http://whatever

>If you wish to use PHP as a scripting language, a good article to read is >

>note that the article is aimed at *nix not win32, but most of it still applies
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