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Installing Nginx With PHP5 And MySQL Support On CentOS 5.6

Nginx (pronounced “engine x”) is a free, open-source, high-performance HTTP server. Nginx is known for its stability, rich feature set, simple configuration, and low resource consumption. This tutorial shows how you can install Nginx on a CentOS 5.6 server with PHP5 support (through FastCGI) and MySQL support.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname with the IP address These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.


2 Installing MySQL 5

First we install MySQL 5 like this:

yum install mysql mysql-server

Then we create the system startup links for MySQL (so that MySQL starts automatically whenever the system boots) and start the MySQL server:

chkconfig –levels 235 mysqld on
/etc/init.d/mysqld start

Now check that networking is enabled. Run

netstat -tap | grep mysql

It should show something like this:

[root@server1 ~]# netstat -tap | grep mysql
tcp        0      0 *:mysql                     *:*                         LISTEN      2479/mysqld
[root@server1 ~]#

If it does not, edit /etc/my.cnf and comment out the option skip-networking:

vi /etc/my.cnf


and restart your MySQL server:

/etc/init.d/mysqld restart



to set a password for the user root (otherwise anybody can access your MySQL database!):

[root@server1 ~]# mysql_secure_installation


In order to log into MySQL to secure it, we’ll need the current
password for the root user.  If you’ve just installed MySQL, and
you haven’t set the root password yet, the password will be blank,
so you should just press enter here.

Enter current password for root (enter for none): <– ENTER
OK, successfully used password, moving on…

Setting the root password ensures that nobody can log into the MySQL
root user without the proper authorisation.

Set root password? [Y/n] <– ENTER
New password: <– yourrootsqlpassword
Re-enter new password: <– yourrootsqlpassword
Password updated successfully!
Reloading privilege tables..
… Success!

By default, a MySQL installation has an anonymous user, allowing anyone
to log into MySQL without having to have a user account created for
them.  This is intended only for testing, and to make the installation
go a bit smoother.  You should remove them before moving into a
production environment.

Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] <– ENTER
 … Success!

Normally, root should only be allowed to connect from ‘localhost’.  This
ensures that someone cannot guess at the root password from the network.

Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] <– ENTER
 … Success!

By default, MySQL comes with a database named ‘test’ that anyone can
access.  This is also intended only for testing, and should be removed
before moving into a production environment.

Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] <– ENTER
 – Dropping test database…
… Success!
– Removing privileges on test database…
… Success!

Reloading the privilege tables will ensure that all changes made so far
will take effect immediately.

Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] <– ENTER
 … Success!

Cleaning up…

All done!  If you’ve completed all of the above steps, your MySQL
installation should now be secure.

Thanks for using MySQL!

[root@server1 ~]#

3 Installing Nginx

Nginx is not available in the official CentOS repositories, but there’s a package for CentOS 5.x in the testing repository. We enable the repository as follows:

cd /etc/yum.repos.d/

Next we open /etc/yum.repos.d/kbsingh-CentOS-Extras.repo …

vi /etc/yum.repos.d/kbsingh-CentOS-Extras.repo

… and set gpgcheck to 0 and enabled to 1 in the [kbs-CentOS-Testing] section:

# pkgs in the -Testing repo are not gpg signed
name=CentOS.Karan.Org-EL$releasever - Testing

Afterwards we can install nginx as follows:

yum install nginx

Then we create the system startup links for nginx and start it:

chkconfig –levels 235 nginx on
/etc/init.d/nginx start

Type in your web server’s IP address or hostname into a browser (e.g., and you should see a blank page (it is blank because /usr/share/nginx/html/index.html is empty; nevertheless nginx is working because otherwise it would not have delivered this blank page):


4 Installing PHP5

We can make PHP5 work in nginx through FastCGI. There’s no standalone FastCGI daemon package for CentOS, therefore we use the FastCGI package of lighttpd (lighttpd-fastcgi) and install it together with php-cli and some PHP5 modules like php-mysql which you need if you want to use MySQL from your PHP scripts:

yum install lighttpd-fastcgi php-cli php-mysql php-gd php-imap php-ldap php-odbc php-pear php-xml php-xmlrpc php-mbstring php-mcrypt php-mssql php-snmp php-soap php-tidy

Then open /etc/php.ini and add the line cgi.fix_pathinfo = 1 right at the end of the file:

vi /etc/php.ini

cgi.fix_pathinfo = 1

The lighttpd-fastcgi package comes with the executable /usr/bin/spawn-fcgi which we can use to start FastCGI processes. Take a look at

spawn-fcgi –help

to learn more about it.

To start a PHP FastCGI daemon listening on port 9000 on localhost and running as the user and group nginx, we run the following command:

/usr/bin/spawn-fcgi -a -p 9000 -u nginx -g nginx -f /usr/bin/php-cgi -P /var/run/

Of course, you don’t want to type in that command manually whenever you boot the system, so to have the system execute the command automatically at boot time, open /etc/rc.local

vi /etc/rc.local

… and add the command at the end of the file:

/usr/bin/spawn-fcgi -a -p 9000 -u nginx -g nginx -f /usr/bin/php-cgi -P /var/run/


5 Configuring nginx

The nginx configuration is in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf which we open now:

vi /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

The configuration is easy to understand (you can learn more about it here: and here:

First (this is optional) you can increase the number of worker processes and set the keepalive_timeout to a reasonable value:

worker_processes  5;
    keepalive_timeout  2;

The virtual hosts are defined in server {} containers. Let’s modify the default vhost as follows:

    server {
        listen       80;
        server_name  _;
        #charset koi8-r;
        #access_log  logs/host.access.log  main;
        location / {
            root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
            index  index.php index.html index.htm;
        error_page  404              /404.html;
        location = /404.html {
            root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
        # redirect server error pages to the static page /50x.html
        error_page   500 502 503 504  /50x.html;
        location = /50x.html {
            root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
        # proxy the PHP scripts to Apache listening on
        #location ~ \.php$ {
        #    proxy_pass;
        # pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server listening on
        location ~ \.php$ {
            root           /usr/share/nginx/html;
            fastcgi_index  index.php;
            fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  /usr/share/nginx/html$fastcgi_script_name;
            include        fastcgi_params;
        # deny access to .htaccess files, if Apache's document root
        # concurs with nginx's one
        location ~ /\.ht {
            deny  all;

server_name _; makes this a default catchall vhost (of course, you can as well specify a hostname here like

In the location / part, I’ve added index.php to the index line. root /usr/share/nginx/html; means that the document root is the directory /usr/share/nginx/html.

The important part for PHP is the location ~ \.php$ {} stanza. Uncomment it to enable it. Change the root line to the web site’s dosument root (e.g. root /usr/share/nginx/html;). Please make sure that you change the fastcgi_param line to fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /usr/share/nginx/html$fastcgi_script_name; because otherwise the PHP interpreter won’t find the PHP script that you call in your browser.

Now save the file and restart nginx:

/etc/init.d/nginx restart

Now create the following PHP file in the document root /usr/share/nginx/html

vi /usr/share/nginx/html/info.php


Now we call that file in a browser (e.g.


As you see, PHP5 is working, and it’s working through FastCGI, as shown in the Server API line. If you scroll further down, you will see all modules that are already enabled in PHP5, including the MySQL module:


  • nginx:
  • nginx Wiki:
  • PHP:
  • MySQL:
  • CentOS: