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Installing Nginx With PHP5 (And PHP-FPM) And MySQL Support On Ubuntu 11.04

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 an Ubuntu 11.04 server with PHP5 support (through PHP-FPM) 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.

I’m running all the steps in this tutorial with root privileges, so make sure you’re logged in as root:

sudo su


2 Installing MySQL 5.0

In order to install MySQL, we run

apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client

You will be asked to provide a password for the MySQL root user – this password is valid for the user root@localhost as well as, so we don’t have to specify a MySQL root password manually later on:

New password for the MySQL “root” user: <– yourrootsqlpassword
Repeat password for the MySQL “root” user: <– yourrootsqlpassword


3 Installing Nginx

Nginx is available as a package for Ubuntu 11.04 which we can install as follows:

apt-get install nginx

Start nginx afterwards:

/etc/init.d/nginx start

Type in your web server’s IP address or hostname into a browser (e.g., and you should see the following page:


The default nginx document root on Ubuntu 11.04 is /usr/share/nginx/www.


4 Installing PHP5

We can make PHP5 work in nginx through PHP-FPM (PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager) is an alternative PHP FastCGI implementation with some additional features useful for sites of any size, especially busier sites) which we install as follows:

apt-get install php5-fpm

PHP-FPM is a daemon process (with the init script /etc/init.d/php5-fpm) that runs a FastCGI server on port 9000.


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) 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. The default vhost is defined in the file /etc/nginx/sites-available/default – let’s modify it as follows:

vi /etc/nginx/sites-available/default

server {
        listen   80; ## listen for ipv4; this line is default and implied
        listen   [::]:80 default ipv6only=on; ## listen for ipv6
        root /usr/share/nginx/www;
        index index.php index.html index.htm;
        # Make site accessible from http://localhost/
        server_name _;
        location / {
                # First attempt to serve request as file, then
                # as directory, then fall back to index.html
                try_files $uri $uri/ /index.html;
        location /doc {
                root /usr/share;
                autoindex on;
                deny all;
        location /images {
                root /usr/share;
                autoindex off;
        #error_page 404 /404.html;
        # redirect server error pages to the static page /50x.html
        error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;
        location = /50x.html {
                root /usr/share/nginx/www;
        # proxy the PHP scripts to Apache listening on
        #location ~ \.php$ {
        #       proxy_pass;
        # pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server listening on
        location ~ \.php$ {
                try_files $uri =404;
                fastcgi_index index.php;
                include fastcgi_params;
        # deny access to .htaccess files, if Apache's document root
        # concurs with nginx's one
        location ~ /\.ht {
                deny all;

Uncomment both listen lines to make nginx listen on port 80 IPv4 and IPv6.

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

I’ve added index.php to the index line. root /usr/share/nginx/www; means that the document root is the directory /usr/share/nginx/www.

The important part for PHP is the location ~ \.php$ {} stanza. Uncomment it to enable it.

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/www:

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


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


As you see, PHP5 is working, and it’s working through FPM/FastCGI, as shown in the Server API line. If you scroll further down, you will see all modules that are already enabled in PHP5. MySQL is not listed there which means we don’t have MySQL support in PHP5 yet.


6 Getting MySQL Support In PHP5

To get MySQL support in PHP, we can install the php5-mysql package. It’s a good idea to install some other PHP5 modules as well as you might need them for your applications. You can search for available PHP5 modules like this:

apt-cache search php5

Pick the ones you need and install them like this:

apt-get install php5-mysql php5-curl php5-gd php5-idn php-pear php5-imagick php5-imap php5-mcrypt php5-memcache php5-ming php5-ps php5-pspell php5-recode php5-snmp php5-sqlite php5-tidy php5-xmlrpc php5-xsl

Now restart PHP-FPM:

/etc/init.d/php5-fpm restart

Now reload in your browser and scroll down to the modules section again. You should now find lots of new modules there, including the MySQL module:


  • nginx:
  • nginx Wiki:
  • PHP:
  • PHP-FPM:
  • MySQL:
  • Ubuntu: