Installing Lighttpd With PHP5 And MySQL Support On CentOS

Lighttpd is a secure, fast, standards-compliant web server designed for speed-critical environments. This tutorial shows how you can install Lighttpd on a CentOS 5.0 server with PHP5 support (through FastCGI) and MySQL support.
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 5.0

First we install MySQL 5.0 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

Create a password for the MySQL user root (replace yourrootsqlpassword with the password you want to use):

mysqladmin -u root password yourrootsqlpassword

Then check with

netstat -tap | grep mysql

on which addresses MySQL is listening. If the output looks like this:

tcp 0 0 localhost.localdo:mysql *:* LISTEN 2713/mysqld

which means MySQL is listening on localhost.localdomain only, then you’re safe with the password you set before. But if the output looks like this:

tcp 0 0 *:mysql *:* LISTEN 2713/mysqld

you should set a MySQL password for your hostname, too, because otherwise anybody can access your database and modify data:

mysqladmin -h -u root password yourrootsqlpassword

3 Installing Lighttpd

Lighttpd is not available from the official CentOS 5.0 repositories, but from the RPMforge repositories (see for instructions). We install the RPMforge package for RHEL 5 which works for CentOS 5.0 as well:

rpm -Uhv

Afterwards, we can install Lighttpd like this:

yum install lighttpd

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

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

Now direct your browser to, and you should see the Lighttpd placeholder page:

Lighttpd’s default document root is /srv/www/lighttpd on CentOS 5.0, and the configuration file is /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf.

4 Installing PHP5

We can make PHP5 work in Lighttpd through FastCGI. Therefore we install the packages lighttpd-fastcgi and php-cli:

yum install lighttpd-fastcgi php-cli

5 Configuring Lighttpd And PHP5

To enable PHP5 in Lighttpd, we must modify two files, /etc/php.ini and /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf. First we 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
Then we open /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf and uncomment “mod_fastcgi”, in the server.modules stanza:

vi /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
server.modules = (
# “mod_rewrite”,
# “mod_redirect”,
# “mod_alias”,
# “mod_cml”,
# “mod_trigger_b4_dl”,
# “mod_auth”,
# “mod_status”,
# “mod_setenv”,
# “mod_proxy”,
# “mod_simple_vhost”,
# “mod_evhost”,
# “mod_userdir”,
# “mod_cgi”,
# “mod_compress”,
# “mod_ssi”,
# “mod_usertrack”,
# “mod_expire”,
# “mod_secdownload”,
# “mod_rrdtool”,
“mod_accesslog” )
and then , further down the file, there’s a fastcgi.server stanza which we uncomment as well – make sure you use /usr/bin/php-cgi instead of /usr/local/bin/php in the “bin-path” line::
#### fastcgi module
## read fastcgi.txt for more info
fastcgi.server = ( “.php” =>
( “localhost” =>
“socket” => “/tmp/php-fastcgi.socket”,
“bin-path” => “/usr/bin/php-cgi”
Then we restart Lighttpd:

/etc/init.d/lighttpd restart
6 Testing PHP5 / Getting Details About Your PHP5 Installation

The document root of the default web site is /srv/www/lighttpd. We will now create a small PHP file (info.php) in that directory and call it in a browser. The file will display lots of useful details about our PHP installation, such as the installed PHP version.

vi /srv/www/lighttpd/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. MySQL is not listed there which means we don’t have MySQL support in PHP5 yet.
7 Getting MySQL Support In PHP5

To get MySQL support in PHP, we can install the php-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:
yum search php

Pick the ones you need and install them like this:

yum install php-mysql php-gd php-imap php-ldap php-odbc php-pear php-xml php-xmlrpc

Now restart Lighttpd:

/etc/init.d/lighttpd 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.


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